Thursday, August 2, 2012
Interview -Mike Williams of Eyehategod
When I was in High School every Friday my friends and I would go to the record store and buy albums to play while we got high. Who ever had the the heaviest album would win. It was during one of these escapades that I discovered Eyehategod, their " Take as Needed for Pain" album helped me to win that weekend so I was excited to get the chance to relay that story to front man Mike Williams as well as get to hear the perspective of a man who has been in one of modern metal's most influential bands.
We will get around to the nostalgia , but lets start things off what you guys are doing currently. You have the first album in 12 years coming out. It's called "Whiskey Drink"?
Mike Williams: No. That's not the name, it turned into this big Internet rumor, but it's not true at all we don't even have a name for it. yes we have been playing a new song live " new Orleans is the new Vietnam".But that is totally false and it kinda makes me mad because it's a stupid name.
yeah doesn't really flow with the others. Speaking of creatively do you see this as pick up where you left off?
MW: Right now we are sorting through new songs and talking to all the metal labels. We are trying to see what is going to work out best. As far as the directions it kinda like old "take as needed". We are going to stick to the formula that works. I mean some have more blues to them and some songs are faster,but we are not looking to get experimental and change our sound.
You guys are heading out to Europe for some shows next?
MW: Next Tuesday we head to europe. Then at the end of August dates have some dates on the west coast. We are head lining with local support for those shows. We played the Open Air Festival and it was amazing. One of the best shows we played. There was all types of music there, some heavy bands like Kylesa, Mastodon and Ghost. It was a huge crowd and we were psyched. It was massive the stages were like miles apart. When we walked over to check Ghost out, we must have walked for like fifteen minutes.
So did you come from New Orleans like the rest of the band ?
I have lived there now for the good part of thirty years. I'm originally from from north Carolina, and then lived in New York for three years and took Grey Hound buses to do gigs.
So as far as influences go did you come from a metal background?
Before Eyehategod as a teenager I was in a thrash band called Crawl Space, but I grew up a punk kid. I started off into Black Flag and Circle Jerks and the got in Slayer, Destruction and Sodom.
Now New Orleans is thought of as the Sludge capital of the world , but when you guys came on the scene that wasn't the case. What was the scene in New Orleans like in the early days?
New Orleans has always been huge drinking town so their was no lack of run down dives to play, but it was still very D.I.Y and we would rent out places like the old veterans hall and book like eight bands. At that time kids were all into Slayer and Metallica. We never did the galloping thing like Exodus. Jimmy only had four strings. We weren't doing the whole shredding thing, so a lot of people did not know what to think.Then Then it changed when "Bleach" that first Nirvana came out. Melvins too, we worshiped them but couldn't play their kinda of stuff because we were way sloppier. Those were wild times though, we pushed things to piss people off. crazy shit like wearing a rabbit suit onstage and people would be like what the fuck.
Back when you guys came out there were more bands like D.R.I who crossed over between punk and metal audiences , which did you guys feel you went over better with ?
Punk well...metal crowds can be very picky for sure. We toured with Pantera and White Zombie in 96. Pantera is on of the best live bands for sure. So the plus was I got to see them 60 times but we also got shit thrown at us some shows, then there were others where people would be calling out for songs.
You guys also played a few shows with G.G. Allen, what was that like ?
Those shows were great . We played with him in New Orleans. He got his ass beat. I mean he was a really nice guy when he wasn't on stage.
What about the two other bands I normally think of when it comes to the roots of southern sludge Buzz Oven and Acid Bath. Did you guys play with them much in the earlier days ?
Buzzoven when they came through . Acid Bath is from the swampland and we had already been around for like five years by the time they formed.
What's the scene like in post-Katrina New Orleans now ?
The scene is flourishing. I mean the local government and the justice system is till fucked up , but there's all kinds of shows.We used to get skipped and bands would play Houston Texas instead. There;s alot of new bands bands now and it's pretty awesome.
How has your audience changed over the years or has it ?
Oh it has. There's people coming out with their kids and there kids have found out about us from their parents. Of course there's the internet so some of our younger fans came across us on there, it opened up a whole new fan-base.
Yeah it's not like the old days where you would do tape trading out of the back of Metal Maniacs.
It's a different game, that's why in shopping for a record label we are taking our time to get it right. Things have changed. It took years to get me on twitter but I'm on there. now there's all these different passwords to remember, but you gotta do what you gotta do to keep up if you are in a band shits evolved.
I know you also write , How do you see e-readers like the Kindle changing the publishing industry ? Do you think books are going to go the same route as music?
mean I dont have any friends that have the reading a book on it seems strange. if kids want to read on it then that's fine for them, I just like the feel of a book in my hands.
Speaking of Metal Maniacs you used to work for them at one point?
For the three years I was in New York, But the company that owned it also owned Ebony magazine and a bunch of tabloid like stuff so it's not that they were into metal . But i managed to creep some cool stuff in there like Darkthrone back when their first album came out .
I remember back in the day they wouldn't print stories on Deicide, because they had a problem with Glen Benton.
These two vegan chicks took over and Glen Benton threw like raw meat into the crowd .
You mentioned Darkthrone .I kinda feel like the only new music that's coming out these days with the same scathing misanthropic quality of you guys is black metal. Are you into it at all ?
Black metal ... If some one puts it on at a party I'll listen to it. I like Darkthrone, "Panzer Faust" is my favorite dark throne album, Immortal. Hell-hammer, Sodom, Marduk. I'm not sure if by today's standards they count but Impaled Nazarene. Not really into the whole atmospheric thing...Sorry I'm a little distracted War Beast is down stairs recording for house core records.
So after lifestyle changes how is it being back in the saddle?
We never really split up. we had down time when I was in prison, but we have kept at it we have been to Europe three or four times in the past ten years. I don't do hard stuff but I still drink.
After the events concerning Randy Blythe, How do you see it effecting bands when they tour as well as the experience for the fans?
I have know Randy since he was a punk kid, when we were on tour we used to stay at his house and he would cook breakfast for you in the morning. So it's a fucked up situations, I'm sure as time goes by more information on it will unfold, but we tend to play smaller shows and things get crazy, So you never know, we are playing Prague and with the bigger festival shows there's like a three foot gap between the stage and the crowd so that's never an issue. I mean security is co as long as they don't fuck with people.