Album Title
Queens of the Stone Age
Artist Icon Songs for the Deaf (2002)
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First Released

Calendar Icon 2002


Genre Icon Alternative Rock


Mood Icon Excitable


Style Icon Rock/Pop


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Speed Icon Fast

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Record Label Release

Speed Icon Interscope Records

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Album Description
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Songs for the Deaf is the third studio album by American rock band Queens of the Stone Age. Released on August 27, 2002 on the Interscope label, the album features Foo Fighters and former Nirvana member Dave Grohl as a guest drummer. Like their other albums, Songs for the Deaf has a large number of guest musicians, a signature of the band's releases. Following the breakthrough Rated R, this album is widely regarded as Queens of the Stone Age's best work, garnering near-universal acclaim from critics, whilst earning the band's first gold record certification in the US, having sold 986,000 copies in the country. Today, it is generally considered to be one of the greatest rock albums of the 2000's. Songs for the Deaf is loosely considered as a concept album, taking the listener on a drive from Los Angeles to Joshua Tree while tuning into radio stations from towns on the way such as Banning and the "Bible Belt" on "God Is In The Radio" and Chino Hills, California.

Songs for the Deaf was the first and only Queens of the Stone Age album that featured Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters on drums, who also toured with the band. He replaced the previous drummer, Gene Trautmann, who started working on other projects. Grohl had been a keen admirer of Queens of the Stone Age since the band opened for Foo Fighters on tour and originally wanted to appear on Rated R. He joined Queens of the Stone Age in October 2001 when he received a phone call from Josh Homme, with whom he had been friends since 1992 while Homme was the guitarist for Kyuss. Grohl admitted that he had not drummed for a long time and added that fronting a band was "tiring". Grohl put Foo Fighters on temporary hiatus, delaying their upcoming album One by One to October 22, 2002 because of touring duties with Queens of the Stone Age in support of the album. Grohl's first performance with the band occurred at March 7, 2002 in The Troubadour, Los Angeles, and his last performance was at the Fuji Rock Festival on July 28, 2002. He returned to the Foo Fighters soon after, initially being replaced in Queens of the Stone Age by Kelli Scott of Blinker the Star before Danzig drummer Joey Castillo was eventually announced as his long-term replacement in August 2002.

Songs for the Deaf marks the last appearances on a Queens of the Stone Age record of former members Brendon McNichol (lap steel), Gene Trautmann (drums) and Nick Oliveri (bass). The album also included the first musical contribution to a Queens of the Stone Age album by multi-instrumentalists Natasha Shneider and Alain Johannes. Jeordie White (of Marilyn Manson fame) reportedly auditioned for the band in 2002 but lost out to Troy Van Leeuwen, who joined the band as a touring member in support of Songs for the Deaf. White did appear on the album, however, making a brief cameo appearance as a radio DJ. Shneider, Johannes, and Van Leeuwen would subsequently become full time Queens of the Stone Age members and contribute to the follow-up album Lullabies to Paralyze, released in 2005.

Another change in personnel came with the arrival of producer Eric Valentine, who had previously worked on a pair of Dwarves albums with Nick Oliveri. Valentine was actually a requirement by Interscope and did not do his job according to Homme, who commented that " just recorded it actually, it says production, he was only there to record the beginning of it."
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User Album Review
Heavy? Yes, but in a clever, camp kind of way. Rock? Definitely.With Dave Grohl behind the drum kit and a bucket full of Sabbath style riffing, it certainly rocks.

2000's Rated R was one of the best post Nirvana american rock albums. It was an elusive, dark, slippery kind of record, a series of pastiches of rock styles past that seemed more real and cut deeper than the posturing of most grunge. Some of it sounded like Metallica, some of it like David Bowie circa The Man Who Sold the World. Lots of people voted it the best album of the year. But then as usual the ground shifted, along came The Strokes and "irony" and "bleak" became strictly last year.

The Queens have responded with typical perversity and produced a CD which is even bleaker than the last one. The shadow of death hangs firmly over its first 30 minutes. At times the wailing witches' chorus and unrelenting tales of hanging trees and murder gets a bit indigestible.

But there's still plenty of head shaking rock action. Nick Oliveri screams his head off in the groovy "Millionaire". Grohl's drum intro on "A Song For The Dead" is better than the rest of the song. "No One Knows" comes across like ZZ Top in a really, really bad mood. Slowly the mood doesn't exactly lighten but at least becomes less brutal, as the second half sets up a series of doomy love songs. "Do It Again" matches a Gary Glitter stomp with the best melody of the album while "Another Love Song" comes as a complete surprise, a perfect piece of gloomy late Sixties pop.

It all depends how you like your rock. If you like it with big airy spaces, lots of affirmation and a nice happy ending you should buy the Coldplay album. But if you like it tricky, claustrophobic but with plenty of swoons and thrills you should get to grips with this big, dense monster of a record.

(Since receiving your comments below, we have corrected the above review - Nick Oliveri screams in Millionaire, not Mark Lanegan - apologies, and thanks for your corrections! - ed)

Like This? Try These:
Foo Fighters - One By One
Vex Red - Start With A Strong And Persistant Desire

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