How Nikki Lane found guitar empowerment with Josh Homme and an all-star band on her gritty new album

Nikki Lane
(Image credit: Timothy Norris/Getty Images for Stagecoach)

When it comes to playing guitar, Nikki Lane likes to refer to herself as “Clangity Lane”. Her playing is fairly straightforward. Nonetheless, it’s vital to her songwriting process. “My guitar playing has always been for the purpose of writing,” she says. “It’s not a natural thing for me to play guitar. It took a lot of work for me to have the muscle memory to do it. So now I say my style is just indicative of the tone I’m trying to write.”

Even so, Lane felt her playing took a step forward on her latest album, Denim & Diamonds, which was produced by Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme. Homme, who also played guitar, assembled an all-star backing band featuring QOTSA collaborator Alain Johannes on guitar, Dean Fertita on organ and Michael Shuman on bass. Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders, Autolux’s Carla Azar and Lane’s go-to pedal steel player, Matt Pynn, are also featured. 

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Joshua M. Miller

Josh is a freelance journalist who has spent the past dozen or so years interviewing musicians for a variety of publications, including Guitar World,, SPIN, Chicago Sun-Times, MTV News, Rolling Stone and American Songwriter. He credits his father for getting him into music. He's been interested in discovering new bands ever since his father gave him a list of artists to look into. A favorite story his father told him is when he skipped a high school track meet to see Jimi Hendrix in concert. For his part, seeing one of his favorite guitarists – Mike Campbell – feet away from him during a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers concert is a special moment he’ll always cherish.