Stupid Questions

Josh Homme Talks Elton, Ellipses, And Crème Brûlée

To promote their new album ''...Like Clockwork,'' the Queens of the Stone Age mastermind, 40, answers our rude, impertinent, and misinformed queries.

How do you actually pronounce your last name? It's not like a wussy Frenchman, right?
It's HAW-mee. The French way would be the natural way to do it. But if you're Norwegian, it would be hoo-MAY, which means ''stone outcropping that protects you from inclement weather.'' The cavemen and their woolly mammoths had hoo-MAY, and then the mammoths died and it's hoo-MEE, and then it's HAW-mee somewhere in North Dakota where my family is from.

Why is there an ellipsis in your album title?
That's what it's called! Ellipsis. I was asking the other day, ''Doesn't three dots have a name?'' I think it's the end of each sentence we had while making the record. There's a whole previous dialogue, and the end is ''...goes like clockwork.''

Is Elton John on the record just so you could keep the word ''Queens'' in your name?
Much like bacon is the gateway meat for vegetarians to become nonvegetarians, I like to think Queens of the Stone Age is the gateway to being open-minded and also not PC at the same time.

Trent Reznor is also on your new one. When you get together, do you compare your favorite protein powders and arm-curl techniques?
No, we actually talk about the fact that we have the same birthday [both were born on May 17, though Homme is eight years younger], and then we argue about who is going to blow out whose candles first. This year the jury's still out. I know we both blew as hard as we could.

The Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears and Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner both appear on Clockwork. Which one would win in a fight?
A Scissor Sister, of course. Though you're not supposed to run with one.<

Let's move on to your Dessert Sessions side-project albums, which have roped in dozens of your fellow rock stars over the past 15 years. So what's your crazy obsession with sweets?
Desert. It's Desert Sessions. For a guy who knew what an ellipsis was, you sure need to read more. I think of myself as the crème brûlée of cheesecake.

Ah, so what's your desert advice for city folk?
Don't drink in the day. It's a social faux pas. Drink at night, and then just stand there in the day and breathe really hard.

Originally posted Jun 12, 2013 Published in issue #1264 Jun 21, 2013 Order article reprints