Interview with Jimmy Bower of Eyehategod
Veteran NOLA sludge metallers Eyehategod are finally releasing an album after ten years of turmoil. Making appearances at European festivals like Roadburn and playing some shows on the American coasts, Eyehategod is heading out for a proper tour to promote the album coming out this year. I had the chance to speak with guitarist Jimmy Bower a few days before the band plays with Pentagram in their hometown and then heads off to Maryland Death Festival and the rest of thier tour. A transcribed version follows the video.
Buick Mckane: There’s a huge anticipation growing for your new album, which is the first one that’s going to be released in 10 years. How’s in coming along?
Jimmy Bower: It’s going good. We got about, I’d say, up to about now, seven or eight songs, and we’re taking our time, trying to write a good record, you know. And the older we are, you know, this year everybody has conflicting schedules and, you know, people have jobs, and stuff like that too, you know. We practice when we can and write as often as possible, but it’s starting to really come together and we’re really excited about it.
Buick: When do you think you’ll be able to start recording and get it released?
Jimmy: For a band like us, we gotta set a date or it won’t happen. So we pretty much said by the end of September we’re gonna have the entire thing recorded, and artwork and everything done. So that’ll give us about three or four months.
Buick: That’s not terribly long away at all.
Jimmy: No. You can wait a few years, you can wait a few more minutes.
Buick: Recently, you’ve been playing some shows on the east and west coasts and a few in Europe. How did they turn out?
Jimmy: Actually, we played more shows in Europe than we did on the east and west coasts. We did like 23 shows in Europe. And it was amazing, man. We haven’t been over there in ten years. So it was like a whole new generation of kids, you know, that were into eyehategod because there were people ranging from our age to, like, 18 or 19 year old kids. It was really cool. Got a chance to play Roadburn with a bunch of cool bands. And the shows on the east and west coasts were amazing as well. And same-case scenario, we haven’t really been out there for about ten years, so it was really cool.
Buick: Did anything crazy happen?
Jimmy: Always. Yeah, well I mean, shows got crazy. We played that boat show in New York, and I think they oversold the show or something. Boat took off and we started to play, we just got mobbed. There’s videos of it on Youtube. And we had to stop playing and all these security guards…and it was just a crazy show, you know.
Buick: As long as the boat didn’t sink, I guess.
Jimmy: Yeah, right. Like Titanic.
Buick: And very soon, you’re going to be going on a proper tour for about a month. Do you expect a really good turnout considering you haven’t been to those places in a long time?
Jimmy: Yeah, I hope so. I mean, hopefully [it will be] like it was on the east coast and west coast, you know. We don’t have a new record out or anything like that; it’s just basically going on the fact that we still exist. So we’re hoping for good shows. And we’re doing two nights in Chicago, and on the first night we’re gonna do the first record, "In the Name of Suffering" and on the second night we’re gonna do "Take as Needed for Pain". And other songs as well, but we just did that in Austin a couple of weeks ago and it really went good.
Buick: It was the night before Warbeast played in Fort Worth, I think.
Jimmy: Right, right, right. Their release party.
Buick: Do you expect to tour more after the album is released?
Jimmy: Of course, that’s when we’ll really get busy and stuff. Like I said there’s a whole generation gap. There’s a whole new generation of kids that have gotten into the band that have never had the opportunity to see us live, so that’s kind of what we’re doing right now. And just getting back together as a band, you know, as one. Riding in the van together, listening to music together, trying to get all on the same page and everything, which will do nothing but help out with writing, you know. So this tour is kind of just for us to go out and have a good time, and get our wits back, you know.
Buick: And I guess you’ve been using New Orleans as a practice ground for that since you’ve been playing a few shows the last few years.
Jimmy: Yeah, we have a jam room up at Fontainebleau where everybody jams at. I’ve had a jam room up there forever, so.
Buick: That’s cool. I’ve been up there a few times.
Jimmy: Yeah, we got it all set up for recording and everything like that, so.
Buick: Well, you’ve been touring quite a bit without Eyehategod playing drums in Down. How is an Eyehategod show different than a Down show?
Jimmy: Well, I get to stand up for one thing. It’s getting to be not much of a different vibe. Eyehategod tends to draw, like, more of, you know, an Eyehategod-type crowd. People that have been into us or people that are interested, whatever. And Down seems to draw, like, the whole lot, you know. So, it’s fun, you know. I love playing in Down. I love what we do. And I love Eyehategod as well. So the opportunity to be able to tour as much as I get do them, I feel very blessed, you know.
