Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme are back together. While Eagles of Death Metal has always featured a rotating cast of characters, it’s always been led by Hughes and almost always complemented by Homme, who moonlights as the frontman for Queens of the Stone Age. Zipper Down is the band’s first new record in seven years and it’s the first to include Homme since 2006. It’ll be out on October 2.
“This is something that we’ve done together, and it’s not a side project for him,” said Hughes. “He’s just in two bands. After the album was finished, he’s been really jealous of getting to tour with Eagles of Death Metal because it’s fun.”
Hughes passed the time with a Boots Electric solo record, and Homme worked with Queens of the Stone Age, but the childhood friends wanted to hang out again. So an Eagles of Death Metal record was the most productive plan.
“We probably would have finished it sooner, but Joshua and I spent most of our time hanging out and doing [expletive] up things — terrorizing the studio manager,” he said. “On an average day, at the studio, you could walk in and hear someone ask, ‘Where’s Josh and Jesse?’ and the answer would be, ‘I don’t know, they just bought a remote controlled drone and they’re trying to [expletive] spy on the hot neighbor across the street,’ or ‘They just got a quarter stick of dynamite from a construction dude and they’re trying to blow some…’ I mean that’s kind of what we are getting into. It was awesome.”
One of those Boots Electric tracks gets new life on Zipper Down. “I Love You All the Thyme” was renamed “I Love You All the Time,” and is a tune that Hughes wrote about an ex-girlfriend.
“When you call someone, you’ll never reach them at home, it’s always their cell phone,” he said. “When I was a kid, if you wanted to talk to someone on the phone, you had to ask your mom for permission. Then that person would have to be home. Whenever I was calling this chick, she was never at home. She was always on the go. That made her mobile. So she could always drop in on me.”
Thirty or so members have called themselves a part of the band at some point. Perhaps it was just for a time or two — Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters have both joined the band, as have comedians like Jack Black and Liam Lynch.
“When Joshua and I were bonding as kids, it was over Mitch Hedberg,” he said of the band’s attraction to working with comedians, adding that TJ Miller tops his wishlist of musically gifted comedians that he’d like to perform with. “We’re really big fans of comedy. Bill Hicks was one of our favorites. When I’m writing music, a lot of my songs are written with a [expletive]-eating grin built into it.”
Hughes stopped short of revealing the lineup for the band’s show in Birmingham, conceding that he and Homme enjoyed recording this one; so much that the pair won’t wait seven more years to do it again — and that Homme will be touring with the band “eventually.”
The mythology of the band’s lineup has painted a landscape that Hughes hopes can survive under the Eagles of Death Metal moniker beyond his own time.
“I wanted to turn Eagles of Death Metal into the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus,” he said. “You can still go see Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, but I promise you that the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey are all dead. And yet, their circus survived. That’s what I want Eagles of Death Metal to be.”
Eagles of Death Metal comes to Iron City on Friday, September 25. Jessica Von Rabbit opens. Doors open at 7 p.m., while the show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22.50.