It’s ten thirty in the morning when I get woken up by a call from a conferencing centre informing me they’re ready to connect me through to my interview with Jesse Hughes, the frontman of Eagles Of Death Metal, now gone solo under the moniker Boots Electric. I’m sleepy and dazed, having been avoiding doing my research and wanking since about quarter past nine, which really was quite fitting preparation for the interview.
“Hey buddy, how you going?” he asks, his voice full of characteristic bravado.
“Yeah, alright. Pretty tired, it’s still ten in the morning here, I’m still in bed,” I reply.
“That’s the evening for us, for us rock n rollers, we’re vampires baby.”
“Sleep all day and climb trees at night then?
“Or just not sleep.”
It’s easy to believe. In interviews and on stage he comes off like the poster child for ADHD, being permanently possessed by a kind of gleeful nervous energy, complimented by his playful wit. While some might label him vulgar or obnoxious, titles I’m sure he’d wear with relish, his adolescent charm is what is most endearing about him and his music.
It’s blatantly evident now as Jesse, who’s being driven around Hollywood by his girlfriend and bass player Tuesday Cross, frequently makes asides to his chauffeur, eliciting bouts of inconsistent laughter when a comment finds the mark. Claiming she has “stolen my heart” and to be “one of the most beautiful women in the world” in his Honeysuckle South Carolina accent, according to Hughes, Cross proves what Matthew McConaughey said in Dazed & Confused, that he “gets older, but they stay the same age.” He’s on fire pretty much.
“You were in a pretty similar state when we last spoke, I’m sure you don’t remember but …” I begin.
“Oh I remember,” he cuts me off matter of factly. “I don’t drink, I just tend to stay awake, so I remember everything even if it’s a blur,” he declares before elaborating.
“Ever since I was a kid I’ve had to be careful not to pay too much attention to everything because once I pick it up I can’t shake it off. It’s almost like an idiot savant memory thing, I’m like Rainman. I don’t know why there are 200 toothpicks, I just know there are 200 toothpicks!”
“What are you doing playing music then man, head out to Vegas and hit the tables,” I suggest, “you’re wasting your time.”
“Holy shit, let’s roll the dice baby, let’s make a million dollars” he says to Tuesday, laughter drifting in from the background.
“I like your style man,” he tells me.
“I like yours,” I reply.
“We’d make a good team, we could be the new dynamic Australian American mixed duo, like Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon! Come on dude, it’s gonna be awesome, you and me baby!”
“Considering the striking resemblance, you’d have to be Mel obviously, which makes me Danny Glover I guess”
“No way, I want to be Danny Glover, I’m the American, you’ve got to be crazy, sort of like freaky obsessive wild card,” he insists.
“But you’ve got the Mel Leathal Weapon 3 haircut,” I exclaim.
“That’s how we’re going to modify it then,” he explains. “We’re going to double down on the sweet ‘Mel’ of success, the Gibson, and we’re going to ‘deGlover’, so to speak.”
“No black face for us then.”
“We’ll get Ted Danson for that, or maybe Tiger Woods, as far as I’m concerned he’s whiter than I am,” he retorts confidently.
“OK you’re losing me now.”
“It’s funny though, and this is completely off topic,” he continues cryptically, “but I read an account from one of Tiger’s lovers the other day, and it was really kind of sweet. She had no complaints, she said he was a nice guy, it was all about the sex, but that as soon as they were done all he’d want to do was sit down on the floor and watch cartoons and eat lucky charms. That’s so pure. The kid didn’t have a childhood. He wants sex, he wants chinky wingy,” he says in a baby voice, “and then he wants cartoons, you know what I mean. It’s really sad.”
“We’ve all been there, there’s nothing wrong with some post-coital cartoons.”
“I want some Captain Crunch when I’m getting done being on the run, you know what I mean.”
“I wouldn’t expect anything less,” I tell him, slightly confused yet strangely aroused, and begin trying to turn the interview back toward something even vaguely relevant. We get bogged down for a spell when he launches off into an explanation of how, by adding ‘if you know what I mean’ to the end of a sentence, you automatically make whatever you said sexual, but soon enough we begin discussing his motivations for writing a solo album without The Eagles of Death Metal.
