In June 2013 Queens of the Stone Age released their 6th studio album “…Like Clockwork”. Some say it was to appease the gods of desert rock who had grown restless from the lack of psychedelia in modern music. Whatever the reason, QOTSA is once again bringing their unique brand of rock to the world – and heading out with them is VoiceLive 2, ready for action.
When some bands go into the studio to record their next album they don’t want to settle. A gospel choir? No problem! Playing guitar through an old Leslie-cabinet in a large concrete room? Let’s do it! Adding the roar from a sleep deprived T-Rex to track 9? … Err… OK?! But, once it is time to play the same songs live, the creativity exercised during the recording process suddenly works against the artist; A gospel choir is expensive to tour with, a concrete room on wheels poses a logistic problem, and you need to build a time machine to take a prehistoric animal with you on stage. Queens of the Stone Age know this dilemma. Not literally, of course, but close enough.
Recently we had the pleasure to meet up with QOTSA-member Troy Van Leeuwen and long-time soundman “Hutch” to have a chat about how VoiceLive 2 delivers authoritative “stoner”-vocals at their live shows without breaking anyone’s wallet or back. “It is just something that kind of lends itself to our new record,” Troy says. Hutch elaborates; “Troy brought it into our rehearsal session, and I had just recently converted to digital mixing, and I was missing something that I could get my hands on and manipulate quickly – that wasn’t hidden in a layer in the desk.”
While the VoiceLive 2 wasn’t used in the studio to record the vocals for “…Like Clockwork”, it helps recreate the studio effects live in a much easier manner. Especially the harmony group and distortion-effects on presets like “The Masses” and “Thrash-It” are useful at concerts for the songs “If I had a tail” and “Millionare”. VoiceLive 2’s highly convincing doubler also comes in handy: “The doubler on it is fantastic because it has got that kind of randomized doubling feature, so it doesn’t sound like a chorus,” Troy says. “It really kind of helps out in the way that we like to keep it fresh live too.”
Although often described as “stoner-rock”, QOTSA’s music is a mix of many different musical styles – However it is safe to say that powerful heavy rock motifs are always the indisputable driving force behind the music. Josh Homme founded the group in 1996 after the breakup of his former band Kyussthe year before. Throughout the years the band has had quite many different lineups. Former members (among others) include; Nick Oliveri, Dave Catching, Alfredo Hernández, Mark Lanegan, Joey Castillo, Alain Johannes and Natasha Shneider.
The band’s current line-up includes Josh Homme (lead vocals, guitar, piano), alongside longtime members Troy Van Leeuwen (guitar, lap steel, keyboard, percussion, backing vocals), Michael Shuman (bass guitar, keyboard, backing vocals), Dean Fertita (keyboards, guitar, percussion, backing vocals), and recent addition Jon Theodore (drums, percussion).