Josh Homme has spent most of his life in front of a microphone and has evolved into the archetypal modern rock ‘n’ roll frontman. He’s a slick, sophisticated singer who can be as smooth as anybody in Hollywood, but he’s also not afraid to get down and dirty with the best of them.
Homme started his career when he was just 14 and formed Kyuss in 1987, but they went somewhere unlike most teenage bands. The group enjoyed moderate success, but most importantly, Homme’s first induction into the debauched world of rock provided him with the perfect platform to grit his teeth.
His debut outfit was a doom metal group who enjoyed relative success during their short time together, with Kyuss even opening for Metallica on tour in 1993. They then penned a major label deal with Elektra Records a year later in 1994 but would call it a day the following year.
In 1996, he formed Queens Of The Stone Age and has remained the only consistent member of the band over the last twenty-five years. Over seven studio albums, Homme has moulded QOTSA in his vision, and the band offered him the perfect vehicle for his talent.
While QOTSA are undeniably one of the world’s premier rock institutions, Homme’s talent has been extended outside of those four walls. He’s always had an eye glaring at different side-projects throughout his career, whether this is working with his heroes like Iggy Pop or John Paul Jones, recording with Eagles Of Death Metal or producing for Arctic Monkeys and Royal Blood. Homme is one of the busiest men in music, and we are celebrating his ten finest moments below.
Josh Homme 10 Best Songs
10. Kyuss – ‘Demon Cleaner’
Although Kyuss never became a mainstream sensation in the same way that Queens of The Stone Age have managed, their sound still holds up after all these years, and it’s clear that Homme was a magnetic talent from the beginning. Throughout his time in the band, they released four records with their sophomore effort, Welcome to Sky Valley being their stand-out moment in the sun.
While Kyuss occasionally missed the mark, ‘Demon Cleaner’ is one where they hit the bullseye. The brand of stoner metal that Kyuss cooked up still sounds unique to this day, and they manage to capture the joy of experimenting admirably.
9. Queens of the Stone Age – ‘The Way You Used To Do’
It arrived as somewhat of a surprise in 2017 when Homme revealed he had recruited Mark Ronson to produce Queens of the Stone Age’s latest album, Villains.
The record saw QOTSA adopt a funkier persona than we’ve seen from them ever before and let Ronson orchestrate a whole new side to the band. Their newfound swagger is evident on lead single, ‘The Way You Used To Do’, which Homme described as “old school jazz meets ZZ top thing to that song. You can dance to all of it. The words came quickly, and it was sort of like, yeah, bad stuff happens but none of that shit matters now. In this moment, screw all that and screw me on top of that.”
8. Eagles of Death Metal – ‘Complexity’
Eagles of Death Metal has been a part of Josh Homme’s life since 1998. The project has allowed him to have more fun, for the most part, than with Queens of The Stone Age, and ‘Complexity’ is the most thrilling that he has conjured up alongside Jesse Hughes.
The track featured on their 2015 record, Zipper Down, is a perfect entry point into the compelling world Eagles of Death Metal has created. EODM have only made four studio albums over 1998, and the sporadic nature of the group makes the outfit a holiday home that Homme always finds himself retreating to every few years.
7. Queens of the Stone Age – ‘I Sat By The Ocean’
QOTSA’s sixth studio album, 2013’s …Like Clockwork, was a resounding success that landed them with their first Billboard-topping record, along with three Grammy nominations.
More importantly than awards and accolades, …Like Clockwork is an album that’s all killer with no filler that took Queens of the Stone Age on to that next step as certified festival headliners across the globe. ‘I Sat By The Ocean’ instantly transports you to a dive bar in Los Angeles and oozes cool.
6. Them Crooked Vultures – ‘New Fang’
As supergroups go, you don’t get much better than Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and John Paul Jones. Their 2009 eponymous album was a fun-filled passion project that provided both Grohl and Homme with the perfect escape away from the pressures of being in one of the world’s biggest bands, allowing them to fall in love with music on a visceral level once more.
In an interview with The Guardian in August 2019, Grohl stated: “It’s still hard to accept that I got to play in a band with [John Paul Jones]. Technically we’re still a band. We practice once every decade, and we’re coming up on another decade aren’t we? I don’t have any official news, but there’s always something cooking.”
5. Iggy Pop – ‘Gardenia’
Getting the chance to work with Iggy Pop on his 2016 album, Post Pop Depression, was a dream come true for Homme. Iggy has always had a canny ability to pick out the right artists to work with at the crucial time in his life. Most famously using this skill with David Bowie during the ‘Berlin period’ and, with Homme, his collaborative attempt effort created one of his finest albums to date.
He and Homme had sparked the idea of a possible collaboration after exchanging lyrical ideas. With the vital introduction of Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders, the album was solid gold, with ‘Gardenia’ offering its most sparkling moment.
4. Queens of the Stone Age – ‘Go With The Flow’
It took until Queens of the Stone Age’s third album, Songs For The Deaf, for the group to break away from the shadows of their desert rock sound and install themselves in the mainstream. ‘Go With The Flow’ is the second single from the record and provides a snapshot into the dark, hedonistic universe of Queens of The Stone Age.
Even though making the record was a messy time for the group, it all worked out to create an utter masterpiece, and you’ll remain hard-pressed to find someone who disagrees with it being QOTSA’s finest record.
3. Queens of the Stone Age – ‘Smooth Sailing’
‘Smooth Sailing’ is a far cry from the stoner rock that Homme crafted at the start of his career. It is a debauched dosage of luxurious rock ‘n’ roll that sounds more lavish and opulent than anything else the rocker has ever released.
Although the track sounds meticulously crafted, Homme later revealed to The Quietus that this was an “early demo that looked so promising but just never came together until the very end.” The frontman added that the struggle of getting it right made the band fed up with constantly saying, “aah, this is a bummer,” with the track eventually being the catalyst for the rest of …Like Clockwork.
2. Queens of the Stone Age – ‘Make It Wit Chu’
‘Make It Wit Chu’ is the most upbeat and blissful number on this list. The track is from the most bluesy era of Queens of The Stone Age and featured on their 2007 record, Era Vulgaris.
The track was originally part of Homme’s Desert Sessions series, but he couldn’t resist not including a song as palatial as ‘Make It Wit Chu’ on a QOTSA record. PJ Harvey even provides backing vocals on the track to add an extra pinch of star quality to the number.
Homme would go on to describe it as “one of the best songs about fucking”, and it’s hard to disagree.
1. Queens of the Stone Age – ‘No One Knows’
There was only ever going to be one track inhabiting the top spot in this list, and that’s ‘No One Knows’. The effort is one of the most delicious rock singles of the 21st Century and will no doubt still be getting played on full blast for eternity.
Homme recruited his old buddy Dave Grohl to play the drums on Songs For The Deaf. His addition got a deserved number of eyes and ears on lead single, ‘No One Knows’, which became a staple on music channels on televisions for what felt like years.
Despite the millions of times we’ve all heard the track, it still doesn’t get tiresome, and there is always something riveting to be found in every listen.