It’s easy to take Queens of the Stone Age for granted. Between their ever-changing roster, large gap between albums, and the fact that their most famous member isn’t even a member of the band (Dave Grohl), it’s understandable to forget about them for months at a time. And then they announce they’re putting out a new album, and it’s like they never left.
…Like Clockwork, the group’s sixth album is also their third masterpiece, after Rated R and Songs for the Deaf. It’s a monster, but a different kind of monster; Josh Homme went out of his crunching hard rock comfort zone, and he ended up with an album that stops at different sounds, including swaggering psychedelica and piano ballads, without losing any of its momentum. Clockwork might be the band’s most interesting album yet.
It’s definitely their most jam-packed with friendly colloboraters. Here’s a guide to many famous members who helped Homme & Co. make …Like Clockwork as great as it is.
Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears provides backing vocals on the album’s first track, “Keep Your Eyes Peeled.”
Dave Grohl, who so memorably filled in for Gene Trautmann on Songs for the Deaf (to the point where many casual listeners believe he’s a member of Queens because their first and possibly only exposure to the group was the minor-radio hit, “No One Knows”), returns on …Like Clockwork, and provides a steady, yet wild presence on six of the album’s ten songs, including the guest star-heavy “Fairweather Friends.”
I wasn’t kidding: “Fairweather” is stacked with outside talent, to the point where it becomes a guessing game of who’s doing what. It’s Queens’ “All of the Lights,” though not quite as good, but also with Elton John, as well as Trent Reznor, the Distillers’ Brody Dalle, and former-members Nick Oliveri, Mark Lanegan, and Alain Johannes.
Reznor can also be heard on the drifting, life support-assisted “Kalopsia.”
“Kalopsia” doesn’t end there: it was co-written with Homme by the Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner.
Lastly, Oliveri, Lanegan, and Johannes aren’t the only all-in-the-family guests on Clockwork — Joey Castillo, who departed the band last year (he was also in Eagles of Death Metal), plays drums on three of the songs that Grohl doesn’t. That covers nine out of ten tracks, but what about that final one, the titular “…Like Clockwork”? That honor goes to the Mars Volta’s tattooed man/machine Jon Theodore, who will tour with Queens this summer.