Queens of the Stone Age

Queens of the Stone Age

My experience with Queens of the Stone Age in the years has been turbulent.
It started quite a while ago, July 1999. There was a free rock festival in Palestrina, close to Rome, called “Nel Nome del Rock” (in the name of rock). First night headliner were Morphine (from Boston) and, the following night, Queens of the Stone Age (QOTSA) that were just emerging in the Californian desert from Kyuss’ ashes.

I was (and still am) a die-hard fan of Morphine’s low-rock. I went to that concert hyper-excited. I had never seen them live before. It ended up being one of the most shocking experience of my entire life. Mark Sandman, Morphine leader and frontman, after few songs (I have never been able to realize how many) collapsed on stage, killed by a heart attack. That moment the concert, the Morphine and any of my desire to come back the following night to see Josh Homme and friends, expired. I was devastated and petrified. I remember myself sitting on a bench, hoping for someone coming out to tell it wasn’t serious. But it damn was, I knew it was. So all I am left now is a roll of film which stops after the 9th frame and a Morphine CDs collection. I know the show must go on, just give me a break.

Queens of the Stone Age

I moved to UK and I kept listening to QOTSA music. I managed to bump into them live in 2003, it was at the London Brixton Academy. They were touring their third album, the superb Songs for the deaf. An impressive wall of guitar sounds took the Academy by storm, with a wild Nick Oliveri showing up on stage totally naked for the encore. I was blown away.

The following couple of years a series of quite worrying news for QOTSA fans. Nick Oliveri was abruptly sacked by Josh Homme, after spending 15 years together from school through the Kyuss’ days, circumstances are still unclear. A partially disappointing release, their fourth CD Lullabies to Paralyze certainly isn’t their best. Several UK dates cancelled and, not to forget, Josh Homme involvement with Eagles of Death Metal. A further distraction when it looked that the QOTSA were in desperate need of concentration.

Queens of the Stone Age

They seem to find it back home, in the desert. 2007 brought good news. Era Vulgaris was released, I think it is a very good album, and the band was back on the road.
Since then, I have been chasing their PR for months managing to get access to the photographers’ pit of the Brixton Academy at the very last minute. Three songs of photos then I stayed to watch the entire gig.
A 20 songs setlist spanning entire career which I enjoyed despite it was missing my personal favourite, better living through chemistry.
They fit 3 more songs from the setlist sticked on the academy floor, clearly they were enjoying it too.
In fact, I was loving it. A breathtaking incessant sequence of songs. I always thought the Era Vulgaris riffs would be great live but I never thought that the cacophony of 3’s & 7’s would sound any good on stage especially after No one knows and before R’s In the Fade. It did.
I rediscovered a couple of pearls from Lullabies: Burn the Witch and Tangled up in Plaid, with its guitar chord progression which has the harmonic skeleton that both Amy Winehouse for Back in Black and PJ Harvey in the recent The Devil, transposed to piano. Have a go at it. Make it wit chu, the new single, shines before the encore. Encore where Homme pays homage to Amy Winehouse singing a refrain of her Rehab during Feel good hit of the summer.

Queens of the Stone Age

I exit the Academy persuaded that QOTSA are one of the most important and influent bands this side of the millennium. A band that rotates around its mastermind, Josh Homme, which at the same time is excellent to blend together the best musicians and to deliver a sound that is his very own.
A band that in this decade managed to resurrect the anemic hard rock scene with new warmth, made out of Homme’s bursting guitar riffs, potent drums and pulsing bass. After all if warmth didn’t come from the Desert, where from?

There is no QOTSA music to stream for you, but there is something even more tasteful which will fit better the last chapter of this Desert Trilogy. The entire Desert Session vol. 9-10 album. I made it start with a proto-version of  I wanna make it wit chu that became latest QOTSA single. If you want the real QOTSA music, you can always get it from their [myspace] [website]

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Queens of the Stone Age

Photo tip

This time I am not posting a tip, but a call for all concert photographers.
It happens sporadically, but it happens. Tour managers (or whoever manager) ask photographers, usually in advance but sometimes only when we arrive at the venue, to sign a paper where we must declare for which agency we work or, in case we are freelance, which publications will publish the images.
In a word we sign to renounce our rights on our photos!
Would musicians be ready to give away the rights of their music? No?
Well, this is how they are threatening photographers. Either we sign the agreement, renouncing to our rights or we get no pass, renouncing to the pictures!

