The Eagles of Death Metal, the band formed by Queens of the Stone Age man Josh Homme and Boots Electric’s Jesse Hughes, play Riot Fest this year so we chatted with Hughes about it all.T
Yellow Scene: Zipper Down is great. Do you feel like you needed the big break after Heart On to recharge
Jesse Hughes: It wasn’t a break, so much. It never occurred to Joshua and I that it had been seven years. Since the album. When I started the tour a month-and-a-half ago and the first journalist said, “So it’s been seven years,” Josh and I looked at each other and said, “No way.” We honestly had no sense of urgency. I did Boots Electric, I did On the Road [the documentary series], Joshua did Queens of the Stone Age, and it just came about that Joshua said, “Dude, I think I’m going to have three weeks off.” I was line, “Oh really? We can record.” Even though we showed up at the studio and played with remote control helicopters most of the time, and avoided the engineer, we still managed to record a little bit. Josh and I truly are best friends, and we’re daily-contact dudes. I’m always in the process of writing, and I always bring in a box of toys and dump them on the table. A lot of times, I like to mess with Josh. I have a weird sense of humor. He’s struggling with these songs, trying to make them, and I’ll come in and go, “Oh yeah, I recorded these new tracks, check them out.” He’ll be sitting there going, “You d1*k.” After one weekend of that, he goes, “Boots, how many songs have you played for me?” I go, “I don’t know.” He goes, “Do we have an album?” We weren’t thinking about doing an album, we were thinking, “We can now officially schedule time, and nobody can stop us from hanging out.” That’s kind of the right way to do it.
YS: The band is 11 years old now. Did you see it lasting that long when you started it?
JH: I never saw it coming. I never wanted to be in a rock band. I honestly, genuinely had a low opinion of rock ‘n’ rollers. My opinion of the music business would have been the opinion of a nobleman in the 1100’s about theater people. I always thought it was a waste. When Joshua first made the decision to go into rock ‘n’ roll, I remember having a talk with him. I told him to stand tall and have courage. He just said, “You just take stuff way too seriously, man.” For me, it was like being a werewolf my whole life, having no clue, and showing up one night for a Bible study and it’s a full moon. Instead of turning of turning into a werewolf, I turned into an animal with an [appendage] bigger than John Holmes. Actually bigger than all of John Holmes.
YS: Are you looking forward to Riot Fest?
JH: Oh man. If you look at some of the interviews between us, we weren’t really expecting it to be such a good time. Truthfully, with the other records we had a very tactical approach. Everything was always controlled, and because Joshua is such a fine friend, he was always very conscious not to discourage me, even incidentally. With this album, we were worried that Joshua’s absence or presence could cause problems. But I feel like we’ve accomplished a Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. Joshua’s just a great trapeze artist.
YS: What can we expect from the set?
JH: You can expect reassurance that some things can remain stable, like good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. I’ve always wanted a band that can put out a Highway to Hell and then put out “You Shook Me All Night Long.” Or the Rolling Stones with Some Girls 20 years later. I just want to be in a good rock ‘n’ roll band. Touring – I feel like you can expect us to call you after we hook up. That’s what the performance will be like. I’ll call you and ask you if I left my pants in your car. You know what I mean? It won’t quite be the call you wanted, but it’ll be a call nonetheless.
YS: When Riot Fest is over, what’s next?
JH: I’ve got most of the new Boots Electric album written. Joshua and I made a commitment not to wait as long because we’re kind of on a roll now. This album, the way we made it, it was reaching a zenith. Then when we were on tour, we were actually able to hang out. That’s what the whole band is supposed to be about. But I’m also a vain, vicious person. I smile, but behind the scene’s I’m like, “I hate you – don’t you look at Joshua.” Joshua has just completed an unbelievable thing. I wish I could tell you but he’ll kill me. He will. You know, I slipped some news about Them Crooked Vultures a few years ago, and a framed poster from World War II that said, “Loose Lips Sink Ships” showed up at my door.
Eagles of Death Metal plays Denver Riot Fest; August 28-30; riotfest.org/denver.