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Josh Homme reveals the “secret weapon” behind his Queens of the Stone Age tone: Peavey's tiny Decade practice amp

Josh Homme isn't somebody who is known for giving away too many tone secrets, and instead is notorious for keeping his cards very close to his chest. Therefore, when Homme talks about anything relating to his tone, we listen.

And, thanks to a clip from Apple TV’s documentary series Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson, it’s not just any old minor tidbit that the Queens of the Stone Age guitarist is sharing – it’s his “secret weapon”.

So, what is this weapon, you ask? What’s the kit behind some of Homme’s most mesmerizing hard rock tones? Well, it’s something we’d certainly never have expected – not by a long way.

As it turns out, said secret weapon is, in fact, a Peavey Decade guitar amp. Yep, that’s right. Peavey’s modest, tiny solid-state amp from the ‘80s is behind some of the most recognizable tones in the Queens of the Stone Age repertoire.

Josh Homme performing live

(Image credit: Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

“This is the secret weapon,” said Homme, before pulling out the Peavey. “This is a Peavey Decade. This thing is incredible.”

“This is, like, the hard rock equivalent of, ‘Who shot JFK?’” quipped Ronson in return, before Homme flexed the humble amp’s admittedly very impressive gain tones.

For those of you interested in the specs, the Decade has two input channels – Normal and Saturation – and five control knobs, with a Pre and Post Gain stage lining up alongside a three-band EQ. That’s it.

It would be easy to dismiss such a claim as nothing more than a red herring designed to send tone chasers on a wild goose chase. However, further research confirms Homme is being entirely serious, and that the Peavey Decade actually played a huge part in creating the awesome No One Knows tone.

In an old video recorded by the band’s former producer Eric Valentine  – available via Reddit – it was revealed that the Peavey Decade was used to record the stomping bass guitar lines that can be heard on the mammoth track.

“It has a really cool little saturation in there, and so it would get cool distortion and you could have it at a really low volume,” explained Valentine during the No One Knows breakdown. “It ended up being the majority of the bass sound. It’s an amazing sound.”

There you have it, folks. Who says you need the newest and most expensive gear to sound good? Sometimes, the best tones can come from the most unlikely places. It’s just a matter of finding them.

Matt Owen

Matt is a News Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.