The world HQ for Them Crooked Vultures hides in plain sight: an anonymous building on an ordinary street in Burbank.

It’s only after you step inside that you realize that it’s as fortified as a North Korean bunker. That Bob Hope Airport is a short walk away is a good thing, given the private jet requirements of the band.

This is Pink Duck Studios, Josh Homme’s playground, a studio where Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal albums take shape and also where he worked on the material he produced for the Arctic Monkeys’ Humbug album. The main room of the studio also serves as TCV’s rehearsal space.

The amount of gear is staggering. I have a half-hour audience with all three members before band practice. Josh takes his seat in the main control room chair. Dave Grohl flops face down into some pillows on the sectional next to me. Meanwhile, John Paul Jones — the quiet one in Led Zeppelin — is true to form, content to let his bandmates do all the kibitzing as he eases into the chair he’s brought from another room. He sets himself up between the two. “This is my spot,” he says.

Although the idea of TCV first surfaced years ago, it only became reality this past January when JPJ suddenly found himself with some free time.

“I’d spent quite a few months rehearsing with Jimmy (Page) and Jason (Bonham) trying to form a new band that wasn’t going to be called Led Zeppelin,” says JPJ, “and it was just coming to an end when Dave mentioned this idea.”

“It just sort of fell together,” says Homme.

“This is the kind of thing that if you don’t grab it by the neck and run with it, it’ll just turn to vapour.”

Dave chimes in. “I wanted to be musical and be home at the same time. The last thing I wanted to do was start another band and go back out on the road. I thought we could just play in the studio and make something good. I honestly didn’t imagine we’d be doing this.”

But now that they’ve started something, now what? How far can they take this? Dave props himself up against some pillows on the sectional. A big grin spreads across his face. “As far as it will go.”

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