Jesse “The Devil” Hughes has a more interesting life than you. And why shouldn’t he?
Dude’s in a critically praised rock band called Eagles of Death Metal with his best friend, Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme. He loves Los Angeles, and he kicks it around Hollywood with the likes of Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl , director Liam Lynch and Jack Black. He’s a self-proclaimed womanizer, loves the drink and has a cell phone full of pictures of women in various stages of undress.
But perhaps he’s been having too much fun.
“When we were [recording] at Sound City Studios, I found it very easy to get drunk and stay there,” Hughes recently told MTV News. “I also found it easy to amuse my friends. Joshua, any time he’s down, I just want to make him happy, and nothing delights him more than seeing me on Rollerblades. One night I got sh–faced, and, long story short, when the head of Sound City, one of the pre-eminent recording studios, wakes you up at 7 in the morning in their upstairs parking lot, and you’re wearing nothing but a tank top, cutoffs and Rollerblades, you’ve got f—ing problems.”
While that’s the Hughes his friends — and this reporter — know and love, there’s also a rarely seen, more serious side to the Eagles of Death Metal frontman. Fans will finally get a chance to hear that side on the band’s forthcoming album, Heart On, which will feature a guest spot from well-known tattoo artisan Kat Von D (star of A&E’s “L.A. Ink”).
Heart On hits stores October 21. The album is, in Hughes’ words, “an essay on the joys of rock and roll,” but it’s partly about heartbreak, too. Hughes wouldn’t finger the dame who broke his heart — not by name, anyway.
“I was rolling with a certain Hollywood figure who may or may not have been aforementioned as a guest singer on this record, and this tattoo artist I was rolling with, in order to keep her in my life as my friend, it meant the end of the potential for another aspect of our relationship, so it was more of a disappointment,” Hughes said. “That’s the worst kind of heartbreak, in a way, because it was the heartbreak of being an adult. It was the heartbreak not of having someone sh– on you or break up with you, but the heartbreak of having to go, ’F—, I love you, and we can’t do this.’ ”
Hughes’ despair is most evident on the track “Now I’m a Fool.” He said that while hanging backstage before a QOTSA gig not too long ago, Homme told him that he wanted Hughes to write a song reminiscent of Beck’s “Already Dead.” Then he got a call from the object of his affection.
“I get off the phone with this girl, and I said out loud, ’F—, now I’m a f—ing fool. I’m not just an idiot [for falling for you], I’m a f—ing fool,’ ” he recounted. “I don’t care what anybody says, when you’re hanging out with celebrities, you never expect to get involved with them emotionally, no matter how much you like them. When you’re rolling with someone, and suddenly it’s 4 a.m. and the cameras are turned off of the television show they’ve got or whatever, and they share something with you where you want to protect them, it changes sh– and it can get scary.
“This album is kind of — I hate to sound corny — but it’s kind of a mature look at Hollywood,” he continued. “I fell in love with Hollywood, the city itself, in a Randy Newman sort of way. So I guess the album is about a variety of things: di– swinging in Hollywood and acting tougher than you really might be.”
Hughes said that, for the first time, he felt pressure heading into the recording process. “I really believe if you want to keep doing what we’re doing in this business, you’ve got to grow,” he said. “You have to go somewhere — you have to be on a curve, not on a line.”
Despite this being the band’s third record, Hughes said it was the most difficult to make.
“I’ve never had anything to lose before,” he said. “Not that it’s a good one, but I have some sort of reputation, and I could f— that up doing the wrong thing. That’s suddenly a consideration that’s never been present before that’s going to affect everything. The trick was learning how to give appropriate time to certain things, but what I’m glad to see is really, on this record, it’s the same story: two best friends having a sh–s-and-giggles good time making rock and roll.”
Eagles of Death Metal will tour in September with the Hives.