Jesse Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal Cites Rolling Stones as ‘Huge, Massive’ Influence
Eagles of Death Metal may not be considered classic rock… yet. But they sure do a great job interpreting the danceable guitar boogie of bands like the Rolling Stones, both on wax and during their addictive live shows.
Axl Rose may not be a fan, but we are, so we took the upcoming release of frontman Jesse Hughes' first solo record ('Honkey Kong,' due in September, and billed under the nickname "Boots Electric"), to talk to him about the influence of the Stones and the dance-friendly sound of the new record:
What prompted you to do a solo record?
I'm incredibly vain, and I wanted to make sure that I get all the glory on this one.
But then, you didn't use your real name.
Well, yeah, you know, sometimes glory can involve a long jail sentence, so I wanted to avoid that part. At least if my picture was involved then at least people would know who that was.
So, this is not the end of Eagles of Death Metal?
Oh, no, no, no, no -- actually quite the opposite, man. To be honest with you, when you asked what prompted a solo album, I guess in a broad sense it was kind of my long term desire to be absolutely able to by rights stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my best friend (Kyuss / Queens of the Stone Age guitarist and singer, and Eagles of Death Metal co-founder, Josh Homme) when we make an Eagles record, you know?
You felt inferior?
Not inferior, but… I felt like a junior G-Man, and now I got my real G-man badge, you know what I mean?
So, for this solo album, you're touring with a different band?
Yeah, we are touring with a different band. I'll still be doing shows with the Eagles, because Eagles is an animal onto itself, dude. It's such a weird thing, even for me, in it's own humble way it's a phenomenon to me. You can't deny the Eagles. But the band I've have for this, it's a crack band of new blood, fresh blood on the scene.
When are you going out?
We started rehearsals last week, and I'm hoping to be ready to start playing shows -- we're gonna do a few shows around L.A. -- in about a month. Where do you live?
Yeah, dude! Ohio -- the true home of rock 'n' roll.
A lot of bands skip here, I'm getting pretty pissed off about it to tell the truth..
Oh dude, that's lame! That's one of the bulls---, unfortunate elements of tour routing. And the bands that really get it? They hit the towns that everyone else skips, that's why they go platinum.
So on your new single, am I hearing a little bit of 'Hair of the Dog?'
Oh, yeah man, a little bit of Nazareth. A little bit of Narareth goes a long way…I gotta watch you man, you're gonna nail all my tricks!
It seems more like a nod than a steal..
Man, thank you so much for saying that! That's how I always see it. I just don't believe there's anything new under the sun, and I think it's incredibly disingenious to not credit the source, you know what I mean?
Are you worried about losing fans, with this new more danceable sound?
No, no, no. I think fans of Eagles of Death Metal fans kind of like… My mom says Quentin Tarantino likes classic rock radio, this is the George Clinton part of that. It's the same tongue, just a different side licking you.
It seems, I dunno, one step closer to the dance floor.
Absolutely, man - it's one step away from the football field. (pause) I don't know what that means, but it sounds provocative, so I'm gonna go with it!
The story of how you got your name is well-documented, but do you have an official stance on the Eagles?
I f---in' love the Eagles, man. I'm one of those guys, if somebody asks me what kind of music I like, I would say GOOD music. The Eagles -- you cannot deny the Laurel Canyon cowboys, dude! 'New Kid in Town,' 'Life in the Fast Lane,' 'Witchy Woman' -- dude, they were a supergroup for a reason.
They're not fully in fashion right about now...
Well, it's easy to s--- on No. 1. Remember what the backlash on the Bee Gees was like? I mean, It was ridiculous. I remember everyone hating disco, and it being cool, but when you listen to those Bee Gees records, you're listening to one of the most [flawlessly] executed productions that you're ever gonna here.
I grew up right around then, I never understood knocking that music
I was one of those secret disco kids, going, "Yeah, f--- disco!," but secretly in my heart, it was 'Nights on Broadway' every second.
You're coming out of the closet now, like your press release says..
That's right, baby, or the closet's coming out from around me.
It seems pretty obvious that the Stones are a big influence on you, right?
Huge. Massive. You know, my dad was a bass player, he would always be the first to say, "The only reason I ever wanted to pick up the bass was when I saw the Who." That's what did it for him. The Rolling Stones, man, that was the first one that tickled the chords [for me], you know?
What song of theirs did you hear first?
The first Rolling Stones I can ever really remember was 'Honky Tonk Woman.'
Have you seen them live?
Yeah, several times, starting with my father on the 'Some Girls' tour. Have you read 'The Day the Sixties Died?' That f---in' book is awesome, and it's a real good account of Altamont and what it meant symbolically, the anti-Woodstock, you know? You really get some great backstories on, like, Keith Richards staying in the trailer all night long doing heroin with Gram Parsons.
What's your favorite Rolling Stones album… today. I know it changes...
It does change, it changes all the time, but right now it's 'Let It Bleed.' I just picked up -- check this out, I don't even know how I got away with this -- but I was at this record store in Palm Desert. Well, less of a record store, more of a thrift store. I just bought a copy of 'Let it Bleed,' pristine shape, with the poster, and there was another Rolling Stones album in the little sleeve, and the guy gave it to me for five bucks. It's the original, complete intact, 1975 fan kit, it's unbelievable, dude.
Anything else you want to get out there into the world?
Just that, I really love rock and roll, and I love being able to b--- f--- George Clinton with Gary Numan, using Little Richard as a d---. It's kind of fun on this record.
OK, we're gonna put that up there in full, there may be some dashes involved.
You got it man!
You can download 'Boots Electric Theme' from Boots-Electric.com
Watch Eagles of Death Metal Perform 'I Want You So Hard (Boy's Bad News)' on the Late Show