The ‘Boots Electric Theme’ was the first tantalising hint of where Jesse Hughes, frontman of Eagles of Death Metal, was taking his solo pursuit ‘Honkey Kong’. Admittedly, the song has been playing internally for days now and shows no sign of stopping. Transferring that notable catchiness from his usual music, Jesse has taken his eccentric character and applied that to creating an eclectic string of tracks, which is now due to be unleashed into the world for our consumption.
With this chat taking place between central Scotland and a freeway in some hills of California, the signal somewhat failed the cause and left many questions having to be left until another date. With this in mind, Jesse laughed it off with his slick humour and smooth rock ‘n’ roll voice, saying “I won’t give up, baby. We’ll power through this.”
Jesse openly admits that the music featured on the record has been floating around as ideas for years, so why was now the time to side-step and produce it? “I don’t know… I’m in a dancin’ mood,” laughs Jesse. “I’ve been feeling the love so I’m going to see how my mind works. I think that’s what it is: This is the result of when no one’s there to stop me.” As for how different it could be for devout Eagles of Death Metal fans, he says the difference won’t be huge, elaborating that, “It’s real shake-your-thing, have-a-good-time, dance music. It’s just a lot hornier. I’d say it’s just Eagles of Death Metal, but hornier with a far bigger dick.”
“[I’m] a wonderful, sweet, respectful young man who loves his mother,” he laughs yet again when asked how people could view him as a person through his music. “What else would they think? It’s completely obvious that I’m wonderfully pleasant. I’m an absolute sweetheart…”
With solo projects often comes collaborations and it’s quite a list of collaborators Jesse has got in tow on ‘Honkey Kong’. With the likes of Brody Dalle (The Distillers/Spinnerette), Howard Jones (Killswitch Engage) and, of course, his Eagles of Death Metal band mate Josh Homme alongside him, he has quite an impressive list for a solo debut. “Well, for me, it’s always the same to work with Brody Dalle in particular. We just have a fucking unbelievable time, you know what I mean? She’s like my sister. So that was comfortable and confident,” says Jesse. Turning to working with people other than Brody, his main focus is Money Mark – primarily famed for his work with the Beastie Boys. “As for the others, I let the music dictate who was going to perform on it, really. I would just listen to stuff and feel who was right. The most interesting person to work with was Money Mark because it was through Money Mark that I de-Eagled myself, if you will.”
“Oh, I’m definitely pleased,” he cheerily adds regarding the overall product of ‘Honkey Kong’. “I feel as if whatever I went into this to accomplish, I guess artistically or technically, it’s been an absolute thrill. I’ve been able to grow during the process, learn to do things I’ve never done, have a damn good time and also do something weird that I love!”
“Well, this is definitely the scariest chapter of my life. I look at it more like a final exam than a solo project,” claims Jesse, comparing this process to any of his previous work. “I come from a family who have very high standards and we learn so much and we love each other deeply and dearly, but I want to impress them. This is the best chapter I’ve ever had. It’s unlike any situation I could ever hope to find myself in within rock ‘n’ roll. So, when I went out to make a record, I felt like I didn’t want to make my friends and family feel stupid for knowing me! It felt less like a solo project because of that. A solo album makes me think that it sounds like I’m alone, but that’d fucking suck. It’s definitely weird because there’s no one there to feel weird with you, then what’s the point?”
With new music, naturally, comes the opportunity to bring it out on the road. Is that something to expect with Boots Electric? “Oh, absolutely. In fact we’ll be coming to Europe for the beginning of a few small shows and the likes in September.”
“I like a great deal about the UK,” continues Jesse. “It doesn’t seem so much of a United Kingdom as it seems like Scotland, Wales, England and Ireland. You know what I mean? I’m Welsh and I love England. However, I do love the deep fried Snickers bars and all that weird shit you’ve got going on in Scotland. I love the fact that you can get in a fist fight and a cop is more than likely to go “Alright, you guys have had a couple of big hits, you can just go home”. I love that shit! I do love a great deal about the UK, obviously, because I come here to much. A lot of people say Rock ‘n’ Roll was started by Elvis, or whoever, but really Rock ‘n’ Roll was reenergised and defined in England.”
As the phone line seems to crackle for the millionth time, one last question is posed. A simple – ‘What, ideally, does the future hold for you?’
“I hope that in the very near future holds the accidental discovery of a fabulous treasure that makes me like a trazillionaire. That’d be awesome,” he laughs. “I also hope the future holds a time machine, then I can travel back and forth as I wish. I’d like to hope that the future may hold double-Platinum records, brand new Rolls Royces and an invisible woman, of course.”
Boots Electric’s new album ‘Honkey Kong’ will be released on 19th September.