Interviews

Published on August 10th, 2006 | by admin

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Eagles of Death Metal

By Melanie Sheridan

Eagles of Death Metal are every man I’ve ever dated: arrogant, egotistic, arrogant, kinda gay, arrogant alpha heart breakers; and they are utterly, utterly irresistible.

But there are few pretenses with Eagles of Death Metal, despite their misleading name (they sound nothing like the Eagles nor like death metal). Their come-fuck-me/get fucked swagger is declared at the outset.

On Peace Love Death Metal, their first album, it was opening salvo I Only Want You, on which front sexy dude J Devil Huge sings not-so-sweet nothings: “I’m not gonna lie just to spare your feelings cos watching you suffer feels much better to me / I’m about to lay destruction on you / I’m not the lover man that you want me to be.” The message is repugnant as, but the music is insatiably, libidinously erotic.

Just in case you’d forgotten this knavish reputation, the just released Death By Sexy opens with the same song, practically, I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News). This rapacious bit of sleaze boogie finds Mr Huge, now going by his birth name Jesse Hughes, seducing with a fey falsetto “I want you so hard, I want you so good” before friends including Jack Black edge in to warn “Don’t waste your time, the boy’s bad news.” But once again, resistance is futile. The song rocks so hard there’s people in Java feeling its shock waves.

On the other end of the phone, Jesse – ever the scoundrel – opens with “Hey, what’s up baby?” and he’s in like Flynn.

Me: I’m pretty good, Jesse, how are you?

Jesse: “I’m better now that I’m on the phone with you. It’s true, baby.”

I’m sorry readers, but what follows is only a few snippets of our *ahem* conversation, interspersed with some observations, pastiches and probably a few lies, because I left my brain on the desk at that point, rendered school-girlishly giddy by salacious thoughts of Jesse’s remarkable moustache, which – even through the telephone – has the power to curl knickers. It was, after all, this collection of facial follicles that “gave the majesty of rock and roll back to the world” if you listen to Jesse. And why wouldn’t you? The man’s falsetto can cause pregnancies, start fires and quite possibly contains the answer to the Middle East question.

Like most things Eagles of Death Metal, the hilarious, faux-smutty video for the afore-mentioned opening track and single I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News) centres on Jesse, his magnitude eleven ‘stache and his legendary, lovable narcissism. The majority’s of the clip’s budget was used to “pay for the lens required to properly capture” his lip fuzz, the man told MTV recently (upon hearing that I’d never seen MTV, Jesse declared: “Oh that’s the hottest thing I’ve ever heard, that you don’t give a fuck about MTV. I love that. That’s so fucking sexy.”) Meanwhile, he has elsewhere described the clip’s concept as: “I am so amazing when I rock from my guitar, that the power and fury of rock blows people’s clothes off, with sexiness.”

To be honest, Jesse probably isn’t even referring to the video when he says that. As fellow Eagle Josh Homme (Queens Of The Stone Age and a hundred others projects) told me a while back, Jesse is “the most vain motherfucker I’ve ever met!” In all likelihood, Jesse fully believes that the power of his rock moves can strip your clothes off. In all likelihood, he’s right.

We may finally get the chance to test this theory come January, if the gossip is anything to go by. Although rumours of an Eagles of Death Metal Australian tour circulated last year, nothing came of them. Cads. Many fans were left heartbroken. But things will be different this time, Jesse assures me.

“I fired my manager,” he states, when asked what happened. “It shifted up our whole world and we didn’t make it. But the response that we’re receiving in Australia is wonderful, so we’re trying to get on the Big Day Out, but I dunno,” he sighs. “All I know is that my manager and my booking agent are working overtime to get us on because it’s kind of late in the game, you know.”

If the rumours are solid, there’s still no guarantee that the touring band will resemble the one that made Death By Sexy, which in turn doesn’t match the one that recorded Peace Love Death Metal. That band featured J Devil, Josh and Tim Vanhamel from Belgian act Millionaire. The Death By Sexy band, “for the most part is just Joshua and I playing everything,” says Jesse, “and singing everything. Me doing all of the guitars and vocals, and Josh being bassist. But on three tracks Joey plays drums.” That’s Joey Castillo, from Queens Of The Stone Age. “And then Jack Black sings vocals on I Came To Make A Bang! and Boy’s Bad News. He’s wonderful. He’s one of the funniest men I know and he’s one of our friends and we hang out, rock ‘n’ roll, you know.”

Other guests on the album include Brody Dalle (Distillers and mother of Josh Homme’s daughter), Mark Lanegan (QOTSA, Screaming Trees), comedian-turned-musician Liam Lynch (United States Of Whatever) and Alain Johannes (QOTSA). “It was wild,” Jesse continues. “We didn’t sleep for eight days, that’s a fact. But the studio atmosphere was wonderful and amazing. It didn’t seem like we were working. It was like we had this one great big, sexy party. It was just a bunch of friends coming together to capture the spirit of what it means to be astoundingly sexy. And I love the record, I think it kicks ass,” he sums up. “I think what Josh did as a producer is over the fucking top.”

Live, however, Jesse often has to carry the burden of sexiness on his own – not that he has any problems with that – thanks to Josh’s commitment to QOTSA. But he ain’t too worried about playing without Josh: “The only way I’ll ever get out of his shadow baby, is if he gets out of my sun. But I mean that as sweet-heartedly as I can.”

Bad news or no, Jesse means no disrespect to anybody. “Sure, I’m bad news but in a good news sort of way,” he chuckles, before obliquely adding: “I want to speak to the ladies, and let them know that we love them so hard in Eagles of Death Metal, each and every one of us. And with Eagles of Death Metal every night is ladies night, so come if you wanna dance and have a good time.”

Come? Is that an assurance that we’ll be able to, that he’ll be here in the next year?

“Baby, I can absolutely guarantee. On my word as a gentleman.”

Shit goddamm, if he breaks my heart this time, I swear…

Death By Sexy is released locally this week on SonyBMG’s Red Label.


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