Eagles of Death Metal - Speaking In Tongues

Josh and Jesse
reunite for
Eagles of Death Metal

© Alex de Mora

Words by:

Sugar daddy sleaze, endless sideburns, garage-punk scuzz and crotch-grabbing inappropriateness – that’s the Eagles of Death Metal in a nutshell. Comprised of Queens of the Stone Age founder Josh “Baby Duck” Homme and Jesse “The Devil” Hughes, the band formed in 1998 as a means to realise the pair’s most depraved hard rock fantasies.

With a swagger that’s littered with cocaine kisses, winks and nudges, they’re like a pair of sexy UPS men, delivering a twofold package of rawness and showmanship, then inviting themselves in to take a look around. Now, seven years on from the muck-drenched diamond Heart On, the impresarios of innuendo are back with their fourth full-length, Zipper Down.

We pinned Josh and Jesse down backstage at London’s KOKO, handed over a couple of sheets of questions and asked them to fire away. Did they like the questions? No, they hated them. Did they ask them anyway? Well, sort of – but they kept on truckin’. Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve heard of Frost/Nixon. It’s time for Hughes/Homme. Jacuzzi!

Josh: So, Jesse Boots, were you stoked to be back in the studio with Eagles Of Death Metal? These guys want me to say ‘back in the studio with me’, but I wanna keep it more general.

Jesse: Of course I was, any opportunity I get to hang out with you Baby Duck. It’s a dream job, for one, and you also have a wonderful studio to visit. It’s like a respite for me – it’s really, truly an escape.

Josh: Now – you’re supposed to ask me some stuff.

Jesse: They want me to say why did we leave it so long since Heart On and did you miss me, but…

Josh: Well, I don’t think we miss each other because we see each other all the time. People think we don’t see each other when we’re not making a record, but we hang out all the time.

Jesse: I call you once a day.

Josh: We live like, three miles from each other.

Jesse: Actually I think it’s two-and-a-half miles, as the crow flies.

Josh: So it’s not a situation where we miss each other cause we see each other all the time.

Jesse: The only thing we miss is the opportunity to make music together, y’know.

Josh: But that’s just because life gets in the way, things take however long they take. But this album’s right on time.

Jesse: It’s like Jurassic Park, y’know – “life will find a way”.

Josh: Yeah, and we like to give each other those T-Rex hugs with the little arms.

Jesse: Like, ‘I can’t reach all the way.’ Josh: ‘Can you pick up my glasses?’

Jesse: ‘I can’t get them, my arms are too small!’ [laughs]

Josh: OK, the next question is going to blow your mind. I don’t love this next question but: is this the best Eagles of Death Metal record yet?

Jesse: I really don’t think we compete with the albums amongst themselves. Each album is unto itself and we just try to make the best record we can make.

Josh: I don’t play this game. Y’know, like: ‘uh, I’m gonna show that other record who’s boss!’

Jesse: [laughs] Yeah – ‘that other record’s going to be sorry it ever came out!’

Josh: You’ll be sorry, song number six! So, next one – hit me. This is gonna be a good one. This one’s going to go deep.

Jesse: How are my guitar chops on this album?

Josh: What I like about your guitar chops is that they’re served bone end, and they’re cooked perfectly and seasoned properly.

Jesse: Have you ever tried to bone out?

Josh: I’ve definitely tried to extract the bone, but it’s always too late. OK, next question: why do we have the Star Trek artwork for our single Complexity?

Jesse: Well, we wanted to do this thing, like, dynamic duos, and that was just one of the dynamic duos we thought of. But I wanted to shake it up and turn it on its ear. Cause everyone would always do Kirk and Spock, but I wanted to do the red shirt guy – like, is he an incidental character? Is he Scotty? What the shit is going on? Are we giving it all we’ve got, Captain?

Josh: I love that you like to shake up the box, turn it on its ear and examine the tortoise. I don’t know if you guys have ever heard the phrase ‘examine the tortoise’, but it’s deep. It’s a desert phrase. OK, next. Do you … [sighs deeply] … believe in aliens? – God, I hate this question.

"Does my dick make me look fat? That's my question for the day." - Jesse Hughes

Jesse: No, no – let me answer the question. You would have to be fucking moron to not understand that aliens are simply near airforce bases – so if you want to keep the Russians from knowing what you’re doing, you neither confirm nor deny aliens. What kind of fucking dipshit believes in aliens anyway? Unless you’re talking about illegal aliens or Hispanics or those types of aliens – I believe in them 100% and I support them.