There are debates online discussing whether these agreements have any executive value, first of all they are not signed by a counterpart but, beyond the legal issues which I am happy to leave to solicitors, the procedure is very annoying.
A photographer, especially a freelance, does not always know in advance which magazine will publish his/her shots and can’t spend an hour writing a list of all his potential clients, magazines, websites, hoping he does not forget a key one.
I deliberately decided not to photograph anyone supporting this stupid policy, but you know, exceptions happen. Having spent ages to get through a QOTSA pass, I didn’t want to miss them, but I am disappointed.

I wish all the live photographers out there agreed to join forces and boycott all the artists which ask to sign any sort of contract that restrains our rights on our photos.
I wish that any of you replied to the promoter specifying that we won’t be attending the gig only because of this request.
We do a key job on spreading artists’ music, image and work. To put it with a photographer friend’s words “At the end of the day all we are doing are promoting the artists so that they (the artists, record companies, promoters, PR’s etc….) can get rich” …much richer than us, be sure.

Are you control freak or what for, guys? I would love to hear from someone who can explain the logic behind the procedure.
I would also love to hear from photographers about similar experiences so we can build up and share a list of names.
Please, tell your friends about this.

To start the list following 5 artists who asked me to sign these agreement, most of them I declined.

“You’ll have to sign our release when you get there though”

“Please fill in the Photographers Request Form attached. Bring the filled in form with you and I will give you a pass. First 3 songs, no flash”

“Also ALL photographers will be required to sign a live photography agreement on the night.”

“We can sort this out and give permission for photos to be used, in the
articles that the photographer is directly commissioned for, but Hawkwind
have a policy of retaining all copyright on photos taken of themselves.
If this is not agreeable to you, we can let you use photographs for the
articles which have been taken by our own official photographer, there will
be no charge for use of these photos.”

THE DOVES (without any advice)

Queens of the Stone Age

~ by Valerio on December 6, 2007.

42 Responses to “Queens of the Stone Age”

  1. “a paper where we must declare for which agency we work or, in case we are freelance, which publications will publish the images”

    Wait a sec, how comes that simply declaring in advance where you gonna publish your photoes is making you loose your rights on those pics? I don’t get the point

    “We can sort this out and give permission for photos to be used, in the articles that the photographer is directly commissioned for”

    Alright, the curtain is kinda slowly opening…

  3. It is quite simple. Mainly, if Kerrang! today calls me saying they like to publish my pictures, I have to say no, because I did not include Kerrang on the list of “potential” magazines in the agreement. It Sounds weird, it is how it works.

  4. black flag logo on the drumkit?

  5. I love QOTSA. Great photos and great review.

    I’ve yet to sign one of those contracts. The way I see it, once I factor in travel, my time, tickets (if its a band I really like, I try to support them when I can), and film, some shows I can have up to $80 in. The way the logic works out for me, not only am I publicizing the band, I’m *paying* to do it. At least give me the copyright on the photos…

    Then again, I’m not at the stage where I’m getting sent for assignment by a publication, so any money that might come my way is going to come after the fact. I think I would refuse to shoot a show if I had to sign a contract – ultimately, their loss.

  6. Great shots, I’ve been asked to sign one of those agreements before for a Bright Eyes concert at Shepherds Bush Empire, I’ve been hearing of some bands’ restrictions on photographers getting worse too, things look pretty bleak right now for concert snappers.

  7. “Hawkeye” Chippy! Maybe or maybe not; it’s pretty similar to the set QOTSA used in Bologna, Flippaut Rock Festival 2003.

  8. first time i saw qotsa live is when valerio missed them (palestrina), it was a great concert. josh started the gig saying: “mark, this is for you”.
    line up: homme/oliveri/hernandez + dave catching, they even played a kyuss song on the encore “supa scoopa…”

    second time it was at vox (aka voss) in modena “songs for then deaf” tour… all of them including lanegan (no dave grohl though)
    a band in top form, on top of the world that just released their masterpiece…
    let me mw tell you something, 4 hours drive (and back) were well worth it

  9. then we can talk about kyuss at circolo degli artisti (old location)- garcia, homme, reeder, bjork – best line up ever… yes, i think scott reeder was better then oliveri!

