Why Josh Homme Fired Nick Oliveri From Queens Of The Stone Age
Even though a member might be highly crucial for the band, some decisions still need to be made. Whether it’s because of their lack of contribution, personal issues affecting the band’s progress, or tensions within the group, the only solution sometimes becomes firing a band member who is a pivotal figure in their career.
For instance, Stone Temple Pilots fired Scott Weiland due to his drug abuse, Pink Floyd let Syd Barrett go for the same reasons, and Black Sabbath parted ways with Ozzy Osbourne due to his drug and alcohol-related issues. In 2004, Josh Homme also had to fire his close friend Nick Oliveri from Queens Of The Stone Age, although he was unwilling to do so.
Nick Oliveri Gave Josh Homme Many Reasons For His Firing
In August 2002, Queens Of The Stone Age released their album titled ‘Songs For The Deaf.’ The album ended up being a critical success after its release, and its singles ‘No One Knows’ and ‘Go With The Flow’ became radio hits. After that, QOTSA decided to go on a tour to promote the album. Although the tour went pretty well, Josh Homme decided to fire Nick Oliveri after its conclusion.
Later, it turned out that Josh Homme made this decision because Oliveri physically abused his girlfriend. Speaking to Billboard about firing his long-time friend in 2005, Homme said that he approached Oliveri about this rumor and told him he didn’t recognize the man standing in front of him if the words were true. Moreover, the singer also argued that music and life are the same things for him, and he made his statement against this issue by firing Oliveri.
In 2005, Josh Homme told Billboard the following about firing Nick Oliveri:
“A couple of years ago, I spoke to Nick about a rumor I heard. I said, ‘If I ever find out this is true, I can’t know you, man.’ Because music and my life are the same things, there are no rules until something massive happens. Nick was over here in England with Mark Lanegan, and something happened again, and he almost didn’t make it out of the country. That’s not music anymore.”
He then continued:
“They don’t understand what it’s like to sit there and feel helpless. When you have your chance to make your statement, which for me was firing Nick, that’s what I did.”
After that, Homme made another statement about the same issue in a now-inaccessible interview with VH1. He stated that he still loved Nick and that Nick had a vital place in QOTSA. However, Nick’s actions became violent, and seeing him throw bottles at the audience out of anger was the final straw.
As reported by Ultimate Guitar, Josh Homme told VH1 the following:
“It feels almost like my kid went to jail, or I got out of jail. I can’t tell which one. I still love the guy, man. And Nick had a vital spot in the band. Nick has great energy. He scares people, I guess. He doesn’t even know why I kicked him out. In the press, he admitted he threw bottles into the audience, but he’s saying, ‘I do it for the fans. Isn’t that what they want?’
But what Nick did was come up to me between the first and second song and say, ‘This audience isn’t good enough? They’re sh**,’ and then he threw full bottles of Corona at them, like a baseball pitcher. Is that for the fans? That’s not my style. I get drunk with the fans. I don’t throw bottles at them.”
So, although Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri were long-time friends, and the latter was an important figure in Queens Of The Stone Age, his violent actions and physically abusing his girlfriend were red flags for Homme. The pair are still friends, and Oliveri contributed to the band’s album ‘…Like Clockwork’ nine years after his departure.