The road to Australia has been paved with misfortune for EyeHateGod. Playing there for the first and only time in 2012, the band cancelled their 2014 tour due to vocalist Mike IX Williams’ ‘mental stability and health’ and were forced to shelve their 2015 run after their promoter allegedly messed up their travel plans. A lot has changed within the band in seven years too. Drummer, Joey LaCaze, sadly died of respiratory failure in 2013, they released their fifth album on Philip H. Anselmo’s label, Housecore Records, in 2014 and celebrated 30 years as a band in 2018. This year has presented its own challenges, as guitarist Brian Patton announced his departure to spend more time with family, and guitarist Jimmy Bower had to drop touring duties for surgery on a torn arm tendon.
Now, the New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) sludge metal pioneers plan to rectify this with their Australian tour in November, which forms part of this year’s worldwide ‘Four Strikes… From The Elementary To The Penitentiary Tour’. Williams says ‘lousy’ promoters and health are not going to stop EHG this time. “We’ve only been one time due to lousy promoters or lousy health on my part but that’s all way, way in the past now,” he says. “There was also the fact of in the late 90s/early 2000s when no Australian booker would touch us with a 1000-foot pole. Our reputation was one of chaos, wreckage and general unreliability. Things have now changed for the better, obviously. I promise haha! We think the anticipation and mystery of this fucked up cult of EHG will bring people out of the woodwork. Also, EHG has always been a band that people catch when they can, while they can, as the rumour is that any show could be the last show because of any number of reasons.”
While Williams is running at full juice, the remainder of 2019 is looking uncertain for Bower. Luckily, Patton agreed to come back into the fold. “Brian is literally fucking destroying it out here right now and we are very happy to have him back in the fold,” Williams says. “He is always EHG family. Jim may or may not be able to do the Aussie dates. I’m not the person to ask about that. Whatever the case may be, EyeHateGod is on fire right now; tighter and filthier than ever.” From the Elementary to the Penitentiary has been a gruelling tour for the band – their 100-plus-date schedule stretches from January to November and reaches Europe, Asia, America and Mexico. Thematically, Williams says the slogan is something people grow up with in New Orleans and other cities that sums up the bleakness of their choices in life. “From one institution to the next, born to be locked away or dead. It’s used by many outcasts as a rally cry and has become a point of pride in some circles. The options given to certain sections of this modern society are few and far between. Job opportunities are lacking, education is lacking, family structure is lacking and of course money is lacking. Selling drugs, robberies, car theft are the best and ultimately only ways of survival.”
Themes of drugs and destitution have long been central to EyeHateGod’s music, and as previously alluded to, they have a no-fucks-given attitude. According to their bio, the band, ‘Have spent the last three decades at odds with a corrupt music industry, using their music as a proverbial middle finger, aimed at everything from government officials, sanctimonious shitheads hiding behind organised religion, and your own local police force’. So it’s no surprise they have something to say about Australia’s evolution since they were there last. “I think decriminalising abortion, legalisation of cannabis and legalising gay marriage are incredible and great moves towards freedom for all people. It (NSW lockout laws) sounds pointless. People are going to get fucked up any way they can. Prohibition proved nothing.” Williams’ most stinging rebuke was saved for religion and a recent high profile court case. “Cardinal George Pell being the highest ranking paedophiliac doesn’t surprise me in the least. All these self-righteous religions are hypocrites. The Catholic Church being involved in so many sex scandals is equal to global terrorism. What a bunch of fucking rotters.”
So what comes after ‘Four Strikes’ for the NOLA dudes? Well, they have been busy getting to work on their sixth album, but there’s no rush. “(We’ve) recorded most of it; needs vocals, art and mixing. Shooting for sometime next year. We’re not the kind of band to rush these things. We want to put out an album we are 109 per cent happy with.”
Four Strikes… From The Elementary To The Penitentiary Tour runs November 7-15. Tickets.