Josh Homme may very well be one of the last true rock stars to break through to the mainstream without ever really selling out. From his early, sun-baked days as a member of sludge-metal outfit Kyuss to his current status as a Billboard 200 shredder who gets called on to write licks for Lady Gaga, Homme has truly carved out his own special niche in the music world. And make no mistake; he is the god of that niche.
It’s easy to understand why Homme has been able to climb such heights with his filthy-yet-welcoming approach to rock. Homme is like a fine-tuning pop songsmith who just happens to be that leering guy at the corner of the bar who wouldn’t think twice about decking you right in front of everybody. His riffs may be gnarly, but they’re wound tight as a spring, and as tough as he might sound in his music, he never crosses over into the kind of aggro-metal territory that usually scares outsiders away. Homme sits at a unique intersection in music: He’s a genuine guitar hero who doesn’t need to tread along the outer extremes of heaviness in order to get a festival crowd banging their heads in excitement, but he’s never had to dumb his music down, either.
Between Queens of the Stone Age and his various other musical projects, Homme has made an undeniable mark on modern music as one of the few rockers still finding success doing it completely his own way. Though he may have cleaned his sound up since his formative time in Kyuss, it’s only been in service of making it thrash even harder, and opening up the beauty of brutality to listeners who might not normally dip into such heavy waters. As a toast to Homme’s surprising, rewarding career in rock, we’ve put together a collection that embodies his unique, enduring ethos.