Buick: And you said that with Eyehategod, yall have to go around in a van instead of a nice big tour bus that, I guess, Down would have?
Jimmy: Yeah, well I mean, Down we have so many people we can’t fit in a van, so we have to get busses. But, you know, I don’t mind the van thing at all. You actually get to see more, you know.
Buick: ‘Cause the walls aren’t closed in.
Jimmy: Yeah, exactly.
Buick: Well not only are you busy with Eyehategod and Down, you also have the Mystic Krewe of Clearlight, and one of the songs from the album you released with them was on the Housecore Records Compilation album that was released this year. Are you going to do anything else with that band?
Jimmy: I hope so. I hope so. Our keyboard player drives tour busses now; Ross. So he’s pretty busy with that, and everybody else. We’ve talked about it. We’re going to rerelease the Clearlight album on Housecore because it wasn’t really released correctly when it first came out. So we put some extra stuff and some added…not really new stuff, but some different recordings of stuff. So, looking forward to that, you know, and finally getting it back out there. I think Clearlight was a really cool band.
Buick: I do too. Do you plan on playing any shows as the Mystic Krewe of Clearlight?
Jimmy: We hope to, but like I said, you know, with everybody’s schedules. That band was a really hard band to keep going ‘cause the music was so challenging for us, you know. But, yeah, it was fun as well. I don’t know. We’ll see. We want to, you know.
Buick: I thought I saw you playing with a blues band at Pepper Keenan’s bar Le Bon Temps Roule.
Jimmy: Yeah, that was with K-Lord and the Disciples. That’s the singer from Buzz.Oven. And he has some singer/songwriter stuff, and every now and then he’ll come down and we’ll do a gig. It’s cool stuff. I like singer/songwriter-type stuff, you know. And, yeah, it’s cool.
Buick: Well, being a New Orleans citizen, the topic of the oil spill is unavoidable. What would you like to say about that?
Jimmy: BP’s a bunch of fucking assholes. And thanks for destroying the best city in America cause it’s unfixable now. And the fact that we know how to fix the problem, but they won’t even let us do it…People are gonna revolt and I hope they do. And I hope fucking…It just sheds light on how lame our government is, and how lame BP is, and how lame corporate business is to just let a city like New Orleans go down the fucking tubes like it’s gonna do. New Orleans is over with. Yeah, you take away the seafood industry and all that, you know, all we have is music, you know. I don’t know. We’ll see.
Buick: Yeah, I don’t understand why they don’t let all the people with boats go out with a bunch of hay and just soak it up as much as they can, but they won’t let them.
Jimmy: No. Well, that’s what I’m saying. Hopefully they’ll take matters in their own hands. They proposed using our own sand and our own dirt…they want to use our own sand and build, like, a barrier; 65 miles of barrier. And to me, that’s sounds like the best idea because the barrier will soak the oil up and not the marsh. Once it’s in the marsh…I predict by probably next week or the week after that, it’ll be in the lake, and then maybe people will wake up. Seems like people are starting to wake up now.
Jimmy: Yeah, there will be some type of revolt, you know. Some type of violent matter I’m sure.
Buick: Are you going to take part in it?
Jimmy: If I find out about it and know about it, I will.
Buick: Well maybe you should organize…
Jimmy: I grew up my entire life fishing in Louisiana water and, you know, you can’t do that anymore. Do you understand that? You cannot do that anymore. You cannot fish in Louisiana waters for at least 10 to 15 years considering if they cap it. So, you know, like you punch a hole in the Earth, what do you expect. You know, it’s pretty ridiculous, saddening, and disgusting, you know, so. New Orleans has endured a lot of shit, but this is just ridiculous. To just sit back and watch the country think that we’re a bunch of ignorant fucks, and we don’t know anything. “Aww, we don’t need New Orleans.” Okay, fine. Listen to the thing Garland Robinette said. It’s like 17 minutes long. He sums it up perfectly. We supply America with 30% of its energy. And you cut us off, we’ll cut you off. And then see how you do without your cars and…I just think it’s fucked up. Next question.
Buick: Well, is there anything else you would like to say?
Jimmy: Just thank you to everybody who’s ever, like, supported the band through the years. And hopefully with this new record we can regain everyone’s vibe again and enjoy this band for the rest of our lives. What started out to be a joke band has turned into something bigger than we ever thought it would be. And we just don’t want to let anybody down, you know. Just thank you to everybody who’s ever supported us and gave a fuck, you know.
Buick: And try to keep New Orleans alive, at least through music.
Jimmy: Yeah, cause they ain’t gonna do it through oysters or shrimp. Sure sucks, man.
Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.
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