Queens of the Stone Age guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen recently detailed having a motorcycle accident and suffering a broken bone, and somehow finding a way to still tour.
Troy told No Guitar Is Safe, “So, for me, I was a Les Paul guy forever, ES-135 Gibson hollow-body was sort of my other go-to for many years. I’m using the example for how different these guitars can be because they are different instruments, they really are – they sound different, they feel different.
I like to have versatility, and I like grabbing guitars that would make me play differently. So literally, I was nearing the end of the tour cycle with Queens – it was like 2011 or something – and we had this big festival run at the end of a long tour. And literally three weeks before that festival run, I got into a motorcycle accident, I broke my collar bone – the strap side – so I had to really scramble…
Because I didn’t want to cancel the tour – that’s how I make my living, plus I love playing festivals. It’s like you’re letting down your friends too, in the case of Queens. I mean, I don’t want to let everyone down in the band, we have a great relationship, so I figured I would try some different things, and I already had a ’62 reissue Jazzmaster.
I got this, it was like a saxophone strap almost, it went on both sides – I found that kind of a strap, and there was no way I was gonna play my Les Paul. I was like, ‘This is gonna break, it’s gonna hurt really bad.’ So the way that this guitar is balanced and the weight of it, it’s not like a really light guitar, but it’s definitely lighter than Les Paul.
It just seemed to sit really nicely on my right shoulder more than my left shoulder in that situation, so that’s kind of how I was forced to try something different. So I did, and I got through the tour, and I had basically had my elbow against my ribcage playing like this, so this wouldn’t hurt. And of course, having painkillers helped a lot as well.
I got through the tour unscathed, I guess, so it was really that moment when I was like, ‘You know, I can get everything I need out of this guitar.’ And so the versatility of it was really where I was going, ‘Oh my gosh.’ It’s kind of opening up a new chapter in my playing because not only was the sound of the band kind of morphing into a new sound.
I was kind of changing as well, so it started becoming the guitar that I grabbed most of the time because I could get a lot out of it. When you’re inspired, you’re not like, ‘OK, let me just grab the SG and the AC30.’ It’s more like, ‘No, I know what this does. Right now, I can get three different tones out of it that are really unique.’
Plus it’s got this floating tremolo, it’s probably the best ever designed. It never really goes out of tune for me, so the versatility is what I would say. If you’ve never played a Jazzmaster, you can get the wiriest Strat-y single-coil sound, and then you can get the woofiest, sort of like Cream-y solo tone in the bass circuit with the same guitar.” Ultimate-Guitar transcribed Troy’s comments.
kwack250 recently posted on the QOTSA Reddit looking back at Troy’s first show with the band, “Only very recently became appreciative of Troy’s effort and contributions within the band. Mans a hero dressed as a kick ass villain and I love it.”