By: Gary Graff
One of the eyebrow-raising guests on Queens of the Stone Age's new chart-topping album, "...Like Clockwork," is Elton John, who plays piano and sings on the track "Fairweather Friends."
QOTSA founder and frontman Josh Homme tells us the idea was John's rather than the band's and began when John telephoned Homme one day out of the blue:
"He said, 'Josh, it's Elton,' and I said, 'I know.' He said, 'No, it's Elton John' and I said, 'I know.' And literally, as I said 'I know' a text came from my old roommate, and he said, 'Dude, Elton's gonna call you in five minutes.' And I thought, 'God, I really could've used that about 10 minutes ago.' And it really took off from there."
Homme adds that besides being blown away to work with one of his childhood musical heroes, he was impressed with John's work ethic and musicality:
"He's a workaholic like nobody's business. He's obsessed with chasing down new music and understanding what's going on...He learned that song in 20 minutes, and there's no way...Nobody just walks in and learns a six-part, nine-change song in 20 minutes...His personality is so gigundo that sometimes his piano ability just chills in the shade of a grand personality because it's one part of what makes the whole thing. But that concept, that gestalt concept is kind of our way, too. It's all just a microcosm of the same attitude, perhaps."
QOTSA's new album "...Like Clockwork" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this week, given QOTSA it's first ever No. 1 album. The group is in Europe playing mostly festivals through late July, then begins a North American tour on Aug. 2 at Lollapalooza in Chicago.
Elton John will also be honored at tonight's Songwriters Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards Dinner. John and longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin will receive the Johnny Mercer Award, while Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr., will be presented with the Pioneer Award andSam Cook's "A Change is Gonna Come" will receive the Towering Song Award.
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