  10. i guess people don’t really browse for blogs on a weekend…

  11. Thanks for the support, Tim and Jacob.

    Chippy, I guess you saw the best of the best of stoner rock live.

    Listening to the Desert Session vol 9 & 10 in streaming I ended up on the songs with PJ on vocal and I bough the entire CD!

  12. I was @ Circolo degli Artisti too, February 1995…
    The “Circus leaves town” tour, A. Hernandez was already on drums replacing B.Bjork.
    I missed the ultimate mind-blowing Kyuss gig a few months later in Bologna, I’m still pissed off about that….ask AndyCandy and RegularStef for details, they were there….GRRRRRRR

  13. i might got confused about the band members… what i’m sure is that the “circus leaves town” wasn’t out yet (it was out in july) but they played some new songs, “el rodeo” was one of those.

    the gig in bologna was the one in which they replaced white zombie, right?
    i was a fool not to go, last chance for me to see soundgarden (one of my fav band ever) so i have a bit GRRRR to do myself..

  14. right, I just checked out the video where Kyuss is storming Videomusic studios a few days later, and Alfredo is behind the drums, and…. of course right again, “circus..” had not been released yet.
    I’ve never really adored Soundgarden. That’s why I decided not to go to that Mnsters of Rock or whatever it was.
    I don’t even remember if I was aware that my friends would go at all (You could at least have ringed me up, you filthy motherfunkers!!!). The very day of the concert I was lyng on a beach on a small island (Ventotene, actually) reading the newzpaper, and I got smashed by the last minute newz of Kyuss replacing damn White Zombie, then it was “for fuck’s sake there is no fuckin’ ship to mainland until tomorrow so find me a fuckin chopper to Bologna!!” and then I tried to drown myself in the shallow and clear water almost crushing my old desperate headbanger’s neck, while curseing my trendy girlfriend to death because of her dumb sailing class….
    CaptainLovestar ’67 from HellIsland, over

  15. – Lollo, my friend, I’m dying laughing … literally! I couldn’t ring your bell because you weren’t Anita Ward!!! Ah ah ah!
    – Chippy, don’t worry about that gig; Soundgarden was swallowed up by the white-hot desert sound created by Kyuss. Believe me, really impressive.

    The next title I gonna either buy or download (according to my wallet and to average stats it’s going to be a FREE download) is being my 1000th (a rough 50 vynyl pieces & twohundred audiotapes NOT included)
    I know, most of the tough bloggers and music lovers out there will have certainly left this milestone behind decades ago, nevertheless let me just heave a sigh of satisfatiction thinking of the past 27 years driven by the Unstoppable Force
    (the Bellrays logo, 21th century)
    (my leather schoolbag, late 1980)
    (Neil Peart, 1978)

  17. “Now, at last I fall before
    The Fountain of Lamneth
    I thought I would be singing
    But I’m tired…out of breath
    Many journeys end here
    But, the secret’s told the same
    Life is just a candle and a dream
    Must give it flame

    I’m in motion
    I am still
    I am crying
    I am…still
    I’m together
    I’m apart
    I’m forever
    At the start

    Still…I am”

    (Neil Peart, 1975)

  18. “…one hundred of these days!”
    (for the lovers of the maccaron-english)

  19. Who makes the complane today?

  20. Noone Airid (you got points for “complane”!!),
    We are celebrating Lorenzo 1000th CD.
    Even Led Zeppelin reunited for the occasion, in case he wants to preorder their reunion concert to mark the event!

  21. spiritous girl, it’f for my 1000th disc, no?
    bai de uei, bird of the woods I shall be in a couple of weeks, dear

  22. let’s party!

  23. Last Kyuss gig (replacing White Zombie) was at Reggio Emilia, and I was there OF COURSE. Soungarden sucked (as they always did live, since Yamamoto), Kyuss were not at their top, they lost themselves in the middle of Green Machine, BUT they ruled anyway, pissing in the head of Kabir Bedi, the guitar player of Soundgarden.
    By the way, I LOVE Soundgarden on record.
    Neil Peart & Rush too.
    QOTSA of course.
    I saw a piece of LZ, well it was not that bad.

