I bumped into Jesse "Boots Electric" Hughes (Eagles Of Death Metal) last time I was in Los Angeles while waiting for Josh Homme and Joey Castillo (Queens of The Stone Age). Jesse was cool enough to give RLS an interview and talk about how fortunate he is in his life. To me, Jesse is the perfect example of great things happening to you when you least expect it.
*Note- I've known the boys in EODM since they started, although I hadn't seen Jesse in over a year. I was wearing sunglasses when I was doing the interview and Jesse didn't realize it was me (he was stoned as hell) until a few minutes in.
Jessie Hughes Interview
PK: Tell me about your first Eagles Of Death Metal gig.
JH: Our drummer didn’t show up to the gig, so I had to use a machine instead. Elijah Wood and the cast of ‘Just Shoot Me’ were there- I hit the wrong button and Hutch (sound guy) said, ‘Stop being a faggot’ then somebody from the crowd called me a faggot and I said, “Just ‘cause you wanna fuck me doesn’t mean I’m gay…”]
JH: Then Boots Electric was born! Boom!
PK: That was the trial by fire – right there.
JH: Yeah, that was my first show ever – then my second show ever was in front of like 5,000 people opening for Placebo – it was kinda weird.
PK: When Claude [Coleman of Ween] was playing with you and you, Claude and Dave and you guys did this low key gig at CB’s….see, I’ve seen the evolution [J: and it’s BEEN an evolution] but the new Eagles shit to me, sounds like you dudes jumped in a time machine and went to the fuckin’ future, man….
JH: ---but George Clinton was there! Holy Shit – that IS rad. (laughs)
PK: I can picture guys in space suits….
JH: And in a perfect world, people LIKE sex and nobody’s pretending they’re not!
PK: Yeah, totally – but I saw the evolution of this band - I saw you guys playing to like 25 people in CBs, remember that?
JH: Then we sold it out! I think we sold it out with Claude. We played one night in front of like 12 people in Rhode Island – we have played in front of nobody, but this band is weird, more as opposed to an “evolution” it’s more of a diabolical incarnation because I did nothing to get here.
PK: Woah, woah, you don’t KNOW that you did – you must have somehow!
JH: Dude everything I’ve ever done on purpose was to be somewhere else diametrically - I wanted to be a Republican politician for God sakes I’m a conservative, dude; like I’m a fish out of water here sometimes. All I did was get divorced and Josh [Homme] showed up, and I shit you not, you can ask him, on New Year’s day - broke into my apartment and heard “I only want you” and went, “Holy shit, can you do more?” I wrote the whole record in a week.
PK: You wrote the beats on….all that low-fi?
JH: I used Cool Edit Pro – this PC Wave program and I used it in a manner inconsistent with its labeling; I jerry-rigged it so I got these really high decibel beats that I was just taking everything – and like sampling myself just layering them – it was 64 tracks so I would make 25 tracks for one loop and it WORKED, and panning them in stereo just stupid little parlor tricks, but that shit works, cause nobody’s doing that anymore, ya know?
All I wanted to do was get down - I was finally gettin’ laid [PK: Well you were MARRIED for a long time, right?] – dude I lost my virginity to that devil – like fuck dude I was repressed and I pulled the sword from the stone…that’s a better way to put it.
PK: That was like me when I got divorced man, you become your real self again…but you had your son, that was the reason for that!
JH: Yeah, but see we got pregnant AFTER we got married…I don’t know many people who can say that…I really wanted kids legitimately, for real.
He [Jesse’s son] was always included – the metamorphosis engulfed us both. I used to weigh 250 pounds, dude, I mean, I’m not shitting you, my own mother swears that my bone structure has changed.
PK: Well you’re a fuckin’ rail now, man, you don’t gain any weight; you don’t exercise!
JH: Honey, I exercise everyday. I walk five miles a day and I ride bikes with my son. I, er, do copious amounts of drugs.
PK: Yeah, that’ll make me fat, that’ll keep you thin, man, drugs work the opposite sometimes with people.
JH: When something sucks I stop; it’s not always about drugs.
PK: I was telling you my daughter’s close to your son’s age, she’s seven [JH: Yeah, he’s nine] and her favorite album of all time is “Peace, Love and Death Metal” – because that’s a child’s.… all those beats [imitates drum rhythm].
JH: Here’s the truth; that whole album was written to my son. Like, with entertaining him, I shit you not, man. It is a kid’s album, it’s a fuckin’ nursery-rhyme album.
PK: Except for the “Shit, Goddamn, I’m a Man.”
JH: That was my first, “I’m gonna say bad words….by God!” Really it was dude, what was happening was [laughs] I was starting to do shit I’d never done, man, I kinda lost weight, takin’ drugs, partying, I lost weight – I was older, I had a beard, I had this big-ass ZZ Top beard and I shaved it down into a handlebar moustache and for some reason, “paging Dr. Freud” came into effect – I kind of looked like every “of age” girl’s dad when they were three. And that had a unique effect on my sex life, [snaps finger] immediately, man. So I started having an affair with my nineteen-year-old assistant manager – like, right outta the gate! It wasn’t even an affair it was a hot mutual…everyone was into it. It was amazing, so I wrote “Shit Goddamn” because “holy shit, goddamn” I was like pumping my fist in the mirror for the first time to my favorite songs.