“I have no problems with the Eagles Of Death Metal,” he says in reply to my goading him about going solo, explaining he “actually had to finally earn my stripes”.
“I applied for supergroup status and I was accepted on the pretence that I would eventually repay the debt by making my own record. So I don’t actually see it as a departure from the Eagles, it’s more of a return to myself so I can come back to them. It’s like a time machine that reminds you of the future.
Here we depart into a longwinded riff on time travel and alternate universes where we both display our lack of knowledge on the subject, Jesse dropping a few bombs such as “Science is very self deluding, they think because they discovered it they created it, it’s a very dangerous effect ” as well as attacking astrologers bringing up the discovery of new planet Eris, stating it “throws the whole fucking horoscope thing out of whack, good thing they wrote that shit in pencil.” our rudderless course leads us to recent news about scientists discovering a way to turn female bone marrow into sperm.
“What I would do if I ran the world would be to send the police in there to find out who the fuck was asking this stupid question and why did anyone waste time trying find this out. Who’s’ the knuckle head, get over here,” he tells me, grunting over the line, undoubtedly mock beating someone as he sits in his passenger seat.
“I’m more worried about what children conceived from marrow sperm are going to look like,” I remark.
“The shit they show us. I mean, I bet some mad scientist has already cloned a weird human, and I’m sure that that child will be a masterpiece once the art gets evolved. Can you imagine that, a perfectly engineered human getting elected into office, it almost sounds anti-christ like.”
This comment then led into another rambling discourse, this one focused on religion, but no less ill-informed and pointless. Jesse however, in characteristically irreverent style, managed to articulate some rather insightful thoughts about the Ten Commandments and religion in general, as well as criticising the smugness of atheists and followers of science.
“But how much fun is it to not fuck your neighbour’s wife and then not be able to tell a lie about it? The Ten Commandments are a great inconvenience you know, but that’s why they were put as commandments I guess. But I don’t need to pretend they’re wrong just to break them, I’m an outlaw baby, I ain’t going to believe in magic talking monkeys so I can fuck my neighbour’s wife,” he finishes with a flourish, pausing only momentarily before launching back in.
“I got in an argument with Chris Kattan (the guy from Night At The Roxbury that wasn’t Will Farrell if you remember), where he was saying, “people who believe in God are foolish, it’s all hocus pocus,magic,” yeah, and magic compressing gases blowing up into magic talking monkeys isn’t fucking magic, that just so happens to put us at the top of the evolutionary ladder, what a coincidink! So now we’re the kings, by accident, it’s not even our fault! Lame!
“I’d say the ant is the triumph of evolution,” I interject, “They can lift like ten times their body weight, and they think with a hive mind, amazing!
“Yeah, but that was just a model for the Japanese to become a nation.”
Here again we tracked off into idle banter, none of which being relevant, funny or interesting enough to warrant publication, until we broached the subject of his approach to the new album, and whether he tried to do anything different to how he works with the Eagles.
“Same format man,” he begins, his energetic charm in full force. “My whole rule is: when you make an album you put in place an operating paradigm and figure out what it is you’re trying to do, and then the music will tell you what to do and you just follow it. There are really only a few things we do in rock n roll anyway, you know; there are only a few chords you can use and there are only a few cool combinations. I mean, it’s not like I created any of this, that was Little Richard and Chuck Berry.”
“How do you keep things fresh and interesting then? Is it just a case of waiting for the music to move you and show you what to do?”
“It will, and then it will possess you, and that’s what we’re looking for. I love what happens to me when I listen to The Rolling Stones, I love it so much I want to be possessed by the devils they sold their souls to. I want to be raped by miracles, every day.
“That should be the title of the next album, Raped By Miracles.”
“It was going to be the title of this record, but my Mom thought it wouldn’t be too good for Wal- Mart,” he laughs, Tuesday joining him again in the background.