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The desolate California desert during the late 80s and early 90s wasn’t just a backdrop for stunning landscapes. It was the breeding ground for a revolutionary music scene and a wild party culture powered by gasoline generators – literally.

Josh Homme, frontman of Queens of the Stone Age, recently reminisced about these legendary “generator parties” thrown by his early band Kyuss in an interview with Q by Tom Power. While acknowledging the electrifying atmosphere, Homme doesn’t shy away from the darker side. Fueled by a potent mix of music, youthful rebellion, and the wide-open desert, these gatherings could erupt into violence as quickly as they ignited.

“The first time I saw T.S.O.L., it was brutal and terrifying,” Homme recalled. “It was at the Palm Springs, waterpark, and it was the dichotomy of going to a place of joy by day, and at night, it was so unpredictable. I grew up playing that way. We would take a generator into the desert and play in order to get away from the police busting up house parties.”

Homme admits the lack of authority initially felt liberating: “You don’t realise at first, that, when you are away from the police and any adult authority as a teenager, what you’re doing is lawless and out of control. And some nights, that’s magical. Other nights, it’s terrifying.”

The scariest aspect, according to Homme, was the normalization of violence: “It was so commonplace that the fight would break out, and people would put their arms out and say, ‘Back up, let him finish.’ Which, if you really think about what that means, it’s a terrifying way to spend a Friday night, and then Saturday, the next day. I think it sort of gives you an unfair, incorrect vision of what being a man is; that there’s a brutality attached to it.”

Homme also acknowledged a certain rawness to that era, but emphasizes a healthier definition of masculinity: “I do think there is a brutality attached to being a man, but I don’t think it should be at the forefront of how you identify yourself as a man. Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss, that world was really unpredictable. By today’s standards, it would be downright illegal, and outrageous.”

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