You scrapped the first version of this album - were you trying to please people other than yourselves?
"I'm what you call a responsible musician...(laughs). So unfortunately that responsible side of myself was making it's way into the songs. I didn't want anything to be too long, I didn't want to go too far out on a limb. I wanted to make this big rock record that everyone could latch onto and sing along with. It was the wrong way to go about it. We wound up in the studio acting as surgeons, we were too fucking clinical. And then we just threw it all away. Walked away from it and went back into my studio in Virginia on a two-week break from Queens Of The Stone Age. And decided, Fuck it - it's time to make ourselves happy and no one else."
Did playing with Queens Of The Stone Age have an influence on the finished article?
"The great thing about playing with Queens Of The Stone Age is you find the fearless side of yourself. Playing with Josh and Nick, there was never one night we walked on-stage and I felt scared, never. Every night we knew we were the best band these people were ever gonna see. It was an amazing feeling. Now my band has it as well. When we walk on-stage we know we're here because we fucking deserve to be and we're gonna tear people's faces off. That kind of energy is totally contagious and made it's way from Queens over to our band. So I'm very thankful to them for that."
Your popular image is of a happy, regular guy, but a lot of your songs dwell on the destructive nature of relationships...
"I think sometimes you gotta pick at scabs to make them heal. I'm an optimist and I think that in order to get to the root of your problems you have to find your way through some of the dark and dangerous sides of yourself. A lot of these lyrics are me admitting to myself that I'm an asshole for doing this, or I'm a saint for doing this, and so....Yeah, it's strange. Sometimes an album may feel dark, but that doesn't mean it has to feel depressing."