Eyehategod, the New Orleans sludge metal band approaching their 25th year, recently sat down with ZT during an appearance in Houston, TX to cover some business, in addition to shooting the bull on topics such as sexual puppet shows and “The Stairway to Hell.” Believe it or not, its been almost 12 years since the band has dropped a new studio album, and they are clearly itching to record their new record and send it out to an anxiously awaiting public. Unfortunately, the situation isn’t as simple as it seems on the surface. Despite paying numerous dues and hailed as pioneers of sludge metal, the band also has a history of being “reemed hard” as guitarist Brian Patton puts it. Still, the need to dust off the cobwebs and get to a new album is still present when Patton states “We’ve been cracking down a lot lately.”
The last new studio album from Eyehategod was 2000’s “Confederacy of Ruined Lives,” so why the long wait for a new studio album? “I think a lot of it is us being super-apprehensive and weary about the industry,” explains vocalist Mike Williams. “When we signed before, we didn’t sign the best deal in the world. So we’ve been taking it so slowly just to make sure we don’t get fucked over.” But as guitarist Jimmy Bower explains, the record industry isn’t necessarily the sole reason. “The older we get the harder it is to get together. And it’s just being older and having families. The older you get, the more that comes first.”
Families and record industry screwings aside, Eyehategod are still workaholics when it comes to music. Jimmy Bower also occupies the drummer spot in the supergroup Down (along side members of Pantera, Crowbar, and Corrosion of Conformity) and Mike Williams stays busy with other projects, such as Arson Anthem (alongside Phil Anselmo and Hank Williams III) in addition to his continuous writing. But still, Williams simply states that for the time being “I’m just focusing on Eyehategod.” Perhaps other projects might be in the works for later on? “Mike and I are gonna start a pornographic puppet show,” jokes Patton. “We’re gonna call it Leather Kermit.”
The most entertaining topic of discussion for the evening however is the piece of literature titled “The Stairway to Hell – The Well Planned Destruction of Teens” from Chick Publications, best known for Chick Tracts. The book is certainly a dud in the literary world, as it describes stories not backed up by facts, mentions newspaper articles with no citations, and is just plain ridiculous. However, it is still hours of side-splitting laughter as you read about topics such as Satanic Human Sacrifice, Peer Pressure, Drugs, Dungeons & Dragons, and that EVIL Rock’n’roll!!
“‘As blood runs everywhere, sexually aroused viewers are delighted… The sicker, the better,'” reads Williams. “They were beatin’ off when they wrote this. They’re way sicker than we can ever be.” Among the bands covered in this book are Twisted Sister, Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC, Suicidal Tendencies, Iron Maiden, and Mercyful Fate. Given that the book was written in 1988, many of the more extreme metal bands prominent today wouldn’t have made it in the book. Still, 1988 still had the existence of Death, Bathory, and even Mayhem. Being that 1988 was year zero for Eyehategod, they obviously didn’t make it into the book. But perhaps the band would have been just as entertained reading about themselves from the book as they were reading about other topics. Patton and Bower both erupt in laughter following Williams’ recitation of the line “If kicking a decapitated head around is not your idea of fun, steer clear of Satan.”
Video of Williams reading from this genius bit of literature can be viewed here.
Later in the night, the crowd anxiously awaited for Eyehategod to hit the stage, as one member of the crowd shouts “Holy Hell on a ham sandwich. I am excited to see this band!” The band certainly hasn’t lost its live intensity over the years. From the moment they hit that first note, the band and crowd were in full swing with tunes such as “Sister Fucker,” “Dixie Whiskey,” and “Serving Time in the Middle of Nowhere” amongst newer tunes, including the track “New Orleans is the New Vietnam.” After witnessing such a live show, its nice to hear the band has not only not lost any of its edge, its using their past setbacks to fire out a new aural assault. Frankly, its about damn time.
(All photos courtesy of Ben Yaker)
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