For over two decades, New Orleans’ legendary sludge metal pioneers Eyehategod have created a proud name for themselves in heavy music, influencing countless along the way. Touring Australia in January in celebration of their 25th anniversary, we chat to guitarist Jimmy Bower about the band’s highly-anticipated fifth album and new drummer Aaron Hill.
Hey there Jimmy, how are you?
Good man, good. Just chilling out.
Right off the bat, I want to talk about the new album. It’s finished, right?
Yeah, yeah. We’ve just got to finish up the artwork, which is almost done. We’re looking at getting it out by April, it should be out by then.
Exciting stuff. How was the recording process? You worked with Billy Anderson, who produced ‘Dopesick’?
Yeah, we used Billy to track the drums and then we did everything else on our own. Guitars and bass we did up in our jam room. The vocals, Mike did out by his house, which Phil [Anselmo] helped him out with. He lives out by Phil, so they worked together on the vocals. We had it mixed by Sanford Parker.
How are you feeling about finally getting the album out?
Well, this record’s pretty much a compilation. We haven’t put a record out in thirteen years, so it’s from around late 2005 on to like 2012, you know? Some of the songs are a lot more recent and some of them are a little older. We’re excited about it. It came out really good, and we’re excited to finally, finally get it out.
You guys have got Aaron Hill behind the kit for you guys now, how’s he been fitting into the fold?
It was a pretty tough situation for him to walk in on, but he’s doing really good. It was a big deal for us that whoever we got would be from New Orleans, you know? He’s a fan of Joey [LaCaze’s] playing, and us as a band. It worked out good, considering.
On that note; with Joey’s passing, was there ever a point where you thought maybe you wouldn’t continue as a band?
Not at all. If you knew Joey, he was the kind of dude who would not have wanted us to quit doing it all. We worked for 25 years to get the band to where it is. It kind of became a grieving process for us, instead of sitting around and bumming out we got to work. It is what it is.
For sure. Eyehategod recently played Phil Anselmo’s inaugural Housecore Horror film festival, how was that?
Yeah, that was killer, man. Really amazing, especially for its first time. Just the fact that they had horror movies and metal put together, it was really cool. Tons of really great bands. I hope they do it again.
You guys are coming down under next month for the 25th anniversary shows. You were here last year, I’m pretty sure that was the first time Eyehategod had toured Australia, right?
Yeah, last year in I think November, we’d never been there before.
How were those shows?
They were great, man. It was really cool to go over and play to people that have waited for so long for us to come over. After going over there that first time, it doesn’t seem that hard to do it the second time around so we’re really excited about going back, it should be great.
Given that the shows are for the band’s 25th anniversary, have you guys tried to do anything with the setlist as far as making it an even spread of material?
Totally. We had a lot of time to learn with Aaron, so we went and tried to pick out as many of the songs we thought people would want to hear, and obviously songs that we like to jam. We’ve got about four or five new ones that we’re playing, so it should be pretty interesting, because we’ve also been able to kind of re-learn some songs that we haven’t done in a while, so that’s always cool too.
Eyehategod tour Australia in January. Dates and details here.