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Mister Enemy - A Troy Van Leeuwen Fan Site

Polish Metal Hammer

[note: the following interview gives Troy’s thoughts but not in his original words as it was re-translated from Polish]


Queens Of The Stone Age: Rock’n’roll ain’t hip-hop

Interview with Troy van Leeuwen

By Tylda Ciolkosz (Metal Hammer Poland)

[re-translated by nwar]


A slim brunette led us to a large room at the first floor. At the corner on the left side Josh Homme, illuminated by halogen lamps, was sitting bolt upright. Apparently he was having a SERIOUS interview with People From TV. Big redhead with dark glasses on his nose, his hands laying inertially on his knees, he was looking like a museum exhibit. I had an idea that he wasn’t having fun.


The sofas standing on the left seemed to promise much more enterntainment. Smiling and animated, Troy van Leeuwen lounged on one of the sofas, and put his elegantly shod feet on the table. After a little he took them off to settle down on the sofa like a patient having a psychiatrist consultation. He put his hands on his chest, clothed in a stylish black shirt, he fixed his eyes at the ceiling and then mumbled:


- It all started when I was five years old...


TC: Keep on talking! Throw it out of yourself! – I nodded to encourage him and approached the microphone to his mouth.


TVL: I’ve always wanted to be a rally driver...

TC: That sounds really interesting...

TVL: ...but instead of it I became a musician...

TC: And now you regret?

TVL: A little...

TC: Maybe you should return to your childhood dreams? Face them and realize them finally? If this is what you really want?


TVL: Now... – Troy sighed – now I can buy a fast car. And driving it, I can feel like a rally driver. Sometimes. On the weekends. You know...

TC: So you prefer the musician profession? Does it give you satisfaction? An enough money... for a fast car and a comfortable life?

TVL: I don’t complain, I live a decent life. I can afford to pay the bills. I have a place to live...

TC: Is that enough to be happy?

TVL: It is – Troy stretched and put his hands aside nonchalantly.

TC: And you can afford buying pretty ties... – I noticed and pointed to the small striped marvel on his neck, blazing with colours.

TVL: Yeah, it’s mine... – Troy stroked his tie tenderly - I’m a tie freak.

TC: This one is really nice.

TVL: Well thank you.

TC: And now look me straight in the eyes and tell me what you think about music journalist. Honestly.

TVL: I have nothing to do with them – Troy replied looking at me behind his big sunglasses – The only thing that disturbs me is repeating on and on the same answers... for the same questions. But besides... they are nice. Though there is one... I won’t name her, but... one day I’ll murder her, I swear.

TC: So what are the questions you don’t like to answer to?

TVL: I don’t like questions about... – Troy fixed his eyes at the point of his shoe – about Nick.

TC: Okay, you can be sure I won’t ask about Nick. Imagine that I didn’t even plan it.

TVL: Then that is cool.

TC: From where came the idea of taking Eagles Of Death Metal on tour? I was wondering how Josh Homme deals with duties of Eagles drummer and QOTSA frontman at a time.

TVL: We are good friends. It’s like a family. We all landed together... All these people want to be together, here and now. Jesse played in QOTSA, he took part in the Desert Sessions project. This is like a little music community. We spend time together having fun. They are good in turning our audience on, preparing the crowd so that we could slaughter them all later on.

TC: There are some rumours that you are planning a tour with Nine Inch Nails?

TVL: Yes, we are.

TC: How it came to this?


TVL: As it happens, Trent (Reznor) has been following our works for a certain time. He goes to our shows... We were on tour with Nine Inch Nails when I was in A Perfect Circle. And now everything coincides in time in our common favour. In some communities the musicians – and artists generally – tend to bump into themselves from time to time. That’s how we’re all working – in this type of relationship.

TC: Are there any people that are not involved in your “community” and whom you would like to meet on tour in the future?

TVL: Hmmm. We were supposed to have a tour with Interpol. I'm still hoping that it will happen as I really like those guys. I like their music, I had the occasion to meet them a few times. They are cool people, they are really nice. We’re feeling good together, so I’d like to hit the road with them.

