I was seven years old when I realized how something legendary, something iconic, something larger than life, could so easily be destroyed at the hands of one man.
On Jan. 24, 1990, it was reported that Daryl Strawberry had an illegitimate son. Like a grand symphony of destruction, this proved the entry point to his downward spiral. Less than a month later, he was arrested for pistol-whipping his wife and was checked into rehab.
After these events, Strawberry’s life turned into a whirlwind of tax-evasion, spousal abuse, a handful of illegitimate kids, cocaine, lawsuits, prostitutes, painkillers, cancer and divorce.
Watching one of my childhood heroes blaze his way into certain obscurity was painful, but I learned from it. Nowadays, with my heroes, as soon as things start to sour, I immediately write them off my list.
Denial isn’t healthy, but allowing them to tarnish their career and destroy their previous accomplishments is just far too painful.
And that is precisely why I wrote off Queens of the Stone Age somewhere in the middle of 2002. After viewing their latest offering, “Over the Years and Through the Woods,” a concert DVD with a supplementary live CD, I’m positive that I made the right decision.
Aside from the dismal packaging, sophomore-in-graphic-design-style DVD menus and ridiculous cut scenes, the concert footage is beautifully shot and impressively edited. Filmed in 2005 at Brixton Academy in London, the current roster of QOTSA (Josh Homme on vocals and guitar, Joey Castillo on drums, Troy Van Leeuwen on guitar, Alian Johannes on bass and Natasha Shneider on the keyboard) power through songs of band’s storied career.
Opening the concert with a speedy version of 2003’s Songs for the Deaf single “Go With the Flow,” they quickly delve into “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” from 2000’s “Rated R.”
And that’s where the disappointment starts for the fans from way-back, watching this “new” version of the band play their golden oldies is damn near sacrilege: like watching your mother and father going at it, except it’s not your father, it’s some friend of your father’s trying to live up to the role.
In their defense, they’ve always had a revolving-door cast, but after losing their trademark wild-man bassist Nick Oliveri and long-time contributor Mark Lanegan, this new cast seems green and unfamiliar.
With this new cast came the new album, Lullabies to Paralyze, which was more gloss and styling than substance, a drastic change from the band’s roots.
“Over the Years and Through the Woods'” only saving grace is the bonus material, featuring raw footage of the band with their all-star cast intact. After viewing the included version of “Millionaire,” which shows a stripped-down lineup (including Dave Grohl and Oliveri), the feature footage seems limp and uninspired proof positive that Queens is losing their touch.
Through and through, this is a pretty standard concert DVD. Nothing terribly interesting, but it does support the idea that QOTSA are turning into an arena rock act. This new DVD only furthers their status as a marketable, mainstream, gloss-rock act.
I’ve lost most of my faith in this band and I really can’t see it getting any better. Even more fame and widespread success surely await them, but definitely not for the better. All it took was an illegitimate kid to start Strawberry down his road to ruin just think of what a little ego could do to this band.