What were you doing in 1993? I was a teenager living in a stifling fundamentalist Northwest home where rock was forbidden, trying to come to terms with some incredible developments in heavy music. Just up the I-5 aways, there was an oasis of chaos and I longed to be right in the heart of the cesspool, where Melvins, Soundgarden, TAD, Mudhoney, and Nirvana were busy infecting mainstream culture. We’d just moved to Oregon from a little one-horse town in East Texas known as Wills Point, nestled in between Dallas and Tyler. Little did I know (and later would come to regret) that I was so very close to another mind-blowing music scene that would have sent my parents into hysterics.
Recently, TAPE JUNKIE posted this short documentary about EYEHATEGOD. It was filmed circa 1992-93 with Mike, Joey, Mark, and Jimmy, just as the NOLA sludge machine was hitting its stride: five years as a band and a record deal in hand. The well-worn and color-washed VHS copy of Peace Through Addiction (the de facto motto of the band) opens with stairwell recitation of The Lord’s Prayer (emphasis on “Lead us NOT into temptation!”). Cue heavy riffs and title cards. Easter Eggs ahead! Somewhere around minute seven, the tape cuts out. I suspect there is more (no doubt someone in our readership has the complete copy). I was able to, nonetheless, salvage some interesting quotes.
On the band’s history: “Jimmy is the only original member left in the band from when Eyehategod first spawned,” guitarist Mark Schulz tells the interviewer. “I’ve been in bands for about 10 years,” singer Mike Williams relates. “First band I was in was called Teenage Waste – I was like 14 – then Suffocation by Filth. Eyehategod’s the best one, though, because it’s about more of what I want to do.”
On their name: “It’s not about religion at all, it’s all addiction. It’s all about individualism. Not having to depend on nobody but yourself.”
On their sound: “We’re not concerned what other people think of our music,” says drummer Joey LaCaze. "We’re satisfied with what we do.” Jimmy Bower chimes in: “It wasn’t taken seriously to begin with, it was just an outlet for the band to have fun and get loaded and just jam.” Mike IX is brutally honest: “I don’t want to sing. I can’t sing. I’m just venting my frustrations, really.”
On their songs: “The lyrics are just kind of abstract. Things I think about all the time,” Mike reveals. “Just things I write off the top of my head, you know? Writers I like: Charles Bukowski, William Burroughs. That’s what mainly influences the lyrics, because I read a lot, believe it or not. Charles Bukowski, man, is like the best, to me, because he’s a total alcoholic and I can relate to that,” he adds with a laugh and knowing smile. “I’d rather not quit drinking because I enjoy it. It numbs me, you know? It puts me in a state of mind. That’s what I like about it.”
On their first and second albums: “The new stuff we’re writing just sounds so much more real. The album we put out sounds good and everything, it’s got good songs,” Mark says (speaking of the just released debut, ‘In The Name of Suffering’), “but the stuff we’re writing right now is so much smoother. There’s just so much more feel in it.” Shortly after the release of this doc, EHG would release, 'Take As Needed For Pain’ (2013) with some of the most iconic songs in their discography.
On the scene: “Down here in New Orleans everything is centered around drinking and getting fucked up.”
On success: “People are into making their lives successful and everything,” Jimmy reflects. “We’ve just fucking realized the fact that we’re all losers, man.” Later, he adds: “We were just like, 'Let’s start a band that doesn’t give a fuck about nothing, man, and not even take it seriously.’”
On life and death: “The way I look at it, it’s slow suicide, you know?” Mike offers in a ponderous moment. “I couldn’t kill myself with a gun or nothing. I’d rather just drink myself to death.”
On kinship: “None of us have anything, man, so our friends are like our most important thing, you know?”
On their message: “It’s about waking up people. Making people realize the violence, you know? People live so sheltered lives they don’t realize what’s going on.” It doesn’t take long for clarity to take hold: “We promote drug usage, just free will for everybody. If you want to use drugs, you’re an addict, we’re not bothered by it. We’ve got our own lives to lead and we’re not concerned about anybody else.”
On Saturday night, Ku Klux Klan supporters distributed homespun flyers to encourage voting in and around the Sabine, Louisiana area, according to Louisiana blogger Lamar White Jr. A single white Life Saver candy accompanied the typed mailer. That’s not a subtle metaphor.
Now, a few months later, water in this Louisiana town of about 1,000 shows high amounts of lead in some samples, and it may be dangerous.
On December 16th, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a public health emergency in the town after two of 13 site samples the day before showed elevated levels of lead, which was absent from water samples at the start of the year.