An Interview With Jimmy Bower! [EYEHATEGOD, Down, Superjoint]

An Interview With Jimmy Bower! [EYEHATEGOD, Down, Superjoint]

I read EYEHATEGOD are working on a new album.

Yeah. It’s been since 2014 since we put one out and we actually had 9 songs ready to go before the record. We went and recorded the album and then Brian [Patton] left the band. So, now we’re a four piece band.

Since we’ve been touring all year non-stop as a four piece, we’re a completely different band now. So, we’re going to re-record the record, hopefully in September and finally get another one out because it’s already been four years now.

Yeah, well at least it’s not a 10-year gap! [laughs]

Yeah, that’s happened. [laughs]

You mentioned that EHG are a completely different band now because of Brian leaving…How is the energy different within the band?

With Brian, we kind of had that wall of guitars – two guitars. Both of us would kind of do the same thing together, but not exactly, so it makes a cool course effect, you know. Now it’s all on my back. A big influence of EYEHATEGOD is Black Flag, we’ve been going in that mode, you know? It’s really working. We’re bummed that Brian’s gone, but it’s really working out positive. We’re starting– for a couple of months now, we’ve felt really tight and it’s clicking really good as it is. We’ve thought about getting another guitar player….Like why? We’re such a bunch of fuckin’ weirdos, who are we going to let in the gang here, you know? 

I think everybody in the band is really happy that it’s working out and is excited about doing the new record. I mean, we’re still the same band, same sound and everything. I guess our attitudes are a little different though.

Yeah. What does it feel like when you’re writing, especially now more-so that you don’t have Brian, or when you’re recording and all of the ideas are bouncing off of everyone, everything connects, and then you have that moment where you are like “THIS IS IT! THIS IS THE SONG!” ….How does that feel — what is the feeling you get when that happens?

Sometimes I’ll write riffs at home and record them on my phone and go up to the room and I’ll play it for the dudes and then we’ll jam on the riffs a little bit. But usually I find the best riffs and stuff, that I write for songs, are off the cuff, like the first thing I play when I pick up the guitar; just improvising. I usually put my phone on record when I do that.

I find, when it comes out of nowhere like that, an improvising situation, everybody is more creative and excited about it. To me it’s something special, it doesn’t happen all the time, it’s not an every day life for everybody, it’s something different and special. 

When you know you have killer riffs and a good song going and good structure and everything, we leave the jam room going, “Dude! That’s going to be a bad[ass] song!”

They never really come together in one day.

It all just comes to Life all of a sudden when it does come together though?

Yeah! Yeah, usually we get the “meat and potatoes” of it in one day, you know? Like, the good, general idea, you record it– I’m the type of person on my ride home, I got a twenty minute ride home from practice and I’ll listen to it a hundred times and over-analyze it.

You’ve been doing this for a long time, with Superjoint, Down of course, and in EYEHATEGOD for 30 years now…

Yeah, and it’s funny because you just said what I was going to say. I’ve been in a bunch of bands with different writing situations…

Yeah, my next question is, how does they [the writing styles] differ between EYEHATEGOD, Superjoint, and Down? And how has that changed throughout the years?

It differs in personalities, you know? [In] EYEHATEGOD, for some reason, it’s really easy to write with EYEHATEGOD. To me, it’s about– it has to be a situation where everybody’s buckled down and focused. 
With Down, the first time Down ever jammed, we wrote Bury Me In Smoke, Lifer, and Temptation’s Wings, Losing All out there. We were all in this huge garage and everybody was- we were really just so focused. In one afternoon, we wrote three songs, which to me are great songs. I mean sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. But when you have everybody in the room focused, it doesn’t matter what band you’re in, something’s gonna happen.

How do you feel over your 30-year musical journey that you’ve personally grown as an Artist?

I feel extremely blessed in every band I’ve been in. I’ve learned something through every band and when you write multiple records with each band, you definitely come out of it knowing how to write songs and you take other people’s ideas, like, Philip’s [Anselmo] really good with arranging and writing. And whenever we work–it’s gotten to the point now when we work together we almost read each other’s minds. It’s a process, just like anything, the more you do, the more you get out of it. I feel blessed I’ve been in– had the opportunity to really broaden my musical horizons in a bunch of different bands on different instruments.

Every band that you are in, they’re all so distinct sounding. You just know, “Oh that’s EYEHATEGOD… That’s Superjoint… That’s Down!” …And in the New Orleans Music Scene in general, every band I’ve heard anyway has a distinct sound. 

