Nikki Roberts | September 2017
On Saturday, September 2nd, sludge metal band EYEHATEGOD hit the Cobra Lounge as part of their Left to Starve Summer Tour. This show was the first of the band's two-night run in Chicago and marked a special night for the group; after falling ill and receiving a liver transplant, these two shows were vocalist Mike Williams' first time back with EYEHATEGOD in Chicago. Before experiencing the group's face melting walls of feedback, I got to sit down with Williams and guitarist Jimmy Bower to talk about their southern influences, favorite spots in Chicago, and their 30-year anniversary plans in 2018. Read a short excerpt below, or the full interview here.
Nikki Roberts: So, last night you played Pittsburgh and tonight you play Chicago, which is a much bigger city. What's the difference between those kind of shows and hometown shows in the south?
B: We just played New Orleans and it wasn’t really that killer.
W: Hometown’s always...weird to me.
B: It’s always like “get me on the guest list”, y’know?
W: Everyone wants to get in free, then they just stand at the bar and go “Man I’ve seen EYEHATEGOD like thirty times.” They don’t care.
What was the atmosphere and scene like when you first started playing shows? Before you played all these clubs?
W: When we started playing people hated us.
B: [laughs hysterically]
W: They couldn’t stand it. We were playing something totally new. This whole “sludge” thing [holds up air quotes], quote unquote, we don’t call our music that. We were around before all that. That just is some label they put on it. We were playing slow and opening for these fast speed metal bands.
B: A lot of bands were thrash and speed metal and we were completely a sore thumb.
W: We were into the Melvins and Carnivore and the slower Confessor.
Do you think that's due to more melodic southern influences?
W: There’s southern rock in there.
Both: Lynyrd Skynyrd
B: I like country music.
W: He listens to a lot of country music.
R: I grew up having my dad listen to hair metal. Like Motley Crue, Cinderella, Poison...
B: We liked all that too!
W: Especially back when we were kids.We’re a little bit of everything, y’know, but it comes out being more aggressive. Like he said, he listens to a lot of country; I grew up listening to a lot of country music with my family. Southern rock, punk rock, metal...blues. A lot of blues!
B: When hair metal was big, we were 15 and 16 years old.
W: Well I’m still a huge Motley Crue fan.
It's pretty impressive that, not only have you lasted 30 years, but that you've done so with fairly minimal lineup changes compared to other bands that have lasted for the same length of time. Anything special planned for 30 years of EYEHATEGOD?
W: We’re trying to figure that out, man.
B: We were talking about doing a book
W: That ain’t gonna happen-it’s too late for that.
R: Like a biography kind of book?
B: Just an EYEHATEGOD book with a bunch of pictures and stories.
W: Very graphic. Lots of pictures and flyers and stuff.
B: We’re probably still gonna do it, it’s just not coming out next year.
W: It’s not coming out next year [laughs] We want to do something big next year but I don’t know what to do.
B: We’re going to go back to Europe.
W: Yeah, we’re going to Europe. But just playing a show is not..I mean, I want to do something bigger than that. Something more...celebration.
What's your following like in Europe? What are the shows like in Europe?
W: Just like they are here.
B: They get what we’re doing. We’ve been over there enough. We used to go over there two times a year until he got sick.
W: We’ve probably been there twenty-something times.
B: They get what we’re doing. That whole “heavy stoner” thing’s big over there.
R: Definitely! [laughs and points to Bower’s Sleep shirt]