For their most recent album, 2017’s Villains, Queens Of The Stone Age brought Mark Ronson on board to produce. The partnership was a success, as the album was critically praised and it was Grammy-nominated. It wasn’t without tension, though, as Ronson once had to kick Dave Grohl out of the studio.
Speaking with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Ronson said:
“I didn’t really know Dave at all. He reminded me of how I kicked him out of the studio when he came one time in to crash a Queens session. It was the first time we were doing vocals and I was like, ‘Dave Grohl, rock legend, get the f*ck out of here.’ […] It was like the first day we were doing vocals and Josh was like really in a rhythm and it hit something, and I’m such a fan of Foo Fighters, Nirvana. It was not pleasant to have to ask Dave Grohl nicely to leave the session. […]
I think we were doing maybe ‘Villains [Of Circumstance]’ or ‘Fortress,’ a very personal song on the record, and it was the first time Josh had really found that emotional place to get to, to sing that record. We had tried it a few times and I think Dave and Alison Mosshart were maybe next door getting jolly and just came in to like, ‘What’s up, everybody?’ And I was like… that’s why.”
He then elaborated on how they got to that point, speculating that Grohl was trying to push him as a form of hazing:
“I think at the beginning, they went next door making their record with Greg Kurstin, the East West, and we were at United. And I think I was, like, the newbie. And at that time, I liked to probably dress a little too involved for going in the studio. I think Dave was hazing me. He was just testing how he could push me. Every now and then. [he’d] come by with three pairs of basketball shorts and be like, ‘Do you ever wear shorts?’ It was like a funny… it was funny and then I was like, I don’t know if this guy even likes me. But I think he was just hazing the new guy a little. But no, at that moment, when you’re the producer, it doesn’t really matter who it is, your job is to just fortress your guy’s studio, protect the artist, protect the vulnerability, all this stuff, at any cost. So unfortunately, even if it was Dave Grohl, Stevie Wonder, whoever would have come in at that moment, I would have had to been like, ‘Please, please come back.'”
Watch the full interview below.