“Some nights, that’s magical. Other nights, it’s terrifying” Josh Homme on Kyuss’ legendary generator parties

“By today’s standards, it would be downright illegal, and outrageous.”

Josh Homme

Image: Jim Dyson / Getty Images

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Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme has looked back on the infamous generator parties his first band Kyuss used to stage and how things can get “terrifying” at times.

For the uninitiated, generator parties were legendary impromptu concerts held in the remote California desert during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Those gigs played a pivotal role in defining the desert rock scene, and—as the name suggests—were typically powered by gasoline generators. With attendees often fueled by a cocktail of alcohol, drugs, and the lawlessness of the desert, those parties were often as dangerous as they were exciting, with the outbreak of violence a common theme.

Speaking in a new interview with Tom Power, Homme noted how attending his first T.S.O.L. gig had evoked memories of those very parties.

“The first time I saw T.S.O.L., it was brutal and terrifying,” he said [via Ultimate Guitar]. “It was at the Palm Springs, waterpark, and it was the dichotomy of going to a place of joy by day, and at night, it was so unpredictable. I grew up playing that way. We would take a generator into the desert and play in order to get away from the police busting up house parties.”

“You don’t realise at first, that, when you are away from the police and any adult authority as a teenager, what you’re doing is lawless and out of control. And some nights, that’s magical. Other nights, it’s terrifying.”

According to Homme, the scariest part of that is growing up in a world “where physical violence was completely normal”.

“It was so commonplace that the fight would break out, and people would put their arms out and say, ‘Back up, let him finish.’ Which, if you really think about what that means, it’s a terrifying way to spend a Friday [night], and then Saturday, the next day. I think it sort of gives you an unfair, incorrect vision of what being a man is; that there’s a brutality attached to it.”

“I do think there is a brutality attached to being a man, but I don’t think it should be at the forefront of how you identify yourself as a man,” Homme adds. “Queens and Kyuss, that world was really unpredictable. By today’s standards, it would be downright illegal, and outrageous.”

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