Considering the crotch-grabbing-face-melting album he’s taking around the world on a hot tour, Eagles of Death Metal front man Jesse Hughes is unsurprisingly cocky. Speaking from his accommodation somewhere near Coachella (“Kickin’ it, in the desert, baby, about four blocks from Coachella”), his moustache bristles into my pants through the phone lines.
Jesse candidly tells me about his night last night: “Josh and I hung out, and then we went to the new firehouse, and then I chased the devil until about four in the morning, and then I came home and tried to learn ‘Hot Child in the City’.”
His tone implies that this is what he does every night, only with different locations and song names. He then pointedly asks me about my night, even though I’m the one who’s supposed to be asking the questions. It’s obvious that Jesse is as ballsy as his music.
Reportedly created by imagining what it might be like if The Eagles played death metal, The Eagles of Death Metal will shortly be gracing our fine shores for some shows. Jesse raves about Sydney and how much he’s looking forward to it.
“Yes ma’am, fuck yeah I’m lookin forward to it, are you kidding?” he coos. “The reason we even booked it like we booked it is that we’ve scheduled it like a vacation. I love Australia man, I really do. I have an affinity for the country beyond it just being a great place to visit. I only use Australian guitars, I only use Australian microphones, I think the ute is the greatest fucking car ever made…”
He talks about cars for a minute and I don’t really have any idea what he’s saying (even though his affection for Oz is endearing) so I try to bring him back to the topic of gigs.
Luna Park’s big top will be hosting the EODM for their Sydney shows. The last band I saw there was similarly overdone-rock outfit The Darkness, complete with skintight flared spangly jumpsuits and keytars.
“Sometimes The Darkness are a little too… something that I don’t get. But they have fun and they fucking shred. That’s the thing about the British. They don’t normally shred at anything. And their idea of a prison colony is one of the greatest countries in the world, if you know what I mean.”
It’s kinda hard talking to this guy. He keeps asking me questions and making bad jokes. So I up the ante and ask how his moustache is going, and he replies, “It’s lonesome right now but it’s got a twenty percent chance of rain. I have no idea what that means but I’ve always wanted to say it.” See?
“Any chance to do what I do is amazing,” says Jesse, when I ask what we can expect from his Australian shows. “You can expect that within the first thirty minutes of the show, global warming will go down ten degrees.”
“Nah, I’m just kidding. You can expect the essence… I’ll tell you what you can expect. You can expect Chopper Read to show up.”
Really? “No. I can do whatever you tell me to do. This is what I love about your country too. There was a time when the biggest selling comedy act was Chopper fucking Read.”
Everyone loves a criminal on a motorcycle. It’s clear that this guy knows his Australian cultural clichés and I start to believe in his affinity for our great southern land (because he’s the kind of guy who you have to assume is bullshitting you in order to get into your pants.)
But really, I mean seriously, in all real seriousness, seriously, can we expect any big surprises? “During the encore I’m going to come on stage dressed as Mel Gibson from Gallipoli. As long as I can walk off that stage without feeling like the girl I want to have sex with thinks of me like a brother, then I’m OK.”
The artwork for the album features a bleeding heart in the grips of a feminine red-nailed hand which is both confronting and awesome, so I ask how it was to shoot.
“The photography was amazing but cutting out that poor woman’s heart took forEVER. We wanted something that kinda reflected our desire to make the best record we could make. And you know, it really didn’t start out being called ‘Heart On’ with an innuendo towards a boner, it really didn’t. It was that I write from my heart, Joshua always says, so it was ‘Heart on your sleeve’ and it was two days later when I was like ‘Heart On, Heart On, Hard On…oh shit.’”
“The cover is based on the idea that hearts of men are always in the clutches of beautiful women. And the other innuendo is ‘Don’t fuck with me.’ Just kidding. I just wanted to be provocative.”
Yep. Can see that. “This photographer, he’s a friend of ours, he kept wanting to get me naked on a bearskin rug,” Jesse says. It’s got the point where I don’t know what’s true and what’s an elaborate joke.
“Look, I really love doing what I do – having someone take photos of me? Wow, that sucks,” he quips sarcastically. I mention that not everyone loves to be in front of the lens and he says, “They just act like they hate it. It’s an absolute sense of entitlement and arrogance, and I hate that. I think when people walk around with a sense of entitlement they ruin everything.”
After this we talk about how great Olivia Newton John is in ‘Physical’. He says he’s recording a cover of it. I tell him the poster from the record is on my wall. He says that he’s dressed as her, right now. I tell him that I am her. “She’s so fucking hot.” Let me hear your body talk or let me hear your guitars blow all my clothes off with awesomeness. Either/or.
‘Heart On’ is out now through Inertia.