After news of Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme kicking photographer Chelsea Lauren on Saturday at the Forum in Los Angeles, Homme has been dealing with a major backlash from the public, including the cancellation of two segments he filmed for the BBC. This has led to some speculation about if this could set back or even end his career. It is close to impossible that Homme could be fired from QOTSA as it is his band, but fans have brought up Homme’s 2004 firing of bassist Nick Oliveri and his reasoning behind it as a possible reason to call for Homme’s head.
Josh Homme said in a 2005 interview that he ordered Nick Oliveri to leave the band after he independently confirmed Oliveri had been physically abusive to his girlfriend.
“A couple years ago, I spoke to Nick about a rumor I heard,” Homme recalled. “I said, ‘If I ever find out that this is true, I can’t know you, man.’ Because music and my life are the same thing, there’s no rules until something massive happens. [Nick] was over here [in England] with [QOTSA vocalist Mark] Lanegan and something happened again, and he almost didn’t make it out of the country. That’s not music anymore.”
Homme said he would reject pleas from QOTSA fans to give Oliveri a second chance. “They don’t understand what it’s like to just sit there and feel helpless,” he said. “When you have your chance to make your statement, which for me was firing Nick, that’s what I did.”
Homme was also involved in a brawl over Oliveri’s firing in November 2004 in Los Angeles with Dwarves singer Blag Dahlia, a close friend of the former QOTSA bassist.
“If you’re trying to be good about something and everybody else around you isn’t, what do you do?,” Homme said. “Do you fight fire with fire or sit there and burn?”
Oliveri later returned years later for guest studio appearances, and a big 2014 reunion performance at ironically enough, the Forum in Los Angeles.
Despite the seemingly buried hatchet, Oliveri told Hot Press in 2015 that a permanent QOTSA reunion probably wouldn’t occur, and his answer also explained Homme’s contractual control over the band. “I figured out the reason why there probably won’t be a reunion of Queens is that I own 47 percent of the name,” says Oliveri. “Why would you let somebody come back that had that? I’d have to sign away that 47 percent and I’d be a hired gun. I really don’t want to be a hired gun just to be in the band again. But I’d like to do a record with Josh one day, whether it’s Queens or something else. Just to work with him again would be great.”
It’s tough to create a moral equivalency between the type of violent behavior Oliveri was accused of by Homme in 2004, and Homme kicking photographer Chelsea Lauren from the stage. They are very different acts, though that does not excuse Homme’s behavior at all. Do you think Homme should be forced to disband Queens of the Stone Age and lose his job like Oliveri did in 2004, or should people be able to forgive him in time? Alternative Nation thinks we’ll see Homme back in action sooner rather than later if he takes the proper steps to make amends. Let us known in the comments section.