Queens of the Stone Age shredded their way through Breese Stevens Field on Tuesday night, playing a short but sweet set full of fan favorites both new and old.
But one of the night’s real highlights was a bizarre anecdote from frontman Josh Homme.
As he tells it, when Homme was a fresh-faced 18-year-old and Queens was touring with Ween, he tended bar at O’Cayz Corral, the beloved late Madison venue and High Noon Saloon precursor. Oh, and he also claimed that he wrote “No One Knows,” his best known song, in Madison.
Given the specificity of his story — why else would Homme, a California native, bring up something about a Wisconsin venue that was destroyed by fire in 2001 — we decided to dig a bit deeper.
In an email today, former O’Cayz and High Noon owner Cathy Dethmers, certainly an authority on this sort of thing, cast suspicion on certain elements of Homme’s story.
“He did not actually tend bar at O’Cayz, though he asked me if he could serve some drinks the night of their show,” says Dethmers, who attended Tuesday’s show. “But all I remember is I said ‘no’ but then let him pour shots for the staff and the bands after the show was over.”
“Also, he was not 18 in 1999,” she added.
Queens of the Stone Age and Ween played O’Cayz Corral on Feb. 6, 1999, meaning Homme would have been 25 (he was born May 17, 1973). Dethmers says he did play Madison at 18, though, with his old band, Kyuss. “Maybe he is confusing his Madison memories?”
As for “No One Knows,” she can’t confirm or deny the Madison roots of Songs for the Deaf’s lead single.
“I have no idea if he wrote ‘No One Knows’ here,” Dethmers says, “but it’s plausible to me. Wikipedia has a quote from him saying he wrote the song long before it ended up on [their 2002] record, and their O’Cayz show was in February 1999.”
I, for one, want to believe.