My novel in progress intersects with the Queens of the Stone Age song “Sick, Sick, Sick” from the album Era Vulgaris.
Interesting story about the band’s lead singer and lead guitar player Josh Homme. In 2004, Homme kicked out long-time bassist and sometime lead singer Nick Oliveri after learning that Oliveri had physically abused his girlfriend. The news reached Homme as a rumor, and he told BBC Radio 1, “I said, [to Oliveri] ‘If I ever find out that’s true, I can’t know you.’ It was true, and the break was immediate and permanent, despite the band’s most recent album at the time, “Songs for the Deaf,” being their best yet, with a considerable part of their sound coming from Nick’s powerful bass playing and intense, violent singing style on tracks like “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar.” So that gives you an idea of where Homme is coming from and what he is about.
The chorus of “Sick, Sick, Sick” goes:
“Sick, sick, sick,
(I’m gonna change,
I don’t wanna change)”
The lines in parenthesis are sung by a backing vocalist, the first in a high, sustained note pattern that soars above the stabbing beat and acidic guitar riff, creating the impression of lightness despite heaviness—hope, one might say. The second line is sung an octave lower, in an abrupt staccato suggesting resistant second thoughts, an about-face from the assertion “I’m gonna change.” You can almost picture the signer shaking his head warily. Now, he’s not so sure. Changing sounds hard. He wants to, but he’s afraid.
This is how the pornography addict feels—which brings us to my novel in progress. Howie Toffler, my protagonist, is a pornography addict. My notes from a recent meeting with a very generous friend and beta-reader say to make the last leg (plotwise) “Sick, sick, sick.” (I didn’t think of the QOTSA song at the time, but I am now obviously.) Indeed making it sick is what I’m doing. It’s exciting and scary, but I think it will help the story a lot. It’s very hard to know at this stage, so a writer listens to his gut.
By the way, the lyrics quoted above are not the only ones of their kind from Homme . “In the Era vulgaris, there’s no room for love, you just drool in the dark and stare at the lights.” (“Era Vulgaris,” the song.) There’s also a song titled “Misfit Love.” And finally, with Homme’s other band, Them Crooked Vultures, he has a line, “I know how to be lost in lust / not because you should but because you must.” It seems one could write a thesis on this theme in Homme’s lyrics. Or one could simply rock out.