Eyehategod: Long Overdue

The Same As Always; Negative, Miserable Bastards....

Considering their highly controversial and publicized lives, Eyehategod still remain today as one of the most enigmatic bands. The New Orleans sludge giants have spent a quarter of a century defying classification and remaining as negative as the day is long, accepting no substitutes, no imitations. The band is real, the suffering was real, and real demons were dealt with. Metal As Fuck caught up with vocalist Mike Williams recently to discuss the upcoming album, Bourbon vs. Vodka and the first ever Australian tour for these decadent pioneers. As soon as introductions and the exchanging of idle chit chat were out of the way, Mike Williams chimes in with “I’m hung-over actually and I’m just now looking at your website, it looks pretty good”. Well it’s soon to look even better; you’ll soon have the front page.

So how are preparations going for the Australian tour? “Going great, everything is pretty much taken care of so far. We are having a warm up show in New Orleans on the 16th to get ready then we are Australia bound. We are really excited, we have wanted to visit Australia I think since we started back in 1988 we love the history and culture of your country, we're such big fans all round. We have a lot of bands in Australia that we love as well, we have I Exist on tour with us and I remember seeing a CD of theirs in my pile, I’ve had it for about a year now, then I was interviewed by one of the members for the tour you know and gave the CD a crank after that, so yeah now we can’t wait to play with I Exist

So how often do you play New Orleans these days? “Not as much as we used to, younger bands starting out play a lot in the city. We generally like to do about two shows per year, the Mardi Gras festival and Halloween, although we didn’t get to play the Halloween show this year as Jimmy [Bower] was in Europe with Down. We sort of get the ‘ah whatever’ attitude from the New Orleans fans these day [Laughs] we tend to get more respect from fans outside the city, not saying that the fans don’t love us here, it’s just the city has become a little jaded over the years”. Well a lot of your influence has come from the New Orleans sound. “Yeah exactly, we have tried to leave this place so many times, we just don’t, it’s so hard to leave, it’s like a different entity of the Eyehategod sound, the city in itself has a lot of influence”.

The anticipated new album from the band has the sludge world humming, whereabouts are you all up to with it? “We’re still working on it at the moment, everything is written we just have to put it all together, we also have to decide who is putting it out, we don’t know this yet, we don’t trust labels, we were thinking of putting it out ourselves but then we have to deal with distribution so we’re still looking at the business end of things, but the important thing is, is that it’s done”. So what can we expect from this album? “The same as always, negative, miserable bastards [Laughs] Its just this city, the vibe of this city can be (at times) very gloomy and depressing, I mean it’s a good thing, in over twenty years we haven’t changed our sound or who we are”. This is a commendable effort – over twenty years with not having to succumb to the regular bullshit that many bands have forced upon them – has it been tough to stick to your guns in this respect? “It was tough yeah, if there was something we didn’t like we would simply tell whoever to ‘fuck off’ like if we were asked to do a music video that we didn’t like or whatever. When asked about regrets, Mike responded that some decisions may have limited the band however Eyehategod have been in the game for a long time “I wouldn’t have done it any differently, yeah I have a few regrets, like if I could have not gone to Gaol those couple of times that would have been nice but I mean as far as being aggressive, we’re the same people yeah, the energy has always remained constant, there is no regrets there. But everything that has transpired is evolution for the band, and us. Everything always works out for the best, which is weird I am usually a very negative person, but you know what ever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, it’s a cheap saying but its true”.

No such statement could be truer for the vocalist who over the bands twenty year plus career has endured a much publicised personal life with all its associated demons. Did you find that your writing for the band has become limited whilst clean or the complete opposite? “The complete opposite, you know when you do drugs, heavy drugs, you are engulfed in a dark and deep world and you would think that this would have an propitious effect on the body and the mind to open you up further, like if I wasn’t on these drugs I wouldn’t be creative and that’s just bullshit really, when you’re clean its now all definitely you. You know you are obviously influenced by the same people and the same things, except now it comes from the heart”.

This one true mouth; this hardcore blues prophet hasn’t limited his writing to just only the sludge of Eyehategod but during the darkness of heroin addiction introduced a hallucinogenic rendition of gutter-life through Cancer As A Social Activity. This long awaited collection of writings reached a cult following soon after release “I like the abstract stories that make no sense”. However with hundreds of collections of works and with two full length novels currently being held on his PC, Mike Williams states with ease that he prefers writing for Eyehategod “I just enjoy it more”.

With the back catalogue of EyeHateGod and the twenty plus years of writing for the band; the set list for the Australian tour may be a bit of a challenge do you think? “Oh yeah, there are so many songs that we would love to do for the crowds but seriously, there are some we just can’t remember. We’re heading into rehearsal, I think Jimmy arrived back home yesterday, so we’ll head out to Jimmy’s next week and work it all out. We'll definitely play some new ones from the upcoming album but first and foremost the oldies, this is our first time to Australia so we need to start from the beginning”. The chapters keep rolling for Eyehategod as they grace the shores of Australia for their first headlining tour.