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Queens of the Stone Age cancels eight shows so Josh Homme can have emergency surgery

Josh Homme in a printed vest and white T-shirt.
Josh Homme, Queens of the Stone Age‘s lead singer and guitarist, was diagnosed with cancer in 2022. This week the group canceled tour stops in Europe to have emergency surgery in the U.S.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
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Queens of the Stone Age has paused its European tour so that lead singer Josh Homme could immediately return to the U.S. for emergency surgery.

“Every effort was made to push through and play for you, but it is no longer an option to continue,” the alt-rock band said Tuesday in a post on social media, confirming the cancellation of eight additional shows this summer.

The Queens of the Stone Age frontman has recently survived cancer, the deaths of close friends and a protracted custody battle. The result? ‘A flood of emotion.’

Dec. 12, 2023

“Queens are gutted we aren’t able to play for you. We apologize for any inconvenience and share in your frustration and disappointment,” the post said.

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The band — whose other members are guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen, bassist Michael Shuman, keyboardist Dean Fertita and drummer Jon Theodore — will no longer perform at festivals in France and Slovakia this week due to the singer-guitarist’s departure. Shows in Berlin, Austria, Romania, Croatia and Greece have also been canceled, according to the announcement, which directed ticket holders to visit their respective festival websites for more information. Ticket holders for the band’s headliner shows will be contacted directly from their point of purchase, the post said.

Last Friday, the “No One Knows” and “The Way You Used to Do” band canceled its appearance at Italy’s AMA Festival “due to illness,” although it did not indicate in the announcement who had fallen ill. As of Wednesday, dates for August shows in Europe and shows in North America, which are scheduled through November, are still listed on the Queens of the Stone Age website.

A spokesperson for the group did not immediately respond Wednesday to The Times’ request for additional comment.

The Queens of the Stone Age leader gathered ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Primus’ Les Claypool, among others, and headed out to Joshua Tree for improv and mayhem.

Oct. 23, 2019

Homme, 51, who grew up and started his music career in Palm Desert, was diagnosed with cancer in 2022 but said that he had recovered after undergoing surgery. It’s unclear if his recent emergency surgery is related, as no specifics about the emergency procedure were given.

After starting the pioneering stoner-metal group Kyuss in the mid-1990s, Homme broke out in 2001 with the Queens of the Stone Age album “Rated R.” He has also played with the Eagles of Death Metal and supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, and produced albums by Iggy Pop and Arctic Monkeys, and is known for embracing the avant-garde.

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Last summer, Queens of the Stone Age released “In Times New Roman...,” its long-awaited eighth studio album. The group’s first LP in six years reflected on the tumultuous years in which Homme lost several close friends, including Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins, Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees and actor and bar owner Rio Hackford.

Homme also was embroiled in a contentious custody battle— complete with restraining orders — over his three children with his ex-wife, Brody Dalle. He and Dalle, lead singer for the Distillers, divorced in 2019 after about 15 years of marriage and amid allegations of alcoholism, drug abuse and domestic violence. Then, after completing the QOTSA album but before its June 2023 release, Homme was diagnosed with cancer.

Times pop music critic Mikael Wood contributed to this report.

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