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Q&a Jesse Hughes - Punching Metallica, annoying Axl Rose, Eagles Of Death Metal & going solo...

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As if being band mates and best friends with Queens Of The Stone Age’sJosh Homme and having Foo FightersDave Grohl on speeddial isn’t exciting enough, Eagles Of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes is going solo under the name Boots Electric. With his album, Honkey Kong out on September 19 (the same day he plays London’s XOYO), Q caught up with him about his new Boots… his love of women and a certain Guns ‘N’ Roses singer…

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Hello Jesse, how the devil are you?

|I’m fucking great. I say this every time, but it’s true. Every second I get to be in this world and in this job is the greatest day of my life. I mean I’m in fucking London on a rooftop right now smoking American Camels talking to you, that’s pretty fucking cool.”

What made you decide to go it alone?

“It was an inevitable thing I guess. The family that I’m from, the people that I know, I’ve learnt so much about production and songwriting and I feel obliged to show my friends by taking something and doing something with it and advancing the cause and making the family bigger. Josh’s idea with Eagles Of Death Metal was always that I’d go away and learn shit myself, then when we’d go back and make the next album it’d be like a supergroup record. And that’s why when I’m done with this cycle we’ll make the new Eagles album.”

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You didn’t fancy just putting your feet up after the EoDM album?

“I’m a shark, not a snake, and if I stop swimming I drown. You’ve got to keep going forward, and you’ve got to grow. I want to be able to make music, and you want to be able to advance it. And most importantly I just want to make people shake their dick and have a good time! I want to get better at that. I believe if you want to be the best, you steal from the best. The Rolling Stones were a very poor imitation of Chuck Berry, but they were fucking badass. Sometimes when you suck at one thing it’s rad, and we suck great.”

Brody Dalle and Juliette Lewis guest on Honkey Kong, and you did a “Ladies only” gig last time you toured the UK, you have quite a heavy female influence on your music?

“Big time! Women influence everything I do. Always have – from my Grandmothers who are tattooed on my arms, to my mother who is my hero. I have high expectations of women because I think women are amazing, and I don’t mean that in a cheeky sexist kind of way, I mean for real. With Eagles of Death Metal it’s like the classic celebration of machismo and sexuality via women. But this album, to me, was my love letter to women. And having strong women like Brody and Juliette – Juliette taught me how to be a singer without a guitar. You can hear it on the album, I’m just singing to women.”

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The album was a lot more structured that we’d expected. You’re not just a hell raiser are you?

“When I went in there for the first four months of sessions the songs were like Eagles Of Death Metal songs, and then Juliette came in and Money Mark started to challenge me and it brought the levels up to here. I was learning from myself in a weird way, and I was in the practical operation process of making music. I was drawing examples from the best in the business so by virtue of fact it had to be structured.”

Sounds like you got a hand from your heroes and heroines. You’ve not always had such luck, what happened when you got booted off Guns’N’Roses’ 2006 tour?

“We were on tour with Joan Jett and we got the call from Tommy Stinson to play with GNR, and it was the greatest honour ever, because quite frankly, Appetite For Destruction is single-handedly the last great rock n roll album truly ever made of the old world, in my opinion, and every member of G’N’R, Izzy, Slash and Duff especially are big heroes of mine. So when I got there I was in a 25,000 seat arena with only 500 kids, not one of them even born when Appetite For Destruction came out. When we went on, I also noticed a good third of the crowd were our fans…. So by the third song in the G’N’R set when Axl asked the crowd: What did you think of the Pigeons of Shit Metal? You better feel sorry for them little fellas it’s their last night on the tour.

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The first two seconds I was horrified then I though wait a minute: Axl Rose is a fucking asshole. He’s become consumed by the worst things and he’s about to get kicked out of the rock club, and I’m thinking that possibly the Gods Of Rock sent me to let him know in a weird way.”

Did you see his onstage protest at Reading Festival last year after he’d come on late? If Axl hates you that has to be a good thing now, right?

“Axl isn’t a representative of rock n roll anymore. You don’t make an album like Chinese Democracy and have any respect for anyone. You don’t waste millions and millions of dollars and literally kill a couple of businesses if you respect them at all. And you don’t respect what you were. The rock went to Velvet Revolver [with Slash and Duff McKagan], and Axl was just left with two letters: G and R.”

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It’s just a shame there isn’t a Metallica-style Some Kind Of Monster documentary, capturing all this though…

“The one where they’re in therapy? That was gross. It was an awesome documentary, but in the same way that Spinal Tap was awesome for Rob Reiner, but not awesome for the people it was making fun of.

Lars and I got into a little scuffle once at [club] Slims on my very first tour with Placebo with Eagles Of Death Metal, and I knocked him flat on his ass. Almost two years later I was at the Sportsman’s Lodge [in Burbank] and I turn a corner and there’s James Hetfield. He stands up, and I’m thinking I’m gonna have to fight him! He goes Are you the one who fucking hit Lars? I admitted it and he’s like C’mere and he gave me a hug. And not in a disrespectful way to his band mate! Just more like, Good on ya.”

Finally, can you be in a band again after going solo?

“That’s really all I was working for. I think if you have simple and noble intentions, it will allow for greater things. The whole reason I initially wanted to put out a solo record was to make me more worthy of Eagles Of Death Metal. If you can’t be a member of a band, you can’t stand alone, and vice versa. This is all leading up to what, I think, will be the best Eagles Of Death Metal record.”

Joe Bishop

Hear more at Boots-electric.com.


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