Back in June of this year, ZZ Top legend, Billy Gibbons took part in a brief press conference at Hellfest festival in France where budding journalists had the chance to quiz him on his current dealings in music, and he did not disappoint. We had been hearing rumours of Foo Fighters frontman, Dave Grohl, working with the mighty Josh Homme from Queens Of The Stone Age on a possible new record, or at least some sort of project. Grohl, no stranger to a good old side project, as his work with Them Crooked Vultures, and Probot demonstrates, likes to have his wooden sticks in many floor tom pies.

nobody gets upset because we don’t talk to each other in ways that are rude
- Josh Homme

Grohl joined Queens Of The Stone Age back in 2001, naturally on drums, to work on the 3rd QOTSA record, Songs for the Deaf, which later came out in 2002. Grohl and Homme have built up a close relationship over the years and both musicians are known for their love of collaborating, so when we got wind of them teaming up in the studio again, it wasn’t a shock. Homme and Grohl even teamed up with Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor to record a track called Mantra for the film, Sound City, back in 2013.

However, when Sharply Dressed Man icon, Billy Gibbons let out that he had been working with Homme in the “Desert”, this somewhat altered the potential release that lay ahead. Although Gibbons said the trio had been working on a new Queens Of The Stone Age record, our gut instinct screamed Desert Sessions. “We had gone to the desert to work on just a couple of tracks,” said Gibbons.

Josh Homme began what became known as The Desert Sessions back in August 1997 at, Rancho De La Luna, a recording studio in Joshua Tree, California that was founded in 1993 by Fred Drake and David Catching. Homme simply wanted to bring together a collective of musicians to work on music together, little did he know these sessions would become legendary. Although, after releasing 5 studio albums, The Desert Sessions seemed to finish in 2003. Hardly surprising as this was around the time Queens Of The Stone Age started to receive more commercial exposure with their latest record, Songs For The Deaf. The first Desert Sessions record was released in 1998 on Man's Ruin Records, Vol 1. Instrumental Driving Music For Felons & Vol Ii. Status: Ships Commander Butchered, with the initial pressing being on red vinyl.

The song that made them, you could argue, being, No One Knows, featuring Dave Grohl on drums and co-written by Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees. Who could forget that classic scene where Homme, Nick Oliveri and Mark Lanegan run over a Deer?

The last Desert Session record to be released was Volume 9: I See You Hearin' Me (2003) & Volume 10: I Heart Disco (2003), which featured two songs written by Brody Dalle, Hommes wife and all round Distillers badass. The two songs in question being, Dead In Love and I Wanna Make It Wit Chu. The latter also featuring British Rock icon, PJ Harvey. Then, silence. The Desert Sessions were no more.

Last week, Josh Homme officially announced The Desert Sessions were back and being released on October 25th, confirming the news Billy Gibbons hinted at when he said Homme was hoping to release a new record by Halloween. Gibbons said “He’s completed it. I think that he said he wants to put it out Halloween. It’ll be good”.

“One of the great aspects of Desert Sessions is that you don’t get to know how other bands work and nobody gets upset because we don’t talk to each other in ways that are rude” Homme explains in a new interview with NME about Desert Sessions Volume 11: Arrivederci Despair (2019) & Volume 12: Tightwads & Nitwits & Critics & Heels (2019).

Homme explains it’s a different creative process when working on Desert Session records. “We don’t bring that sort of outside angst for each other into being created, it’s totally prohibitive, it’s like making hurdles, that are taylor made perfect for something to stop you from doing something great.”

Over the years, Homme has worked with the likes of PJ Harvey, members of Soundgarden, Monster Magnet, The Dwarves, Hole, and even Jake Shears of the Scissor Sister to create The Desert Session, which at one point even landed him a slot on the prestigious Later With Jools Holland where him and Harvey performed an incredible live version of, ‘I Wanna Make It Wit Chu’.

Homme dives deeper into the mental impact of recording at the infamous Desert Sessions studio. “There’s a bit of mental disrobing as you drive to the Desert” he explains. “I think as a musician, especially in this day and age, you have a bit of armour onto protect yourself from grabbing hands and chatting mouths and closed ears, you do it to sort of insulate yourself, but on the way to Joshua Tree [Desert Recording studios], you can take a lot of that off and whatever you have left in terms of this protection is ultimately a combination of insecurity and bravado, these things that seem like they protect you, but they really don’t.”

Queens Of The Stone Age released VIllains in 2017 which is their most successful record to date landing 10 number one chart spots globally, being certified silver in the United Kingdom, and also being awarded the top spot in Classic Rock Magazine's 50 Albums of 2017.

Desert Sessions Volume 11: Arrivederci Despair (2019) & Volume 12: Tightwads & Nitwits & Critics & Heels (2019) will be released on 25th October, 2019 via Matador Records

Vol. 11 & 12, featuring collaborations from Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Les Claypool (Primus), Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint), Jake Shears (Scissor Sisters), Mike Kerr (Royal Blood), Carla Azar (Autolux, Jack White), Matt Sweeney (Chavez), David Catching (Co-founder of Rancho De La Luna studio), comedian Matt Berry (What We Do in the Shadows), Töôrnst Hülpft and newcomer Libby Grace.

Author Bio: AC Speed

Senior Editor

I started my career as a music journalist in 2013 and have been involved in the music industry as a touring musician, studio engineer and artist consultant since 2002, as well as previously being a signed artist. My passion for delivering high quality, informative music-related news is a daily driving force behind the content I create. Also a huge gaming nerd! Born in the United Kingdom and currently living in Sweden. Skål!


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