Eyehategod has meant a lot to us here in scrawlshop zine - even the aesthetics of the print version directly came out of listening to their CD's / vinyl drunk & stoned & doing collages inspired by the album sleeves... since the early 90's all of us, most of our readers and tons of other bands, zines and artists and writers have done a lot of partying, introspection all sorts of other things, with Eyehategod's music lyrics & artwork an inspiration and constant companion, black days or not. we promised to get the interview for #11 - we managed to track down vocalist Mike Williams in Louisiana for a cool interview (many thanks, man) on the Eyehategod lifestyle, from his own point of view. put on any of their records on your damaged stereos, and take a few double shots...
Ahh those shows went fantastic, we always get good crowds around Mardi Gras cos there’s a lot of out-of-towners here for the carnival spectacle. As far as crazy partying, just your normal everyday boozin’, smokin’, and pranks. When you live in New Orleans, it’s Mardi Gras 365 days a year. There’s always a reason (maybe ‘excuse’ is a better word!) to drink way too much.
what do you think of the many bands, artists and zines you've inspired, in different genres, when you see or hear their stuff?
I think it’s a beautiful thing to have inspired such ugliness! It is a really cool thing and I am proud as piss to be a part of their worlds. I appreciate the bands that go the musical route and use the slow and heavy riffing, but I especially love when they are influenced by the art and lyrics but not so much our sounds. One case in point is the band LickGoldenSky. They got their name from some of my lyrics and their own lyrical style is kinda similar to my own, pretty cryptic and done in a stream-of-consciousness fashion. Their music is great as well, totally original and sick, but not a trace of EHG blatant plagiarism. I love to hear everyday about artists, writers, and musicians who’ve been influenced by EHG. That, to me, is the reason that makes playing in this band all worthwhile.
have you checked out the EYEHATEGOD tribute that emetic is putting out? which bands would be your favorites and what do you think of brutal truth reuniting after they recorded your song sister fucker?
Yeah, of course. The “For the Sick” double LP is fucking brilliant. Chris Johnson (our tour manager) and Emetic Records did a great job .I like Bloody Panda, Byzantine, Brutal Truth, Unholy Three, If He Dies He Dies, Ozenza, Watch Them Die, Rue et al. I’m glad to see Brutal Truth back together. I sang on a Germs cover song “Media Blitz” with them a long while back, so having worked with them before, it’s great to hear them cover one of our songs. They do a top-notch job. Let’s hope they stay together this time. All great kids, those Brutal Truth fellas. The whole project is flattering to say the least, I never thought we’d have anything like this out. Y‘know I’d always see other band tributes and think what was the point ,but when its our music it’s a whole ‘nother feeling. I wanna thank all those groups personally someday for showing us the love..
they say albums are like documentations of a specific time or era in a bands career. what are your favorite ehg albums/releases and what was the atmosphere going on bandwise at the time you were recording them?
My favorite EHG records I’d pick as far as the experience I had during which they were recorded would be ALL of them. But every record we’ve done has been fun and is a fucked up snapshot of the band, warts and all. If I had to pick one over the other, it’d be “Take as Needed…” I was living on the streets of the French Quarter in an old ambulance that I’d bought for 500 bucks from one of my stripper ex-girlfriend’s parents at the time, drinking booze excessively. The other guys were engulfed in smoke, and I remember me & Jimmy getting in a disagreement ‘cos I needed beer money, but they wanted a couple of ounces of the green. I figured that we’d split it up evenly, even though I wanted some of both. This was 1993. We had run of the studio, which was in an old 18 story building downtown, on the 13th floor. Is that bad luck? I ain’t know.
in the "dopesick" and "take as needed for pain" days, eyehategod came up with some really sick and fucked up riffs and lyrics, can you say that drugs were helpful to the band creatively during that time?
Oh yeah, sure, drugs definitely influenced some of those lyrics one way or another, but I don’t know if I’d say that they were helpful, because no matter what they’ve inadvertently done for me creatively, they sooner or later can be a hindrance. On “Take as Needed” I’d say alcohol was more of a staple for me than drugs. Not to say that I didn’t smoke a little and partake in minor pharmaceuticals. Although during the “Dopesick” sessions, things were a total fucking mess. I believe anything and everything were ingested and I think it ultimately affected the final mix. In my opinion, I’d love to re-record that LP. Plus the bass playing on this one was pretty much not up to par either. Overall, it’s a good raw album, but the state of mind we were all in probably took a toll. EHG would sound like this I think, whether drugs were involved or not. At least I’d like to think so.
(left: destroying CBGB ; right: Eyehategod crowd action at a Zeppelin's show)
when you were in jail were you able to come up with any lyrics or musical ideas? some musicians say jail does kill creativity in some way, is this true on your part?
