“There are definitely some aces in some sleeves”

“There are definitely some aces in some sleeves”

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Queens Of The Stone Age have spoken to NME at the 2024 edition of Download Festival, and opened up about what the future of the band looks like, as well as the response to their latest album, ‘In Times New Roman..’.

Guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen and drummer Jon Theodore caught up with us backstage at this year’s instalment of the Donington Park festival, shortly before they took to the Apex stage as Friday’s headliners (June 14).

It comes following frontman Josh Homme telling NME about the set at the end of 2023, and hinting that while they still planned to “to give it [their] all”, they didn’t see “any reason to trip out” over the set. Now, chatting with us backstage, Van Leeuwen and Theodore opened up about what it’s been like to tour in support of their latest LP, and shared their love for Royal Blood, who they hit the road with earlier this year.

They also told us about the upcoming reissue of their 1998 self-titled album, and what it was like to take part in the project, despite neither of them being part of the line-up when it was first released. Read the full interview below.

NME: Queens Of The Stone Age, welcome to Download. How are you finding it? 

Troy Van Leeuwen: “It’s wonderful to be here. I’m loving the weather.”

Jon Theodore: “It’s a classic British summer day!”

This far down the line, do you still get nervous when it comes to a show like this?

JT:  “A lady never tells. But we are super excited. We get super fired up. It’s a legendary spot and we’re standing on the shoulders of giants here, so it’s impossible to come here and not feel something. I would say for the most part it’s just excitement though.”

T.V.L: “I call it butterflies because it sounds nicer, a bit more poetic.”

Troy Van Leeuwen of Queens of the Stone Age performs live
Troy Van Leeuwen of Queens of the Stone Age performs live. CREDIT: Mairo Cinquetti/NurPhoto via Getty Images

How have you found the response to ‘In Times New Roman…’?

T.V.L: “We’ve been touring for about a year now on this new record, I can’t believe it came out almost a year ago. The response has been pretty positive, I think they like us… I’m making guesses, but it feels good. That’s all that matters.”

J.T: “I think it’s going pretty great. People seem genuinely enthusiastic and they keep showing up and they stay. And they’re getting excited when we play new songs. It’s feeling pretty good.”

The band are about to re-release their 1998 debut album. Were you both familiar with the album before you joined the line-up?

T.V.L: “We love that record. I think we all listened to it before we were in the band, but we’ve been playing a couple of those songs along the way so it does bring back memories.”

J: “It’s good to refresh them and make them current again. We do try to play to play them all the time and for most people it was their first look at the band. So it always goes over well when we play the songs.”

With something like a reissue, do you get involved despite not being on the original recording?

T.V.L: “I think there’s a balance between how the record sounds and the simplicity of it. But there are moments where we get to go out of the lines a little bit and express ourselves. It’s a little balancing act.”

J.T: “We definitely try to honour the past as well as we possibly can. We try to recreate that time and place and feel and sound. But that being said there are times where we collectively veer off. But I think individually we all try to acknowledge that essential push needed.”

Jon Theodore of Queens Of The Stone Age performs on stage
Jon Theodore of Queens Of The Stone Age performs on stage. CREDIT: Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns/Getty Images

What was it like touring with Royal Blood earlier this year?

T.V.L: “Well they’re like our brothers. We’ve toured quite a bit together and we actually have a lot of fun together. We actually say ‘We should just tour forever together’. Maybe at some point we can then all be on stage at the same time and have a rock fight for sure.”

J.T: “We love those guys. We’re real kindred spirits. They’re fun to watch and even more fun to hang with. I think the thing with those guys is that, even though we’re from completely different parts of the world and we play in different bands, there is a commonality between us that makes it feel very familiar. So in a way, it does feel like home all the time. No matter where we are, when those guys are around it feels like the old days.”

If you could pick a dream festival line-up, who would be there?

T.V.L: “I’d take David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, T-Rex, Black Flag and the first version of The Pretenders.”

J.T: “Jimi Hendrix, Talking Heads and the John Coltrane Quartet. And it would be based on a mountain near the beach with lots of puppies around. It’d be an all-around wonderful scenario.”

T.V.L: “That sounds amazing. I’d go to that one.”

What does the future look like for Queens Of The Stone Age?

TVL: “Sleep! I think we’re going to take a little break. I know we have some plans for next year that are loosely being talked about.”

J.T: “There are definitely some aces in some sleeves so to speak…”

T.V.L: “There is always music that we can get back to, but we’re also in the middle of this really long summer tour, and that’s what we want to make sure that we’re still excited about. Even at the end. So that takes all of our energy away from things like writing a new song or talking about making an animated movie about the behind-the-scenes of the making-of a documentary.”

J.T: “We’ve been in sort of fifth or sixth gear. We have to get into mutual at some point and come up for air – see our families, rest our bodies, spend some time apart from one another. Because at this point it’s sort of this large, five-headed organism. It’s like the thing almost, so we need to free some of the surfaces to regrow. That way we can regroup and come back and do some more.”

You can pre-order/pre-save the 2024 reissue of ‘Queens Of The Stone Age’ here.

View original source here.

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