Queens of the Stone Age’s latest opus, Like Clockwork, had no shortage of guest appearances from various musicians; QOTSA alumni Mark Lanegan, Dave Grohl, and Nick Oliveri appear on a number of tracks, while the legendary Elton John, Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys, and Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters appear on various tracks. Speaking with, band frontrunner Josh Homme clarified the band’s use of guest appearances, assuring that he isn’t using their names to reap the benefits.

The collaborations, many of them with familiar faces, start to take on a different meaning when one knows the back story: Frontman Josh Homme had a near-death experience during routine knee surgery before the band went to work on the album. When asked if the cameos were a way of surrounding himself with friends, Homme replied, “Yes, absolutely.”

“It dawned on me after we did the first interview [for the new album], people were so kind of like entranced by the marquee value of all these [guest artists],” Homme told “I didn’t think about that, you know? We forget that for you it’s Dave Grohl, Nick Oliveri, Alex Turner, but for us it’s just Dave, Nick and Alex. There comes a time when you need your friends, and so you call them. You don’t really know somebody until everything around you goes wrong. So what was great was to realize in these tougher moments who is really there.”

  • King Cornell

    I have made it clear I adore this album as an all-time great. Still would have been nice to hear more of Lanegan. Except for two small lines in Fairweather Friends, I can’t hear him elsewhere. But wow, Jake Shears fooled me on the first listen. I thought Keep Your Eyes Peeled was Josh singing. Brilliant. Elton’s influence on Fairweather Friends is awesome, like Josh wrote it with him in mind even though he didn’t. Has that grand, boisterous Elton attitude. I think Dave did a fine job on the record. He molded his drumwork to what was needed. He went away from his trademark power drumming and took on a jazzy demeanor and I love it. A few songs that are extremely tough for a drummer to nail…like Smooth Sailing. You get a drummer who doesn’t know what he is doing and that song could end up like crap. I think the media makes too much of the guest appearances. This is a total team effort behind Josh and with all the detailed layering, we are only left to guess how many people contributed to the sound, from Alain (the sound wizard) to Dean to Troy to Dave…that’s a great great thing in a band.