TC: Two days after your show there will be another rock band playing here...

TVL: ...Mars Volta... – Troy didn’t let me end and sighed with a note of admiration in his voice.

TC: You surely have met them before...

TVL: Oh yeah!

TC: They are a quite unusual musical phenomenon. What do you think about them?


TVL: They are... brave. They break new ground. The sound a little... progressive and kind of retro, but they are outstanding. They are brilliant instrumentalists and seem to concur with our muiscal philosophy. You know: you do what you like to do. And they are doing something really exceptional. We had some shows together once. We think about them warmly, very warmly.

TC: I can’t wait for their show...

TVL: Me either, I can’t wait until I will see them again. When they played with us after releasing their first album, they played 40-minutes sets including only 4 songs! They give themselves a lot of liberty of improvisation, a lot more than we have. We would also like to do something more in this way.

TC: With bands like yours, Mars Volta or many others... Some do profess that “ROCK IS DYING AGAIN”, what do you think about it?

TVL: Well, if rock is dying, then bury it, damn it to hell! – Troy shrugged his shoulders – It means... – he wrinkled his forehead – You know, they say things like this from time to time. My first reaction is what it is, because... maybe I want to show that I am smart, glib or something. But... fuck it. Rock is like bebop. It’s a sort of energy, it’s something which happens on many surfaces. Bebop, Elvis or Coltraine... Punk rock, rock’n’roll... This is the power, the energy. Today when we have Internet and we can have so much music for free – Troy got so excited that he nearly got up from the sofa – the bands have to make themselves live, to prove that they are worth something. Thay may have good songs, but I can esteem that only if see them onstage. Good songs aren’t worth much if you can’t play them. In this way rock’n’roll hasn’t died. It just doesn’t sell as well as hip-hop. There are so many new bands coming out, the kids are crazy for them... And still there’s so much to discover...


TC: That’s true, today’s media don’t present rock music in its entirety. The greatest rock creators are today perhaps not “famous” but “cult”. Rock’n’roll, unlike the “pop music”, is not a fashion, it’s rather like a religion. How do you think, what appeals to the QOTSA religion followers? What makes you “cult”?


TVL: The cult was born because all in QOTSA is exceptional. The sound of guitar and drums, Josh’s voice, his falsetto which brings to our music, heavy as such, beautiful melodies. The way of recording, mixing, our approach to playing live... In every phase we try to remember that we’re doing something special. Untypical. We keep in mind that we can’t copy anything or anyone, even ourselves. That is intelligible for people who feel not straight with the pop-culture. The things we make blend in with feelings of people who can’t stand only working from 8am to 4pm, for whom that way of living is not enough.

TC: So you think your music is for outsiders?

TVL: I think that for most people that is the source of the cult. Even though we would like to play for as much people as possible. We write the music that we like. But we want it to appeal to our audience... to some audience generally. Our next single is that song “In My Head”, which is the most pop song we’ve ever written. But we recorded it without hesitation because it’s a really good song. Maybe some of our fans will be pissed for that, but... well that is good too.

TC: You like to piss them off from time to time? Your music and your image are a little... frivolous and kind of quirky. Are you all eccentrics?

TVL: I wouldn’t say that I started doing rock to get into a routine. I don’t claim that my life is normal. I like having fun, travelling and partying. I’m in a rock band, that’s what people expect me to do. I’m not renting video tapes or working in a bank, but...
  – Troy suspended his voice theatrically - I still would like to be a rally driver...

TC: So we’re back to our starting-point... – I sighed – Well, I hope you’ll get to it one day. I wish you good luck! I suppose that today’s therapy has came to the end...


TVL: Oh, end of my session – Troy sat on the sofa, stretching himself – It’s great! I have got some stuff off my chest...

TC: Do you feel relieved?

TVL: Oh yeah, now I perceive my childhood much more serenely.

TC: Oh, that’s wonderful. I’m so glad I could help you...

TVL: Thank you...

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