And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #175: Josh Homme v Jay-Z

By | Published on Friday 20 September 2013

Josh Homme

Back at the end of August/beginning of September (Labor Day weekend, as people in the US would probably call it), Budweiser’s Jay-Z-curated Made In America festival took place. Headlined by Beyonce and Nine Inch Nails (the dream team), it also featured the likes of Calvin Harris, Phoenix and Queens Of The Stone Age.

Jay-Z himself didn’t perform. For one, he’d already got the wife to handle all that performing business. Also, he was too busy ensuring that everyone had a shit time. Or so says QOTSA frontman Josh Homme.

Speaking to ‘The Strombo Show’ on Canadian radio station CBC Radio 2 on Sunday, while explaining that his band remain outsiders in the music world, Homme said: “We go play festivals [where] really we don’t belong … Like Made In America with Jay-Z. That guy’s a kook, you know? He has security, like, frisking the bands on the way in… no one’s ever done that [before]”.

Yes, he called Jay-Z a kook. What a brilliant thing to call someone in anger. Like when a guy at my school screamed, “Oh, you STRUMPET!” at a girl who’d tripped him up. Great days.

Anyway, if you’re thinking that Josh Homme isn’t the kind of guy who would take a frisking where he didn’t feel it absolutely necessary, you would be correct. Or so he claims. He went on: “I just told em, ‘If you open up my bag, I’m not playing. So I guess it’s up to you now to decide whether I’m playing or not’. They were just some rented dudes who were probably watching the trash area at the movie theatre before”.

He continued: “I just put my bag up there. I said, ‘Why don’t you figure out what you’re gonna do? Yeah? Cos I can’t stay here much longer. In fact, 20… 19…’ I counted it down and then I took my bag and left. But the idea that they frisked all my guys means you’re in some different place where you’re, like, pfft, I don’t get this, you know?”

From anyone else I’d suspect that story was actually more bravado, but Josh Homme does seem like the kind of guy who might actually talk to people like that. And, to be fair, it does seem a little bit over the top to basically say to a musician “Hey, why don’t you come and play our heavily-branded festival and help us sell more beer? But by the way, we don’t trust you, at all”. I mean, that’s not going to put people in a great frame of mind to put on their best performance, or to big-up your beer.

Or your champagne. Because while the event was mainly about selling Budweiser, Jay-Z was also apparently wandering backstage with bottles of champagne, photographing celebs drinking it. It’s not clear, but that may well have been Armand De Brignac champagne, with which Jay-Z also has an alliance.

Either way, Homme finished his Jay-Z rant by saying: “He also gave us some champagne and then wanted us to take a picture with him. I was like, that’s not a gift, that’s a marketing tool. I destroyed it, because I thought it was rude overall. And you shouldn’t frisk my guys; you should fuck off”.

Oh, now. There’s no need for language like that Josh. I much preferred “kook”.

Anyway, you can listen to this radio show in full below. The Jay-Z ranting begins about an hour and 55 minutes in. Though, given I just transcribed the whole thing for you, I’m not sure why you’d need to hear it for yourself. What, you don’t trust me? You’ll be asking to search my bag next. Bottles of champagne to the usual address, by the way.