I originally wrote this interview for Canada’s EXCLAIM! in June, 1996 but they no longer archive back that far on their website, so I thought I’d make it available here again. I did this interview with EHG guitarist Brian Patton upon the release of Dopesick, which I still think is one of their best releases ever. Please enjoy.
Eyehategod: Take As Needed For Pain
By Sean Palmerston
When the city of New Orleans is brought up in conversation, usually thoughts of the city’s rich musical history in jazz and Cajun folk music are prominent. Rarely is the city thought of as a dark, foreboding place; these adjectives are usually reserved for bigger metropolitan centers such as New York or Los Angeles. New Orleans instead seems one of the last bastions of freedom within the continental U.S.
Eyehategod is the band most likely to change these sorts of opinions. On their previous two albums, In The Name Of Suffering (1992) and Take As Needed For Pain (1993), the framework was created for one of the most interesting, yet disturbing, bands around. With their newest album, Dopesick, Eyehategod has marked out its territory as one of North America’s premiere noise-influenced metal bands. By taking one part Swans, and mixing it up with one part Black Sabbath, one part Black Flag, and a whole fistful of Cajun spice, the band has created a musical gumbo never heard before by most unassuming ears. Taking some time out from a late night practice session with his other band, Soilent Green, Eyehategod’s lead guitarist Brian Patton spoke about the time between records, the newly released Dopesick, and about what the future holds for Eyehategod.
“I think the label has kind of sent out this message to everybody that it took so long between records, but that was not really the case at all,” says Patton. “We just went on tour for so long for the last record, that it ended up being well over a year we were out on the road. Then when we got back from the tour, Jimmy [Bower, guitarist] joined up with Crowbar and they went out on tour. So we really had to wait for him to get back before doing anything else.”
Dopesick was recorded in New Orleans with Billy Anderson (Melvins, Neurosis, Mr. Bungle) and Corrosion of Conformity guitarist Pepper Keenan producing. “Pepper is also a hometown boy, and he was in the Down project with Jimmy, so he just came down to the studio and helped us with some sounds and stuff. Billy did most of the production on the record actually, and we are really happy with the way it turned out.” Eyehategod hooked up with Anderson while touring with Buzzoven. “We were just doing a West Coast tour with Buzzoven, and there was a show booked in San Francisco along with Neurosis. Billy knows all the guys in Neurosis and was doing the new Buzzoven record, so we talked to him about doing our record and he was a fan of our music so he came down [to New Orleans] and did it,” says Patton. “This was actually the first time we used a producer outside the band. On the two previous albums it was pretty much taken straight from the DAT tape. Billy really knew our sound well so the whole thing turned out killer. We were really glad to work with him.”
The end result of working with someone as talented as Anderson is apparent from the first note of the album’s lead-off track “My Name Is God (I Hate You).” Crushing, thick guitars ring out above a rumbling bassline and almost Melvins-ish drums. When the over-the-top vocals of Michael Williams begin, you know you are either in heaven or hell. The momentum created with the first track doesn’t let up throughout the album. All twelve tracks would be standouts on most other records released these days. Dopesick succeeds where most others fail—a result of exceptional production and relentless anger and rage.
Dopesick could also be the last release Eyehategod will do through Century Media. Patton expressed a real sense of emotional distress when talking about the band’s current label. “We had a choice to either do a new record with Century Media or to go on hiatus. As far as I’m concerned they can fuck themselves anyway. They really don’t even like us. Sure, the record will get out into the stores, but they won’t even support us on tour.” Patton was quite honest about the fact that the only support they get is from some of the staff working for the company. “They really couldn’t care less about Eyehategod. They just want to go out and sign a bunch of bands and that’s it.
Originally published in 1996 by Exclaim.ca