The Desert Sessions
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The Desert Sessions
|Origin||Palm Desert, California, U.S.|
The Desert Sessions are a musical collective series, founded by Josh Homme in 1997. Artists such as Brant Bjork, PJ Harvey, Jeordie White (a.k.a. Twiggy Ramirez), Dave Catching, Nick Oliveri, Mark Lanegan, John McBain, Ben Shepherd, Josh Freese, Chris Goss, Alain Johannes, Troy Van Leeuwen, Dean Ween, and many others from the Palm Desert Scene have contributed as songwriters and musicians.
The Desert Sessions began in August 1997 at the Rancho De La Luna in Joshua Tree when Josh Homme brought together musicians from the bands Monster Magnet, Goatsnake, earthlings?, Kyuss (his own band, which had split in 1995), and Soundgarden. The ranch is an old house filled with rare and unique recording equipment and instruments and was owned by Dave Catching and the late Fred Drake. Songs are written "on the spot", often in a matter of hours. Many stories have grown around the Sessions. For example, the song "Creosote" from Volumes 9 & 10 was written by Dean Ween and Alain Johannes on the ranch's front porch within four minutes of meeting each other. Similarly, Chris Goss and PJ Harvey wrote the song "There Will Never Be A Better Time" for I See You Hearin' Me after going out onto the porch of the ranch for four minutes with an acoustic guitar; they re-entered the house and recorded the song in one take, the only time the song was ever played by the collective.
The first Desert Session was not actually a "session" per se, but Homme and his band at the time (The Acquitted Felons) playing for three days straight on psychedelic mushrooms. Since then, the Desert Sessions have become legendary, growing in intensity and artistic merit. Homme said:
At Desert Sessions, you play for the sake of music. That's why it's good for musicians. If someday that's not enough anymore, or that's not the reason behind you doing it—that's not your raison d'être—then a quick reminder like Desert Sessions can do so much for you, it's amazing. It's easy to forget that this all starts from playing in your garage and loving it.
The Desert Sessions have only performed live twice. The live incarnation, which included Joey Castillo, Troy Van Leeuwen, Brian O'Connor, and Homme, as well as a variety of musicians performing different songs, have performed on an episode of the British music television show Later... with Jools Holland as well as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2004.
After 11 years of inactivity, Homme revealed in October 2014 that he would start working on more Desert Sessions material the following year. However, things remained silent until May 2019, when Homme posted an image on Instagram with the hashtags "#Desert, #Sessions, #11, #12". In August 2019, Matt Berry confirmed in an interview that he is involved with new Desert Sessions. In September 2019, Desert Sessions Volumes 11 & 12 were officially announced, along with a comedic promo video featuring Homme and Liam Lynch. The promo includes Homme running through some of the featured artists such as Billy Gibbons, Les Claypool, and Jake Shears. A joke entry for a fictional album called Toornst Hulpft and Lapland's Grand Handstand Band, in reference to one of Homme's alter-egos on the album, was submitted to Discogs two days after the album was announced, but was removed from the site three days after being submitted. The entry claimed an October 28, 1972 release date for the album. Volumes 11 & 12 was released on October 25, 2019.
There's nothing going on [now]. I wish, but I've run out of time. I'm talking to this one guy about adding four more hours to each day, but he's not real positive about it. Those are never going to end, because there's no reason for them to end. But I'd like to make them more regular. – Josh Homme interview with Billboard.com, April 13, 2007
The Desert Sessions are gonna go on forever. There's no reason to stop them. No, it wasn't me that said there would be only 12 volumes—I'm gonna do 112! It's just a mix tape—the longest-running mix tape in existence. It's awesome: doing them is just a matter of making the time frame come together. I was really wanting to do one before the new album "Era Vulgaris" came out, but we didn't put a time frame on it and it consumed what would have been that time. I didn't want it to take away from what we were doing. – Josh Homme in May 2007 as recorded by Blabbermouth.net.
In a 2007 interview with Rockline, Homme stated that he was going to be working on a new Desert Sessions album in December 2007 and the first ten will be re-released as a box set, however more years passed since any activity happened.
In 2019, the first time new Desert Sessions were released in sixteen years, Homme commented on the delay: "Because Desert Sessions works best at a certain time of the year, when everything slows and everyone takes a deep breath out. At the end of the year, in that December-January timeframe, everyone has exhaled. And post-exhale is the time to do something like that. So if I miss that window… I miss that window." .
- Credited as "Töôrnst Hülpft" on track 2 of Volume 12
- Blandford, James (2004). PJ Harvey: Siren Rising. London: Omnibus Press. p. 153. ISBN 1-84449-433-0.
- Appleford, Steve (22 October 2014). "Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme Is Our Last Real Rock Star". laweekly.com. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- Reznor Guest Spot Adds Mystery To QOTSA Album, Billboard.com, April 13, 2007
- "Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme Rules Out KYUSS Reunion". Blabbermouth.net. 2007-05-08. Archived from the original on 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2007-05-08.
- Coburn, Bob; Josh Homme; Troy Van Leeuwen (2007-07-30). "Queens new material". Rockline radio. Archived from the original (radio interview) on 2017-06-20. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
- "Josh Homme teases new Desert Sessions project". nme.com. 2019-05-03. Archived from the original on 2019-10-26. Retrieved 2019-10-26.