Special guests Phantogram and Viagra Boys. New album In Times New Roman... out June 16.
Queens of the Stone Age will kick off their North American tour on August 3rd in Sterling Heights, MI. Queens of The Stone Age and Citi pre-sales begin Tuesday, June 6th at 10am local time, with public on-sale following Friday June 9th, 10am local time. The east coast leg of the tour will feature support from Phantogram and The Armed. Viagra Boys and Jehnny Beth will support on the mid-west and west coast dates.
The End Is Nero tour is an invitation from Joshua Homme, Troy Van Leeuwen, Michael Shuman, Dean Fertita and Jon Theodore to come celebrate the end of the world, which we hear is “in a month or two." They would like to encourage the obscene and the clean, the outcasts and the weirdos, and anyone and everyone in between to attend, this is where you belong. Leave your judgment at the door, bring anything and everything else.
The End Is Nero Tour
In Times New Roman… will be available digitally and physically on June 16th via Matador Records. On the eve of release fans are invited to ring in the long awaited album at MIDNIGHT CLUB parties taking place at record shops and pubs across 23 countries. The MIDNIGHT CLUB starts at 11pm June 15th and will feature giveaways, exclusive merch including limited edition colored vinyl, and—in a few select locations—signed merchandise and ticket giveaways. MIDNIGHT CLUB will provide the QOTSA faithful with a first chance to hear In Times New Roman… in its entirety, amongst friends, family and of course appropriate levels of bacchanalia.
Queens of the Stone Age: The End is Nero Tour:
August 3 – Sterling Heights, MI – Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill*
August 4 – Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage*
August 5 – Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE Outdoors*
August 7 – Bridgeport, CT – Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater*
August 8 – Philadelphia, PA – TD Pavilion at the Mann*
August 9 – Washington, DC – The Anthem*
August 11 – Portland, ME – Cross Insurance Arena*
August 12 – Queens, NY – Forest Hills Stadium*
August 15 – Raleigh, NC – Red Hat Amphitheater*
August 16 – Asheville, NC – Rabbit Rabbit*
August 18 – Atlanta, GA – Fox Theatre *
August 19 – Nashville, TN – Ascend Amphitheater*
September 16 – Chicago, IL – Riot Fest
September 17 – Minneapolis, MN – The Armory**
September 19 – Omaha, NE – Steelhouse**
September 20 – Kansas City, MO – Starlight Theatre**
September 22 – Indianapolis, IN – TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park**
September 23 – St. Louis, MO – Saint Louis Music Park**
September 24 – Louisville, KY – Louder Than Life
September 26 – Rogers, AR – Walmart AMP**
September 27 – Oklahoma City, OK – The Criterion**
September 29 – Denver, CO – Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre**
September 30 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Great Saltair**
October 2 – Portland, OR – Veterans Memorial Coliseum**
October 3 – Vancouver, BC – Pacific Coliseum**
October 4 – Seattle, WA – Climate Pledge Arena**
October 6 – San Francisco, CA – Bill Graham Civic Auditorium**
October 8 – Sacramento, CA – Aftershock
*Phantogram and The Armed support
**Viagra Boys and Jehnny Beth support
For more information on the MIDNIGHT CLUB locations, visit: https://qotsa.ffm.to/midnightclub
To pre-order In Times New Roman…, shop new exclusive merchandise or join the sock of the month club visit https://store.qotsa.com/
Making a living doing the thing you love is great—in fact, it’s something that so many players aspire to. But it changes the relationship between player and instrument when the instrument is a source of work. How do they stay excited about their work? And how do they get excited when they’re in a lull? What keeps their creativity flowing? These are big questions, but our hosts are both having their own renaissances with their guitars. And—surprise!—it’s because they’ve both come into some new key pieces of gear.
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On this episode, Rhett and Zach discuss the relationship that they each have with the guitar at this point in their careers. Making a living doing the thing you love is great—in fact, it’s something that so many players aspire to. But it changes the relationship between player and instrument when the instrument is a source of work. How do they stay excited about their work? And how do they get excited when they’re in a lull? What keeps their creativity flowing? These are big questions, but our hosts are both having their own renaissances with their guitars. And—surprise!—it’s because they’ve both come into some new key pieces of gear.
Zach reports that he has been rippin’ totally sweet Metallica licks on his sick new ESP LTD Kirk Hammett Signature Series KH-602. He’s a longtime fan of the band—and has conveniently fallen back in love with Kill ’Em All and Ride the Lightning—and says he’s wanted a Hammett signature guitar for his entire guitar-playing life. When he saw this one at Nashville’s Guitars To Be Played, he fell in love with everything, from the skull and crossbones fret markers to the Floyd Rose. And you know what? The Floyd Rose isn’t hard to set up. This guitar, Zach says, is kickstarting his “love of the guitar again.”
Meanwhile, Rhett has been enjoying his new Soldano SLO-100head and matching 4x12 cabinet, even if he does keep the cab a few flights below his control room. He’s stoked about the story of Soldano, who he admires for being one of the early boutique amp builders, and has been playing this new 100-watter all week.When it’s time to dip a rig, it’s hard to find any faults. No spoilers, but it’s a nice one (and an easy gig load).And in the shill zone, Zach talks about the importance of running a brown box for owners of older amps and talks briefly about the difference between the Brown Box and a Variac.
Is 'Fair Warning' Eddie’s Best Work?
