EXCLUSIVE! We chat to Josh Homme's desert rockers at Download Festival...
Queens of the Stone Age admit they are surprised by the "weird" worldwide success of their new album …Like Clockwork.
Josh Homme's Palm Desert band are celebrating their first-ever number 1 in their native US, with their sixth studio LP topping the Billboard 200 chart.
Also critically-acclaimed, …Like Clockwork debuted at No.2 in the UK, No.1 in Australia, Portugal and Ireland and top 5 in Austria, Finland, Holland, New Zealand and Switzerland, while the vinyl edition is believed to be already one of the biggest-selling of the year.
Speaking to MTV News UK in their dressing room before hitting the Main Stage at Download Festival on Saturday, QOTSA's long-time guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen told us it's a "welcome surprise".
"It's weird. I never thought any record that I ever did would ever be number 1 on any chart, so really it's a surprise, but it's a welcome surprise and makes you feel good."
Bassist Michael 'Mikey Shoes' Shuman added: "It's my first record with the band so it feels a little unfair that I'm on the No.1, but being a fan for a long time, coming from that side, it is well deserved.
"Josh has been doing Queens since he was a wee lad and we are the best rock band out there right now."
Mikey's statement was backed by Troy, who revealed the Californian fivesome had a 'vulnerability' when making the album.
When we asked if Josh's near-death on an operating table in 2010 had affected his perspective in the studio, he said: "With Queens there's been no real set process with every record I've done, but this time there was a vulnerability about us that was never there before.
"There had always been a brave, diving in at the deep end approach but this time that was the one thing that was missing. It was more careful and we did a lot of listening to each other and examining, analysing the music.
"It was a good thing in the end, but at the time it was hard to understand."
…Like Clockwork has a diverse range of features, from Dave Grohl playing drums, to Scissor Sisters star Jake Shears singing on Keep Your Eyes Peeled, to Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner contributing to If I Had a Tail and Kalopsia.
They describe it as a "great spectrum", but their most eyebrow-raising collaboration is with Elton John, which Mikey explained was even a shock to his "big brother".
"Josh got the call from Elton out of the blue and he didn't even believe it was him. We couldn't believe it either."
Troy continued: "And now Elton is our friend, which is great. And having Dave come in to help us finish the record was the best thing a friend could ever do."
And when we asked about mysterious Liverpool artist Boneface and his amazing album artwork and videos, they fuelled rumours that his ...Like Clockwork animations are to be turned into a Quentin Tarantino-directed movie by politely declining to talk about it.
QOTSA have just announced a six date UK and Ireland arena tour for November, but in the same month they hope to be playing our MTV EMAs in Amsterdam.
"Sure, the EMAs would be fun," said Mikey.
Troy added: "We like to play music, so if you wanna film us we'd do it."