Interview: Troy Van Leeuwen and the New Queens of the Stone Age Reverb Shop

Queens of the Stone Age are teasing a lot of action for 2017. Hours before announcing a slate of July shows in New Zealand and Australia, the band released a cryptic post through social media of what could be new album art bearing the words “COMING TWENTYFIVE.”

When pressed for more information on the record, frontman Josh Homme offered only two morsels: there would be no guest stars, and the world could expect a single before the Australian dates.

While we all wait for more transmissions from the QOTSA camp, Reverb is pleased to announce the Queens of the Stone Age Reverb Shop being run through Techno Empire — the same operation that brought the late Jerry Finn's gear to the masses.

In anticipation of its debut, we had the opportunity to talk with multi–instrumentalist Troy Van Leeuwen — the longest–serving QOTSA member next to Homme — whose influence is heard across the past decade and a half of the band’s fuzzy, sneering discography.

Over the years and through the woods, Troy has rifled through a warehouse of amps, guitars, pedals, and more in his live and studio setups. This shop brings you a curated collection of gear personally owned and used by the man in white shoes himself.

Troy talked us through the history of the gear featured in the band's shop, why he loves his Jazzmaster, and his favorite fuzz of the moment.

What motivated you to sell all of this gear?

I wanted to let go of a few things that I have doubles of to make some room for new stuff.

I saw a rack with a note about it being your rig from early A Perfect Circle days. Any specific tours you used that stuff — SansAmp, Marshall power amp — on?

Marshall 1960A cab owned by Troy Van Leeuwen

The A Perfect Circle/QOTSA racks, along with the Marshall 4x12 cab were used on tour between 2000 and 2004. Mer De Norms, Songs for the Deaf, Hooray for Dark Matter, and Mark Lanegan’s Here Comes That Weird Chill were the tour cycles.

The SansAmp was a studio piece that I’ve had forever. The Mesa Boogie power amp and Marshall JMP 1 were originally used in my Failure rig in 1996 for the “Fantastic Planet” tour. I used those pieces all of the way up to recording the Gone Is Gone EP in 2013.

I see a couple of cool tape machines on the list. Do you guys record your rehearsals to tape, or did you use them more as outboard preamps?

The old tape machines were used mainly to add some old school color to recordings. The Sony has speakers, so occasionally I’d use it for a stereo guitar amp in low volume situations.

Any other stories about where some of this stuff was used?

Guyatone Tube Drive Reverb owned by Troy Van Leeuwen

The TC Electronics G–Force was in every touring rig from APC to Sweethead. I never left home without it. The Guyatone Spring reverb was my reverb on the Lullabies to Paralyze tour in 2005 and was later used mainly in the studio on a number of QOTSA and Sweethead recordings.

What’s your favorite fuzz pedal (new or vintage) at the moment?

I know this may sound a bit biased, but I collaborated with Dr. No Effects and we came up with a really cool fuzz pedal. I call it the “Heart of Darkness” Octavia Fuzz. It’s my new favorite fuzz pedal.

Do you dig your Jazzmaster more for how it feels or for how it integrates with pedals, amps, and the band?

My Jazzmaster is the most versatile guitar that I have. I can get almost any tone out of it. It’s very expressive with pedals, as well. I use it for every project I’m involved in.

What’s the one piece of gear you’ve sold that you wish you had held onto?

I usually don’t sell gear, but I’ve had a few items stolen. A Roger McGuinn signature 12–string Rickenbacker and a ‘71 Gibson SG Pro with P90s.

What can we expect from the new record? We’re all waiting with bated breath.

Expect to be surprised. I always am. Cheers!

The QOTSA Reverb Shop will go live on April 21st. Sign up for email alerts above to be the first to know what time.

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