All I most definitely did was read and write constantly. The new stuff that I’ve written since Katrina and the first jail stint are not directly influenced by those events. In other words, if you read them you can figure out that I’ve probably been through some more shit. That’s life, but it’s not obvious in the writing. At least, not to me. It’s disturbing and messed up and strange either way (that’s life, again). I simply couldn’t stop thinking about what new bands I wanna start, or books to do, etc… but back to the lyrics, they’re different, but the same. Life can kill creativity, much less anything or everything else. It’s such a dichotomy, you’re either influenced or discouraged by daily events, good or bad. Jail is no place for anyone. Sleeping with one eye open ain’t fun.
New Orleans has been a direct influence on Eyehategod's music and lyrics, what is it about NOLA do you think heavily affects your work?
Man, New Orleans, to me, has been a source of motivation to no end. As far as why, I dunno, but the oppressive heat, the fucked government, the corrupt cops, as well as the super hospitable folks, the beautiful architecture, and the “free” atmosphere, have all contributed to all the NOLA bands sounds, each and every one different in their own original way.
can you tell us something about your other bands, OO, arson anthem + noise collaborations, etc.
Outlaw Order has the “Legalize Crime” 7” out on CD at the moment and is probably getting a new drummer as we also have a bunch of songs from before the hurricane that we wanna record and don’t want to just waste them The Arson Anthem band is an 80’s style punk metal band that I sing for with Hank Williams III on drums and Phil Anselmo on guitar and our friend Colin Yeo on bass. I just got the mastered LP and it’s going to be out soon. The new Down LP has been kinda priority with Philip at the moment, but I talked to Shelton and we (A.A) are going to do some shows once we all get time. I’ve done a bunch of noise/power electronics, most notably and recently with Chicago weirdos BloodyMinded. I’m also starting another band with my friend Louie who was in a local band , the Persuaders a while back.. He also does a one man band which is pretty fucked up. That group with him is gonna be all lo-fi punk shit. Tons of ideas , not enough hours in the days to get ‘em all put together.
(left: Preaching the end time message at Zeppelins; right: more Eyehategod crowd action at Zeppelin's)
i heard your 2nd book is already finished, when are you releasin' it?
Yeah, the 2nd book I’ve written is typed and ready. I just need a publisher, or money to do it myself. If anybody wants to help, write to me. I have some of my art in a magazine called “Timeless” from Italy that’ll be out soon. These type of things are what I want to do more of, especially writing. I do contributions to literary and rock journalism magazines as well. My first one, “Cancer as A Social Activity” is almost sold out and I’m hoping to get it picked up by a bigger company and doing the second printing.
which writers or artists do you think have made an impact on you and your work and why?
William Vollman, Jeff Vandermeer, John Fante, Charles Bukowski, Clive Barker, William S. Burroughs, JP Sartre, and that one guy who writes on the wall at the local barroom … As far as the “why?” ….why not?
do you still hang out or are in contact with ex members? how about the old vocalist?
Most of the guys, yeah. Jimmy talks to the old singer sometimes. I haven’t seen him since he came to see us in San Diego fucking years ago. I see Steve Dale, the first bassist; Danny Nick, an old bassist; Marc, another old bassist - I guess that they are all bassists that we’ve kicked out.
(big pimpin' at CBGB's pics by Ralphy Boy of Disassociate)
any comments on the current state of heavy music right now - do you still check out the newer bands?
Yeah, I try to keep up with the majority of ‘em. Bands like Wake Up On Fire, Witchcraft, 400 Blows, Coliseum, Inepsy, Severed Head of State, Hellshock ,Black Eye Riot, Alehammer…I’m listen to a lot of old records right now, punk and Oi and such, so I don’t keep up with the newer bands as much as I should. It’s overwhelming. I make lists of all the cool groups I read about and wanna hear, but there’s so much stuff to look for, that I just don’t have the time. When someone sends me a CD or demo though, I usually listen to it possible.
lastly i was reading a few old interviews and i've seen this band crazy band called fuckmouth (i hope i got the name right) supposedly a grindcore band, mentioned in some eyehategod articles can you tell us more about them?
Fuckmouth is a band that follows EHG occasionally on tour and in NOLA. They’ve been known to force their way into the clubs and on stage, only to assault my band members, resulting in violence and battery back, commandeering equipment and playing 2-3 second blast beats and grind songs, fighting audience members, then disappearing thru stage exits, and then, only after the smoke clears, calling our cell phones and inciting more drama, issuing threats ‘til the next “confrontation”…. Bastards…. I hate ‘em…. If they’re reading this: one day fuckers, one day… thanks rallye -- be cool, folks
----------WORD ASSOCIATION LIST---------
ABSINTHE---HARD TO FIND
ANAL CUNT---COMA CORE
ACID BATH---SHORT LIVED
CENTURY MEDIA---OWES MONEY
click here for the Eyehategod through time lineup list.
you can send correspondence, zines and stuff through: Mike Williams, PO Box 4362, Covington, LA, 70434 -4362 USA
images borrowed from myspace sites, ralphy boy's site and southernnihilismfront.com - thanks!