Eddie Van Halen pushed his singular talent past its limits on this overshadowed masterpiece.
- Explore Eddie’s lesser-used approaches to two-hand tapping.
- Learn simple ways to create dramatic guitar parts.
- Make navigating complex time signatures a breeze.
New Adventures in Tapping
Eddie’s use of two-hand tapping is, of course, legendary. But on Fair Warning, he took it to some new places. He steered clear of the more-familiar tapping licks he used in “Eruption.” One new technique he employed on “Mean Street” is percussive tapping. Combining tapped notes and harmonics with percussive fretting-hand slaps, it’s akin to playing drums on guitar. In Ex. 1, tap the opening harmonic with the side of your picking-hand thumb, tapping right on top of the fret to make sure it clearly sounds. This is followed by some muted notes, which are sounded by lightly slapping the open strings with your fretting-hand fingers at about the third fret. Rest them on the strings as you slap to prevent them from ringing. The riff is punctuated by double-stops, in which both notes are tapped with the picking-hand index finger. Eddie often included his “Mean Street” intro during his live solo. (Note that while Eddie often tuned down a half-step, all examples here are in standard tuning.)
Eddie also had the ability to use tapping in a more melodic way, by slowing things down and substituting slides for the usual hammer-ons and pull-offs. In this way, tapping is more of a phrasing choice, meaning the melodies could be played in a more standard way using a pick, but tapping imbues them with some of Eddie’s singular style. For Ex. 2, fret the slides with your middle or ring finger, with the tapped notes played as usual. Eddie can be heard employing this version of tapping at the 3:02 mark of “Push Comes to Shove,” as part of one of his most moving guitar solos.
Creating Dramatic Riffs, Simply
For his rhythm parts, Eddie often used simple rock guitar techniques, but played them in slyly nuanced ways to created irresistibly catchy parts. Throughout Fair Warning, he bases riffs around open-string pull-offs, creating a “bouncing” effect which propels the riff along. But when playing Ex. 3, you won’t quite conjure all the magic unless you pay close attention to the accent marks in the music notation. Accents indicate when to play a note slightly louder, which on guitar translates to picking a bit harder. As much as Eddie’s playing features cool techniques, it’s also his grasp on how powerful these musical subtleties can be.
Eddie created another subtle effect by using partial chords extensively in his songwriting, an example of which being he would often drop the low root note from a standard root-fifth-octave power chord. Notice when playing Ex. 4 how this reduces the chords’ thickness, as they take up less sonic space. In a band setting, this allows them to sound with more clarity where the bass player has already got the low end covered. Now let’s explore how this gave Eddie room to add more magic.
A hallmark of the production of Fair Warning is Eddie’s frequent use of overdubbing, or layering of guitar parts, something he hadn’t yet explored extensively. But sometimes he simply creates the illusion of two guitars playing when it’s just one. Ex. 5 demonstrates how omitting the low root note can also facilitate playing two parts simultaneously with clarity. The key here is the execution of the palm-mute: Rest your picking-hand palm on the guitar’s bridge just enough to cover only the 6th and 5th strings. This way, the chords on the higher strings can ring freely. You can hear Eddie take a similar approach towards the end of “Mean Street.”
Playing Melodies with Style
Sometimes, however, adding an element can increase clarity. Throughout Fair Warning, Eddie plays more than a few memorable guitar melodies. To make them speak more clearly, and to give them a bit more character, he’ll often plays them simultaneously in two octaves. Doing this on guitar requires playing notes on two non-adjacent strings, which you can easily visualize by thinking of the standard three-string power chord shape with the middle string omitted. This is accomplished by lightly resting the inside of your fretting-hand index finger on that middle string, so it won’t be sounded by your pick. Ex. 6 illustrates how to create octaves in two different registers of the guitar, and Eddie used it to similar effect in “Unchained.”
In “Dirty Movies,” Eddie unexpectedly used a slide to inject a different sort of character into his guitar melodies. To ensure each note is solidly in tune, place the slide directly over the fret wire. Then the main challenge will be to prevent it from sounding any unused strings. Strings lower than the ones being played can be silenced with a well-placed palm mute. Then while holding your pick, allow your free picking-hand fingers to rest lightly on the underside of the higher strings not being played (Ex. 7). Note that accomplished slide players like Derek Trucks and Bonnie Raitt choose to instead play fingerstyle, producing a fuller, rounder tone than a pick. Either way, dialing back your guitar’s often-neglected tone knob a bit will help to tame any tonal shrillness.
Are Complex Time Signatures Really So Odd?
In its pre-chorus, the classic party anthem “Unchained” suddenly becomes a quasi-prog-rock adventure, featuring complex shifting time signatures. At the outset, this sort of thing can seem like a daunting challenge, but it’s really all how you think about it. Ex. 7 features time signatures of 6/4 and 7/4. How can we navigate these measures without pulling our hair out? Well, often these complex time signatures can be broken down into a combination of simpler ones we use every day. Let’s look at measure one, which is in 6/4. If we think of this as simply 4/4 plus 2/4, it’s more manageable. In much the same way, measure two’s 7/4 can be broken down into 4/4 plus 3/4.
While the final two songs of Fair Warning are arguably also-rans, I still can’t escape the notion that if I could only listen to one Van Halen album for the rest of time, it would be this one. Eddie’s playing seems almost supernatural, and the breadth of his creativity makes Fair Warning a triumph, album sales be damned.