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