"They [the label] don't really know what we do. They just assume that, 'This is what EYEHATEGOD's about - they're fucking crazy - so let's try and market them like that.'" -- Joey LaCaze (drummer)
Upon first glance of the name EYEHATEGOD, what images come to mind? A horde of Satanic black metallers donning their corpse paint? Or, as is the case, a group of southern rockers just doing their own thing by mixing southern influenced music with their own brand of craziness? If you guessed the former, don't worry, you aren't alone in your misconceptions. EYEHATEGOD has been perceived as something they really aren't since their inception, and nowadays have come to live with that fact, and accept it as an integral part of who they are.
The whole thing started as a loosely knit group of musicians and friends who got together out of the simple desire to jam and have some fun. Although it all started in 1989, in the beginning, EYEHATEGOD was somewhat like a club, where people came and went, played for a few months and then left, it was all a very informal thing. Then came along guitarist Jimmy Bower to put the wheels in motion and form the band that today is known as EYEHATEGOD. He got together Joey LaCaze (drums), Brian Patton (guitars), Vince LeBlanc (bass). and Mike Williams (vocals).
The musical style of EYEHATEGOD is definitely a unique one, one that Joey explains can only come about over time. "We just pretty much jammed and we kind of developed our style just from everybody not knowing how to play. We got together and learned and eventually over the years the chemistry came together between all of us and just evolved into the style that we play now."
Being signed was something that was never anticipated by the band. They were happy doing their own thing, and the thought of anyone even wanting to sign them was absurd in their eyes. However, the time came when they were approached. "We did the first record on this label, Intellectual Convulsion, which was this guy from France. Before that, we had been jamming just to do it, you know? And he approached us and said, 'Hey I want to put your stuff out.' We were just like, 'Cool!' We never anticipated anything happening and then next thing you know, we got to do the record. We mostly just wanted to do a good recording of the stuff." He continues, "so we did the record and it kind of got around, and people knew about it, and we ended up hooking up with Century Media like a year or two after that and that's when we put out _Take As Needed For Pain_ and we've just been touring ever since then."
The music of EYEHATEGOD is something that has evolved slowly over the span of their existence. Joey explains what goes into their music. "We never put too much writing into the music. We've always wanted to keep the style just like how it comes about. We all play from just feeling. When we go into our room, we might come up with a riff that we really like, just from jamming for awhile; or someone might have something that they've written or something. We pretty much just feel stuff out. We play and usually something ends up coming out of it." He continues explaining how their structure comes about. "Then we'll just put the stuff together the way we think best suits it you know? We never try and write the music, like, 'Oh man, we're gonna write a piece like this.' We don't arrange the songs like that. The best parts usually end up staying with us, they are what usually make it to the record."
As far as the band's lyrics and themes, they are completely conceived by vocalist Mike Williams. The rest of the band sends their completed demos to his home in New York, and Mike just takes it from there. "What he does is he writes a lot so he's got a lot of shit that he's written before. When we send him songs he just feels his way through things and decides for himself what he wants to go where. But the lyrics never try to portray anything, they've never got a story to them or anything like that. A lot of times what we'll do is just create the atmosphere with the music, and he'll take it from there. There are definitely parts that he does that stick out and then there are other parts that he'll just do like adlib or on the spur of the moment, especially live."
The image of EYEHATEGOD is something that has become distorted and misinterpreted twenty times over. Read any other article about EYEHATEGOD and you'll see the image and hype that the media likes to portray about the band. What does Joey think? "I think mostly nobody knows and nobody could ever understand what we really do you know? <laughs> I think a lot of people just come up with their own interpretations of what they think it is. We pretty much leave everything open ended. It might just be something that we come up with, that we like the way it sounds or it's something that in some kind of way reflects what we like. Or Mike might have something in his own mind that he feels some kind of vibe off of." He continues about their artwork, "We've always taken pictures and other stuff from outside sources. We'd take pictures that we think has some kind of symbolic meaning to us, and we'd arrange it the way we think could create a sort of atmosphere or emotion. When you look at the picture, I mean, there is never any original meaning behind us putting the cover together but when you look at it you get a sort of feeling. We pretty much always keep everything like that.
Being from New Orleans, the band has grown up being exposed to the excesses of life 24 hours a day. Joey explains, "Down here everything is just tongue and cheek, or understood. Everybody is familiar with that type of stuff. Everybody from here definitely knows what we're about, but in other places nobody really gets it. For them it just kind of takes on its own meaning, which is cool in a way for me, like I hear shit from people that I could never believe <laughs>. But then again, I think it's pretty much where we live, everything is like that. It's weird, it's just been like that all the time, that's what we've been exposed to our entire life. We'll put stuff like that on there just to, like, fuck with people <laughs>. Sometimes we like to create a little misunderstanding just so nobody knows what the fuck we are doing.
Success is a key word in any band's vocabulary. It makes the difference between being dropped and making another album. So how does Joey think they'll do with this album? "I hope it goes well, but it all depends on how it's promoted. Being on Century Media is cool, they've always come through as far as getting us tour support. I know they do a good job and they bust ass to do stuff, but the whole label thing is a little too 'business' for EYEHATEGOD I think. Just the way that they promote stuff and the way THEY interpret it to come across. I don't think they really understand it and I don't think they'll ever understand it because they don't really know what we're about. We always get grouped together with a bunch of other bands and it's just like another band on the label type of thing." He continues, "I think it's really a catch 22. We could survive without them now, because we have enough following and we deal with a lot of shit on our own. But they've helped us get here, they've always given us support to get a van and go out and do a tour and we would've never had the money to do that in the past. So in a way they've helped us big time just by the exposure, but it's just kind of weird. The band has never anticipated shit like this happening. Like actually having promotional things and that kind of shit. Sometimes it's just kind of weird because they'll go out on a tangent to use something when it really has so little to do with our band that it ends up coming up in interviews and in the media. There's a lot of stuff that we can tell is rumors that they've started, you know what I mean? <laughs>"
Finally, Joey is asked to tackle one of the biggest questions that can be asked of him: Why are you playing this kind of music? "I don't know <laughs>. I guess it just kind of happened like that you know? I've just been playing this for so long. As for this style, I consider EYEHATEGOD one of the funnest bands that I've ever played in. As far as people-wise and how well it runs, that's because everybody's only in it to play. Everybody just kind of knows each other down here so that's kind of how it got together. We met each other one way or another. There have been times when things have changed, like Jimmy moved out of town, and Mike lives in New York but it all works out. And we've never really tried to, like, push it, you know? We never anticipated anything, it was never like, 'Man, let's write some music so we can get signed.' So much stuff has happened to us just from us doing what we do, that we don't want to change it. We feel that if we take it too seriously like all these other bands, it might become something we never wanted it to be."