Josh: OK, next. Do you believe in London? I’m mixing some of the questions. The questions were ‘do you like being in London’ and ‘do you believe in aliens’, but I’m asking ‘do you believe in London?’ Do you believe London exists?

Jesse: I believe that what’s done cannot be undone – not here and not in Lon-don. That’s what I believe.

Josh: I think that’s a fine answer.

Jesse: That’s from an ABC song, by the way, from the album How To Be A Zillionaire, with the hit Be Near Me. Do you remember, that was a sixth and seventh grade dance song? [sings] Come on, you know it! We’re gonna listen to it after this.

Josh: In the jacuzzi [laughs]. ‘We’re gonna go to the jacuzzi room and we’re going to listen to this song till you get it.’

Jesse: Hey – y’know, back when I waited tables, I waited on the Jacuzzi family.

Josh: The original?

Jesse: Yeah, the actual Jacuzzi family. They were bubbly, the whole time they were bubbly, and very hot, very fevered.

Josh: That’s cool, anyone else of note?

Jesse: Yeah – [basketball legend] Julius Erving, Dr. J.

Josh: Ooh.

Jesse: And I waited on Clint Eastwood and the wife that played the redhead in Unforgiven, I waited on them … Oh, and I waited on Ruby Keeler. That was amazing – Ruby Keeler was one of the original showgirl dancers, she was in that film Gold Diggers of 1933, and she has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She came in in her wheelchair, she was really old. When I recognised her she started to cry because no one had recognised her in years.

Josh: Oh, you do that. You tug on the heartstrings of many a peep. You’re notorious for yanking a string. An inappropriate string.

Jesse: An inappropriate string yanker.

© Alex de Mora

Josh: OK, next: who’s the fastest runner between us?

Jesse: Well I ran track, and I ran the 400m and 800m which is the longest in sprint. But I don’t think, out of the gate in a quarter horse race, I think your legs are longer than mine and they would just trump me.

Josh: Primarily now, I only run if I’m being chased. In an attack situation.

Jesse: Yeah – by police in Scotland.

Josh: Our guitar tech got arrested in Scotland last night. He was having a heated discussion with a security guard, and the other guy opened a metal door into his head, so our guitar tech punched him, and the security guard was like, ‘I’m gonna press charges’. That’s the type of world we live in now, where you get your butt kicked and you’re straight away talking about pressing charges.

Jesse: Which is foreign to us because when we were kids, the first time I got
in a fight in third grade and I went and told my Mom, she looked at me with this incredulous face and said ‘Do you want to wear one of my bras? What do you want
from me? Get tougher or find a new way to get to school.’

Josh: Sometimes you get your butt kicked, that’s how it goes. I’ve had my ass whipped before. But you don’t say ‘Oh, I’m gonna press charges cause that guy was tougher than me.’

Jesse: OK next, what’s your favourite death metal song. Do you have one?

Josh: I don’t think I know any death metal songs by name, although I’ve heard tons of death metal. I like the over-doing-it-ness of death metal. Everything is the most it can be. The cookie monster vocals. Kind of a meat grinder sound.

Jesse: It’s kind of robotic. Duh-duh-duh- duh-duh.

Josh: Yes, but played by very dedicated Swedes and Scandinavians – I dig that.

Jesse: What I love about death metal is, on stage they look like Kabuki monsters, but when they come off, they wear clogs. They’re the nicest guys.

Josh: I’ll say that. Next, what would your dream band-line up be that you’d be the frontman of?

Jesse: Oh, I like this question.

Josh: Thanks, I came up with it all by myself. Jacuzzi!

Jesse: Bernie Worrell from Parliament, Clyde Stubblefield from James Brown. Jaco Pastorius on bass, and erm … I love The Strokes guitarist – Nicky. So Nick would be on there, and George Harrison, because he would be alive in the dream.

Josh: OK, guys, this has been a lot of fun – well, it hasn’t been that much fun, but it’s been a certain amount of fun. But I don’t like some of these questions, they’re putting us at odds. I don’t think we should arm wrestle. So let’s get into the Jacuzzi!

Jesse: No, I have one question left: does my dick make me look fat? That’s my new question for the day.

Josh: It makes you look happy.

Jesse: My dick makes me look happy.

Josh: Just as long as you don’t look it in the eye.

Zipper Down is out now via T-Boy / Universal Music

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