PK: Dude, you were transformed into the “rock and roll musician” – you went from overweight, depressed, married Jesse, right? To fucking….being released into this---
[interjects] JH: You know, I was happy who I was….my ex-wife and I, we had an interesting custody battle and it was ugly, but I wanted to be married…so when I got divorced I was looking at myself as being fucked up and reacting…I was always anticipating a return, you know what I mean, to get back into it. But Josh literally drove me to Hollywood in my fuckin’ mother’s car. I wrote the whole album the week before we got there and then we recorded it in three days. Everything just happened – even the clothes I wore were a fuckin’ accident - my original style was just by virtue of that’s what was there – at Walmart.
PK: So that’s what you mean when you never even TRIED to get….
JH: No, never man, I never even played guitar – I played FLUTE – what the fuck.
PK: Well, ya now what? Claude was telling me that you were learning guitar on the first couple of tours. But I’m not gonna ask Josh…
JH: No, ask him ‘cause I wanna hear him say ‘no that’s not true’ ‘cause I love it when he defends me—
PK: Well, I’ll play him the tape back.….
JH: No! Don’t play the tape back! [PK: I’m kidding, I’m kidding!] Nah, there’s nothing private about this – this is show biz.
PK: But dude, your son, you were telling me last time I saw you in New York – like a year ago…that your son was gonna play drums on the fuckin’….
[interjects] JH: I remember you….I remember you now….
PK: I’m Claude’s drummer.
JH: Totally….I was lovin’ you anyway – but now….
PK: I’m Claude’s drummer-Pistol! Sorry, let me take off these sunglasses.[JH: (realizing that they have met) What’s UP dude! I’m sorry.] -- don’t you remember, the early days…. [sounds of hug-shakes]
JH: At least I’ll own up to it, darling. I wanna know my context – I’m really stoned – it’s early in the morning….dude…that’s like no business. I’ve got it, man - he [Jesse’s son] played on “Addicted to Love” dude, which is on my MySpace page.
PK: When’s he playing on The Eagles?
JH: Dude, he’s picking up guitar! Like, I love the child, man, the child now makes jokes like “Dad, I’m only nine years old, so you can’t say I’m hung like a horse, I’m hung like a horsey.” [PK: Oh shit….(laughing)]
He figured out the whole point of an open tuning – it’s to make it easy! So, he looks at it in dot matrix and he just stays– dude – in time I’m gonna make a million dollars.
PK: Yeah, well you know, they’ve got these Devo kiddie cover bands and, your son is gonna have the REAL shit he’s gonna put the Jonas Brothers in the fucking garbage can.
JH: And they’re the biggest selling fucking artist right now for a reason…whatever good or bad. People get what they want and they buy it– that’s supply and demand. If the music sucks, so that’s what people want “wah”. That being said, I want some money.
PK: You’re a capitalist, right?
JH: I’m a moral capitalist – the only way to do it. I want my money and my guns, and I don’t want anybody to tell me what to do.
PK: You should be hanging out with Ted Nugent, man – that’s my boy.
JH: You know what? That dude runs the most successful child recovery program in America; he’s more than just a gun guy – I wish he could step outside of the caricature that he is. That motherfucker wrote “Stranglehold” that ain’t no joke that’s one of the sexiest songs ever…
PK: Totally. He’s got those anthems….what’s that new jam you guys have– Cheap Thrills? [imitates guitar riff] Or the first one – “Anything ‘Cept the Truth” [imitates guitar riff] – that almost sounds like Nuge!
JH: Straight up, dude –it’s not “Stranglehold” it’s “Free for All” – Dude, that fuckin’ song rules!
PK: It’s got that hillbilly bounce…in it too.
JH: (Sings) When in doubt, I whip it out, got me a rock-n-roll band - it’s a free for all…[guitar imitation] It’s got the joy, ya know!
PK: Eagles have a similar thing…
JH: It’s the joy of rock. I LOVE what I do; I feel like the luckiest dude ever – look at this club house – fuckin’ Mickey Mouse club - this is –Joshua built this - it’s got a desert landscape it’s a beautiful place - – this is my job right now, like what the fuck? Most people don’t get to have the luxury of this. I fuckin’ love this I appreciate it – I could be doin’ a lot worse; so I just am really basically trying to pick up chicks, and so that’s what most of my music’s doing. I’m getting more sophisticated; now it’s more like Bugs Bunny with the perfume…
PK: I heard you were getting’ married, dude!
JH: I was. It’s, uh, a learned lesson, and I’ll be trying again. I wanna be married man. I was made to be married; I’m the perfect sucker husband. Some of these Hollywood vampires should just get with it. I’m a business man I can forsake love for the appearance….
Jesse stands up with a limp, using a cane.
PK: What’s with the cane man??
JH: I fell off my son’s skateboard, really hard….in front of the bowling alley while holding his iPod and texting. All I did was stand on it. Fuckin’ looked like a dipshit in front of the hottest little Jewish Princesses you can imagine.….well then my son laughed. I never told anyone about it, but a few days later I was checking back into the hotel we were staying at…and the dude checking me goes, “You’re not going to be skateboarding right, Mr. Hughes?” (laughing) so I have to punish my son….
[Female enters, some chit-chat about the interview and where Josh is.]
JH: We’re the only professional ones here….just kidding.
PK: Yeah, kinda professional ya know, I edit out the curses for magazines….
JH: You should come up with “fiddlesticks”…
PK: ”Golly” it’s a Jersey thing – I have to edit it for California…
JH: The most liberal state in America has the most laws of any state in the Union.
PK: That is kinda strange. Thanks for the chat, dude!
JH: Thanks, Pistol.
*For more on The Eagles of Death Metal, and when they're on tour, check out
*The video below of me playing drums on "Secret Plans" was made for fun!