Y'know, it's kinda funny...every time a new QOTSA album comes out, Josh Homme always says the new band is 'the best lineup ever' or something along those lines. As a huge fan of Dave Grohl and someone who really appreciates what he contributed to SONGS FOR THE DEAF, I must say I was pretty dubious of Josh's claim this time.
I needn't have worried. This version of Queens is a monster.
See, I highly dig LULLABIES..., but it doesn't really have a strong 'band' presence to it, probably due, I hate to admit it, to the absence of Nick Oliveri. What's good about this effect is that it really makes the strength of the songwriting stand out...
The great thing about this CD/DVD is that when a bunch of talented, tight and passionate musicians like the ones assembled here tear into these songs, they find all kinds of fresh new blood in those veins. Joey Castillo pounds the hell out of his kit, very ably stepping in for Mr. Grohl on the SONGS... songs, and propelling the new stuff into Rock God Valhalla. It's also awesome to watch Troy Van Leeuwen and Alain Johannes from Eleven and The Desert Sessions trade off instruments like the virtuosos they are. Natash Shneider (also of Eleven and the Desert Sessions) adds just the right elements, musically and aesthetically, and the JoshMan himself is in perfect form, whether firing off a face-melting solo, hitting all the targets with that laser-perfect falsetto, or verbally destroying a would-be heckler who tries to ruin the show.
Oh, and a note to Travis:
Enough already with the 'hardcore fan' routine. If you're really a hard-core fan of QOTSA, you would know that Nick Oliveri wasn't an original member, although he did come to be an important collaborator with Josh Homme. Look, Nick is awesome and all, but he's also a crazy motherf***er who got kicked out of the DWARVES, for cryin' out loud. I wouldn't believe anything he said in some rock rag any more than I would believe any of Josh's myriad versions of events. It was personal, it was business, but it wasn't OUR business. The QOTSA flag flys with Josh, so love it or leave it, just like Oliveri.
P.S. Looks like Mark Lanegan didn't get fired after all, doesn't it?