This Week in Vinyl: Queens of the Stone Age – Songs for the Deaf

K-L-O-N Los Angeles, KLON Radio
We play the songs that sound more like everyone else than anyone else.

Hey, alright, it’s Kip Kasper KLON Radio, LA’s infinite repeat How we feelin’ out there?
How’s your drive time commute?
I need a saga. What’s the saga?
It’s Songs for the Deaf.

You can’t even hear it

The breakout 2002 release Songs For the Deaf from Queens of the Stone Age. This 2019 VMP pressing on dark red cloud vinyl is the only Queens record featuring Dave Grohl on drums and would be the last for Nick Oliveri and Mark Lanegan as a full time members of the band. Lanegan is responsible for vocals on Song for the Dead, Hangin Tree and God is in the Radio. The harmonies created between Lanegan and Homme are nothing less than flawless. His distinctive vocal style adds so much grit and depth to this would be drive through the desert.

This record is relentless. Leaving only enough space to breathe while flipping sides. If we didn’t need Dave (we’re on a first name basis, you know) (No, we’re not) in the Foos I’d say he should have become a permanent fixture in Queens. Is there a better drummer in rock? We can debate that later. Suffice to say, the line up on display here is nothing short of magic. I can mostly live without Nick Oliveri’s vocals, the exception here is I’m Gonna Leave You. Much like Autopilot off Rated R, when he sings, not screams, the result is something that reminds me of Mitch Mitchell singing with the Experience back in the 60’s. It’s fantastic. That said, his contribution on bass completes what becomes a locked tight rhythm section.

On the three vocalist format, I’m not sold. Not these three vocalists in particular, just the format in general. It seems to lack continuity, but perhaps that was the point. I find myself wanting to hear more from Homme. To be fair, that’s listening with ears that have heard what he’ll do in the next twenty years.

There are so many high points on these two LPs it’s hard to choose a standout. As I listen to Mosquito Song close us out, I love it’s stark difference from literally every track. It’s as though the lunatic at the wheel finally takes his foot off the gas and allows you to breath. Accordions, 12 string acoustic, violin, piano and horns. It’s like listening to another album. It’s almost, soothing. Technically Song for the Deaf is the last on the record, but this hidden bonus track is a brilliant closer.

You’re listening to W.A.N.T, the high desert wonder valley favorite radio station. S’been a good night. Dave Catching here, not saying goodnight, just saying.


  1. I think this follows with our discussion from your last post, but I’ve come to really appreciate Grohl’s abilities as I’ve aged/matured (mostly against my will). I was not a Nirvana fan (which is where I heard of him) and wasn’t really willing to give them a fair shake. I’m still not a fan, but time has given me perspective on the group; and I think I’m more willing to cut ’em some slack. I wasn’t really into the alternative/grunge scene at all, being more of a metalhead (Megadeth, Savatage).

    In any event his abilities are impressive and I have to give the guy credit where it’s due.

  2. Just gave this a listen… I recognized “No One Knows” (I know the song, but didn’t know who it was/what it was called).

    I thought the intro to “The Sky is Fallin'” had a bit of a Pink Floyd Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun Vibe.

    I’ll check it out again; thanks for the recommendation.

  3. I too, am not really a nirvana fan. I respect what they did and what they became but I never really connected to their music. They undeniably had some inspired moments. Songs I’ll still listen to now, but I don’t seek them out as much.

    It was really listening to Dave Grohl talk about making music that got me to listen to him playing. Which got me into the Foos, then discover Them Crooked Vultures and then Queens. His approach here is noticeably different than others who have sat behind the kit for Queens. Maybe better, maybe not. You could make an argument that with the changes to the lineup over the next couple records, he might not have been the right choice. It would be a hard argument to make, but I’d listen. Getting the right rhythm section can make or break a band. You can feel when they’re not together. Oliveri and Grohl are locked in here.

    I absolutely love God Is In The Radio. It’s the song that brought me into this record. I hear your comparison to Pink Floyd in The Sky is Fallin. It’s actually this song and My God is the Sun that got me obsessed with writing rock tunes in 3/4 time. Totally obsessed. Much to my bandmates dismay.

  4. (First, long time no see, hope you’re good)

    Been reading through your stuff as I, in liquidating the MASSIVE amount of stuff Dad had, have started selling a bunch of antique vinyl and old shellac 78s. Your stuff is helpful.

    This is complicated. There is a lot of lingo. May I ask stupid questions if they come up?

    1. Thanks man. We had some stuff this year and writing got put aside for a bit. I’ve been getting back to it now that things have settled down. We’re good. Thanks for asking. I actually just reached out to our old Greek friend and The Wookie as I’m playing one of our favorite bars in the city in a couple weeks. Seemed like a good reason to reconnect.

      Please ask questions anytime. I’m learning all the time about vinyl collecting and maintenance. Not to mention the importance of the quality of one’s sound system. An audiofile I am not, but I have friends who are. They’ve been very helpful. Mostly at spending my money.

      What was your dad listening to?

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