When it comes to rock stars, few come bigger than Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, who recently joined us at BIMM Dublin for one of our most hotly-anticipated masterclasses ever.
To call Homme’s appearance a coup would be an understatement; after years on our wish list, we finally secured him for a very special Q&A, ahead of QOTSA’s sold-out show at the 3Arena.
The enigmatic rocker and producer, who has scored four top ten albums in Ireland alone, delivered an inspiring talk to a group of star-struck BIMM Dublin students, alongside our host – RTÉ 2fm alt-rock and metal DJ, Dan Hegarty.
Our audience hung on to Homme’s every word, as the long-time Dave Grohl and Iggy Pop collaborator discussed his songwriting process, the importance of honesty and the need to take risks as a songwriter and an artist – “Risk nothing, get nothing”.
Homme, whose credits as a producer extend to Arctic Monkeys and Biffy Clyro, also encouraged students to be honest in their songwriting: “It really needs to be a diary of your life… I’d rather make it as honest as humanly possible.”
The Eagles of Death Metal drummer and Them Crooked Vultures frontman answered questions from our crowd of talented musicians. Responding to one student who asked about Homme how he perceives his artistic self, he said:
“The goal has always been to agitate… I want to represent something beautifully deranged and damn near god awful.” As for his attitude to experimentation, Homme spoke of transcending genres in music. “If you have a great pan flute song, play that mother****er,” he quipped, before giving his advice on the need to write from different perspectives, viewpoints and emotions – not just from anger.
“You can’t write from anger alone because no one would want to be around that,” he added. “Sometimes I don’t have the words, so I just play my way out of something.”
Reflecting on the masterclass, Rosaleen Timmon, a BA3 Vocals student at BIMM Dublin, said: “I thought it was absolutely brilliant! Josh made some excellent points, speaking about what’s happening now in your life and how all of his music is basically a diary of himself.”
Echoing her words, Stuart Doyle (BA3 Guitar), added: “It was remarkable! His honesty and his integrity came across very well… He’s very forthright and very to the point.”
BIMM Dublin’s Head of Events, Ann Marie Shields who made this visit happen said: “Everyone was thrilled, it was really special for all of us. Josh is such a funny and inspiring guy. He told humorous and insightful stories and gave wonderful advice and encouragement to our students. Later that evening I went to the show which was awesome!”
BIMM Dublin’s College Principal, Alan Cullivan, added: “It was fantastic to have Josh here in BIMM Institute Dublin. He is one of those artists that has had a considerable influence on many of our students as a songwriter, guitarist, vocalist and performer. For our students to have the opportunity to communicate directly with Josh and garner knowledge from him that will potentially help them throughout their careers, is priceless.”
Many of us know Josh Homme as a laid-back, slick-talking rockstar, and he more than lived up to that reputation. But despite his stature as being the frontman of one of the world’s biggest rock bands, Homme was also warm and down to earth. Leaving the stage, he wished our BIMM Dublin students well and said: “I hear what everyone’s doing, and I’m stoked for you, so I wish you all the best of luck and thanks for having me.”
Homme joins our ‘guest hall of fame’, alongside such names as The Edge, Bob Geldof, Michael Eavis, and just last week, Hozier. His words were encouraging and opened our students’ eyes to the experiences, work and writing processes of one of rock’s most celebrated visionaries.
Photography by Ruthless Imagery