What does an interviewer do when confronted with the task of interviewing one of the most notorious, hell raising, womanizing and hard rocking musicians on the planet? Why, talk about the traffic on the freeways in Los Angeles, of course! Tone Deaf had been unsuccessfully trying to contact Eagles of Death Metal front man Jesse ‘The Devil’ Hughes for several days. Once intrepid reporter Nikki Williams got through to him, however, it was a little disappointing to learn that he was just negotiating freeway traffic jams in LA, rather than snorting cocaine off a hooker’s tits. In fact, it appeared that the interview would be as tame as interviewing the likes of Mumford & Sons. Luckily for us, despite the innocuous start; the interview got us all hot under the collar.
As we get hold of him, Hughes professes to be doing “Nothing much, just cruising in crazy LA traffic.” Suggesting that experience might be a little ‘sucky’, Hughes is quick to colour our vision of the experience more. “Instead of sucky, it’s like having a blade viciously rape me,” he says deadpan. First off, as a headliner at Melbourne’s CherryRock011 Festival in AC/DC Lane this year, is he excited about popping over from LA to Melbourne to play just the one show? “I’m fucking super excited about it,” he reveals. “I’m looking at it like a vacation, you know.”
Hughes is far from a first time visitor to AC/DC Lane and Cherry Bar – indeed he’s had many a wild night there on previous visits to Melbourne. It begs the question – what is it about the venue he loves so much? “I think it has something to do with my very unbelievably horny love affair with Australia itself,” he explains. “For me personally, in my personal experiences with Rock n Roll and the way I look back on it, Australia is one of the bench standards. Cherry Bar is one of the very first bars I ever walked into where I heard full music and saw white kids dancing and everyone was horny. It was like…no bullshit! So, I spent a bit of time there and as a result I have all these hoarded relationships. And for me, now that I’m recording this new record, I’m starting to get into the concept of touring it and all that jazz, and I’m always going to start Down Under baby!”
Compliments to Melbourne aside, does this mean that there is nothing comparable to Cherry Bar in California? Surely legendary Los Angeles venues like the Rainbow Bar & Grill, The Viper Room and dive bars such as the Short Stop, Little Joy and the Burgundy Room would give it a run for its money? Hughes is adamant in his response. “I don’t think there’s a bar like that anywhere in the world. Yeah, it’s true, I mean Australia is a really unbelievably unique place. The first time I ever stepped foot there, I looked around and almost every dude looked like me. I mean they were covered in prison tattoos and everyone agrees that Chopper is the number one comedian. That’s the kind of country I can deal with, you know what I mean?”
While Hughes is clearly in his second home in Melbourne, does he like to go anywhere else while in Australia? “Well I love Sydney,” he slyly confesses. “I love to go visit the meat factory and I like to visit where Chopper killed the ‘Turk’. Oh, and I like to go shopping.”