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By Tom Murphy
As far as power trios go, it doesn't get more mighty than Them Crooked Vultures, made up of Led Zeppelin's bassist, Nirvana's drummer and the Queens of the Stone Age's frontman. It's every bit as heavy as you'd think. Soon after John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl and Josh Homme met at Grohl's fortieth birthday party in January last year, the three started jamming. By summer they were recording, and with songs coming out of them fairly quickly, their self-titled debut was released in November. We spoke with Homme about the first time the three jammed and what Jones brought to the mix.
Westword: When you, John Paul Jones and Dave Grohl first got together, how was that initial jam?
Josh Homme: It almost felt like a lot of dumb smiling, because everyone was really excited to see what would happen. And it started just becoming ways to sort of — we'd be playing something, and one guy would try to flip it to the other side of the beat, and then we'd jump on that for a while. So it was mostly like "Oh, you know, you can do this to it" without talking, just by playing it out.
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For me, honestly, I just felt like...you know when people tell you, "I felt like I was above my body, watching myself?" That's basically what I felt like. We'd stop, and I was like, "Oh, was I playing, or did I stop? What was going on?" It wasn't really until the second time that we played that I felt like I was standing there a little bit.
Have you ever felt that way when you've played with other musicians?
It's almost like shades of a different color. It was a crazy experience, but it was the first time I was like, "What the hell am I doing? I'm not even paying attention. I'm just watching." I really respect Jones. I've known Dave for years, so I don't really care about that, since we've been friends forever and we love to play together, so it's more about, "Hell yeah, we like to play together." With Jones, I was excited to see what that ingredient into the mixture does.
I'd imagine it has to be tough playing with someone of Jones's stature.
This was the hardest record I've ever made, but it was also so much fun. I kind of feel like I got set loose in the science lab. So I'm really thankful. It's been really cool. I really love music so much and being around Jones. He's such a kid in a candy store for music, too, and so is Dave. And then trying to make each other laugh with the things you know how to do. That's a really great situation.