Throwback Thursday – Them Crooked Vultures

Album Cover

This week we’re taking a little departure from the usual 70’s Music Fare. Old fart that I am, I don’t keep track of new music as probably I should. Current bands and musicians I know about often were favorites of my kids, like Green Day. A few others like Lindsey Stirling I happened to discover on my own. All that without listening to radio or watching TV. Imagine that!

Of course, I know about Dave Grohl, a multi-instrumentalist from The Foo Fighters, who also played in Nirvana. Also I know Queens of the Stone Age’s Joshua Homme who also played with Kyuss. And who hasn’t heard of the legendary bassist from Led Zeppelin, John Paul Jones? I suppose the latter can be my tie in to the 70’s for this weeks Throwback Thursday’s look at 2009’s debut album for a super group called Them Crooked Vultures. Note, Alain Johannes (Queens of The Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys) plays guitar with the band for live performances.


Because of my interest in the other work of the groups’ members I gave the album a listen. If you are looking for something like anything these guys have done previously, this is probably not it. Though the music has some hints of past influences, it pretty much stands out and stands alone as uniquely experimental, but that’s okay by me. In this age of carbon-copy, formula music that pretty much rehashes the trash of the recent past, freshness is a reward.

It is a album in a classic sense, a compilation of collaborative work with Grohl playing drums, Homme playing guitar and Jones playing bass. Pretty basic stuff. But what emerges at times reminds me of Cream from the late 60’s but at other times is cutting edge like the work of The Zep was in the 70’s, Nirvana was in the 90’s and Queens’ is in the beginning of this century. It’s kind of like you take the experiences of each these three talented musicians throw it into a blender and what comes out is a complete taste surprise. It’s a little bit like…and it sort of reminds you…but it is so very different that you’re immediately drawn in and pretty-much hooked.

I’ve listened to it several times now over the past few days and can’t wait for the often rumored follow up album. Supposedly the members want to do it but haven’t managed squeezing in the project. With their individual schedules and commitments, this debut effort was rumored to be in the works for many years prior to its 2009 release. But there’s always hope, right?

Still, what’s here can be listened to repeatedly and exploring and enjoying every nuance doesn’t get old. The production and engineering of the recording is exceptional giving it the raw, edgy feel of being in the studio with the musicians as they record it, having a live ambiance at times the belies the multiple tracks that were blended into the remix. So many supergroup albums are overdone in production, for example Army of Anyone, which was musically a great album but sounded almost too slick at times leaving the listener wondering what it thy just let the musicians play and see how it turned out?

My favorite tracks on this one are “Caligulove” and “Spinning in Daffodils”, though on the way of getting to those tracks there wasn’t really anything I didn’t enjoy. “New Fang” was apparently released as a single, but since I don’t listen to radio I never heard it aired. “Bandoliers” and “Scumbag Blues” are also great tracks you’ll want to listen to repeatedly.

Apparently the band wanted to call themselves Caligula, after the hedonistic Roman Emperor, but another band was using the name. How they arrived at Them Crooked Vultures only they know, but at least it was not taken and is as unique as the album’s music.

#ThemCrookedVultures #DaveGrohl #JohnPaulJones #JoshuaHomme #QueensOfTheStoneAge #LedZeppelin #Nirvana #FooFighters