  24. what happened to kabir bedi after soundgarden split up?
    apart (obviously) from making it up to second place on “island of famous people”

  25. I’ve read he did no-global happenings with Jello Biafra, somewhere in USA, and that’s all I know…

  26. uh, I’ve seen it now : http://www.rosshalfin.co.uk/queensofthestoneage/queensofthestoneage04.php

    You were working aside Ross Halfin…Did you meet him ? Was he asked to sign somewhere too ?

    Now I gotta go, seriously…

  27. Bird of woods, make yourself hear.

    KAbir Bedi plays Shakespeare.

  28. Hi bZy

  29. Wow, I recognise Ross Halfin, I noticed him because he was the only photographer having the AAA pass (access all areas), he was at the Zep gig on monday as well.
    I saw a couple of videos on youtube, despite the horrible sound it was quite a good gig, with Plant in sparkling form. If they tour, I’ll go. There are rumours of 2 misterious dates booked at wembley stadium, let’s see.

    Sorry, there’ll be a delay for Primal Scream, I got a few problems, sorry for the wait, keep reading liveon35mm.


  30. u is zis ross? so iu uent to ze zep?

  31. The whole LedZep gig on http://www.nargothebortsdeviantsubculture.blogspot.com
    lay your ears on it before it’s removed

  32. Oh Vale perdi ancora tempo con traspa e tool ? Non vedi che sono disturbati ?
    Piuttosto, niente MV. Ti spiegherò poi.
    Devo dirti inoltre che mi rimangio tutto quello che ti avevo detto un mesetto fa, senza vergogna, anzi con somma vergogna per aver pensato male di Page e c. . Ci sarei andato a vedere i Lz. Quando ho visto su Internet cosa mi sono perso, ho sentito un salto al cuore, è spuntata la lacrimuccia mi sono sono roso nell’invidia.
    Ho ancora conservato l’articolo di Ciao2001 di quando suonarono a Zurigo, e mi ricordo che quel giorno dissi “Un giorno anch’io vedrò i LZ”, ma fino a ora nisba.
    I’m a loser baby so why don’t you kill me ?

  33. Hai proprio ragione Akab…don’t worry for the MV.
    Next time.
    I got exactly your reaction as soon as Jimmy page touched his gibson and THAT sound come out. my heart shrinked and I wished I won that lottery.
    If they tour, I will try to go, shall I say, we will try to go.
    Plant was amazing.
    you’re not a looser…talk soon, Vale

  34. Invece lo è, loser, se stasera non viene a cena con me.
    E infatti lo ammazzo, perdedor de chicas. Poi lo resuscito subito, ma gli faccio prendere paura.

  35. mv?

  36. Mars Volta…

  37. aahhh

  38. all this legal stuff is very complicated.
    the shots are really great. love them, shame you can’t have them on flickr.

  39. kabir bedi was never a guitarist or with a rock band. What is all this????

  40. nice review..think i will go listen to them now =)..cant believe you were there when morhine died. thats unsane

  41. It would be interesting if photographers would start spending more time taking great pics at small club venues, where they tend to be more photographer friendly and the bands appreciate the work we’re doing. Be vocal about it. I’m shooting only small bands at small venues and here is why.

    Furthermore, maybe have a ratings scale… 1 to 5 stars, based on fixed criteria, how friendly are these bands to having photographers around? That way I know if I’m asked to shoot a particular band, ohhhh sorry I see that you require me to sign one of those pesky limited rights contracts. No thanks, I think I will pass.

  42. Stooges this june at NXNE – 1 song, pic only to be published once in media you are authorised for, no freelancers given pit pass,
    thanks but no, i’ll watch the show, if i’m lucky i’ll catch something from the mosh pit (i wasn’t) show was great, only saw 4 pictures published from the pit after and they all looked the same boring
    Honestly there is no-one I want to shoot badly enough to sign away my copyright, I wanted Iggy and the stooges more than anything else but actually turned down the offer when i read the agreement (as did several other people) it meant the biggest free gig NXNE ever had got very limited coverage. Just plain dumb, even dumber is next time he comes through and plays a ticketed venue, I’ll likely end up with back stage passes thanks to some contacts made trying to get this show, and the agreement was specific to the one show due to a documentary being filmed

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