You nailed it, I’ve said this a million times growing up in New Orleans, being a little bity kid watching bands at Mardi Gras walking through parades…And being from New Orleans, you’re also subjected to Blues, Jazz, Funk Music…It’s not like, “hey man, I’m a Metal Head!” …I don’t say that, I listen to a lot of Country Music and stuff…And just growing up in New Orleans, there was a point in my Life when I was younger where I would go and see Funk bands or Blues bands…You just soak it up. Just like Life, you learn from experiences and hope the next day you can use your experiences, you know?

I’m very fortunate to be from New Orleans. That to me, is my “ace in the pocket!” — that good card in the pocket.

Yeah. New Orleans has that culture nowhere else has, that’s why I love the Metal scene out there, it’s so diverse, unlike anything else!

Yeah, I mean all the bands– in New Orleans, there’s also a lot of pride in not trying to sound like somebody else too. There’s a lot of– like, Acid Bath, I remember those dudes coming to see us play and they would drive up from the bayou and they would come see us play and stuff. At first, I think they were like an Alice In Chains cover band…And then over night, they became this original heavy band that didn’t sound like anybody else. It happens all the time in New Orleans, it’s really cool. That’s the good thing about New Orleans is that, even though it’s a big tourist town, but a lot of people come down there to listen to the music. And it’s extremely, extremely eclectic. It’s really cool. Can’t explain it.

Yeah. I think that is a good explanation. [laughs] What is going on with Superjoint?

Well, we got back together to play [Housecore] Horror Fest and we wound up doing another record, which is really cool, and then we did the touring cycle for that. And Philip is so busy with The Illegal’s as well, and Scour. We have a whole ‘nother project going on as well…

Oh! Really?

Yeah! It’s called En Minor. E-N M-I-N-O-R. And I play drums in that with Kevin Bond, Steve Taylor from Superjoint, and it’s super mellow. It’s really mellow and Philip sings pretty vocals and stuff. That’s supposed to come out soon.

OH! I cannot wait to hear this…!

Yeah, yeah, I’ve been telling everybody, “this is the shit! You’re going to Love it!” 
So yeah, Superjoint, we’re supposed to get together and write another EP or something like that. It’s just…This is EYEHATEGOD’s 30th Anniversary year, we’re pretty much– I don’t know what the fuck we’re trying to prove, we’re 50-years-old and we haven’t been home for more than three weeks this year. But it’s good, I think we’re proving to ourselves that, fuck man, we’ve had this– we’ve gotten this opportunity as a band, we’ve done it for thirty years, let’s roll! So, that’s why Superjoint has kind of taken a back-burner to that, you know?

 

Is that what’s also going on with Down too? You think there’s going to be another Down record at any point? I have to ask! [laughs]

I mean, eventually…Eventually one day I’m sure we’ll get back together for something, but for now, it’s the same thing, everyone’s doing something different. Pepper’s [Keenan] doing CoCKirk’s [Windstein] doing CrowbarBobby’s [Landgraf] doing HONKY and all that, you know? So, yeah, Down’s taken a long break before. Hopefully something will happen soon!

My last question… Music is an escape, it gives everyone, especially our Veterans, an escape whether they’ve been through War, or every day Life trauma. What are some moments that you’ve had where listening to music or playing music, creating music, has helped you get through a dark time and is there any special song that you’ve written, if you’d like to share, that embody that?

Well, first thing that comes to mind is when our drummer Joey [LaCaze] died in 2013. That was a really bad time for us. As opposed to letting it get to us and everything, we immediately got another drummer and got straight back to work. It helped. Speaking for myself, it helped me occupy my mind during a bad time. When I got clean in 2005, that was a really bad time, I had a girlfriend that passed away in 2005, so it was really, really bad; I got clean, I went out to San Francisco, visited some friends, stuck to my guns and came home and then I got a phone call to get together and to do Down again. That was really a cool thing. For me, being a musician, it’s a great way to– I mean, if I’m sitting at my house, all bored or bummed out or whatever, I’ll pull into my garage and start jammin’. It immediately puts me in a better mood! It definitely has serious healing properties to it, like you said.

 

Music is definitely healing. And a lot of Vets say time and time again how much it helps them.

Yeah, I mean those guys, be it, they are in action or not, they are away from their families and see a lot of things normal people don’t see. I can imagine Music would be a great escape for anyone in a situation like that. And I certainly can relate to them with being away from their families, being in a place you don’t know about, and stuff like that, just from touring. You don’t always want to be on tour. [laughs] Contrary to popular belief! 

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