Eagles of Death Metal - interview

Ladies men

What started out as a joke has become a full-time concern for Eagles of Death Metal. Lori Anderson joins them on tour to find out just why women love them.

When I first met Jesse ‘The Devil’ Hughes he did not strike me as a man at whom frilly black panties are routinely tossed. Hair slicked back with sweat, eyes shielded by aviator shades and lips shrouded by a long dropping moustache that more closely resembled a caterpillar on a cocktail of Rogaine and steroids, he leaned forward and whispered, ‘love that handbag, who is it by?’

Gazing down at my tan leather clutch bag, I felt it only hospitable to both answer and return the compliment - ‘It’s an Yves Saint Laurent and I’m loving the 1972 San Francisco bathhouse look, Jesse.’

Two years later and onstage at London’s Soho Revue bar and the boy is draped in more lace than a Parisienne bordello, courtesy of a near orgasmic audience only too happy to flaunt their availability.

Unlike the typical rock gig, the club is awash with oestrogen as the Eagles of Death Metal play an exclusive concert for ‘Ladies Only’.

But then again every night is ‘ladies’ night’ with these four guys from Southern California, whose kitschy ‘full tilt boogie rock’n’ roll’ could start a party in a morgue.

What started back in 1998 as a side-project for Queens of the Stone Age frontman, Josh Homme, has now truly taken flight and become greater than the sum of its parts.

As the band embark on their first headlining world tour, Mr Homme, who traditionally plays drums for the group, is back in LA, replaced by the mercilessly handsome, ex-QOTSA Gene Trautmann. This leaves all the more love for ‘The Devil’ Hughes who not only has the best tunes named after him, such as ‘Kiss The Devil’ and ‘Chase the Devil,’ but knows how to fill a spotlight.

Onstage Jesse wears jeans so tight even the slinkiest ferret would suffocate before it reached his knee, and is whipping the audience into a spellbound frenzy. Brian ‘Big Hands’ O’Connor may look like Bill the Butcher from Gangs of New York, but as he told Chris Shiflett, from The Foo Fighters who urged him to box, ‘I’m a lover not a fighter’. Then there is Dave Catching, whose lab goggle specs are there to protect him from the Promethean sparks leaping from the power chords of his Flying V.

Before gigs the band warm up like every 17-year-old does before a night out, by blasting out favourite tracks. Tonight the dressing room reverberates to the Sonics and the Damned. Afterwards, it’s booze, and for the single ones, ‘the lay-deez’ . . .

The last time the band played Glasgow, the only backstage betty putting her wares about was an inflatable doll waiting expectantly in the corner of their dressing room. Tonight back in the bar, as rounds of tequila are going down smooth, the testosterone fuelled rock and roll maelstrom is about to begin. Jessie is throwing out his boomerang of love, as he dubs his moustache, and seeing what it brings back. It seems that tonight, someone will succumb to Death By Sexy.

ABC, Glasgow, Mon 5 Mar.

Eagles of Death Metal

Queens of the Stone Age-affiliated sleazy rock'n'rollers.

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