Welcome Mike – EyehateGod is one of the monumental “NOLA style” sludge bands.. How did it all start? What were some of your inspirations in the beginning?
Oh Fuck, I’ve told that story a million times, but, in short, we were listening to stuff like Confessor, Obsessed, St. Vitus, Black Flag, Celtic Frost, Carnivore, anything tuned low and heavy; some fast, some slow. Playing the slow stuff appealed to us at the time ‘cos we wanted to piss off all the local speed and thrash bands by being confrontational and disruptive. I personally was more influenced by bands like Kilslug, Flipper, S.P.K., Laughing Hyenas, Whitehouse, Joy Division. The Melvins were pretty much the catalyst we all agreed on as THE band that inspired us to pound everybody’s brains into the sidewalk

Where’d the name EyehateGod come from?
The first singer, Chris, thought of it. Something to do with God being your vices and the way you see things and the hate you feel for these vices. Besides all the existentialist leanings we also loved the shock factor and how absolutely furious people got at the mere placement of a few words in a certain arrangement.

What’s Eyehategod doing now? Are you happy with how the recent Tribute CD came together?
We’ve just played a bunch of shows here in the South that went fucking great. Everyone is involved in other projects, but EHG are doing the only thing we know how to do, playing live with full force and animosity. Ugly realism with substance abuse as escapism. The “For the Sick” tribute came out great as far as we’re concerned. It’s really cool to be paid respects from some killer bands and artists. I would love to meet and play with/or collaborate with every one of them, and have them buy me something or loan me some money.

What’s your opinion on the collection cds that have come out lately? Was this a label decision?
You mean the re-releases? This was an idea of Century Media but we totally are involved and are in agreement of the re-mastered versions of the first three LP’s; In The Name Of Suffering, Take As Needed For Pain, and Dopesick. They include extra tracks, new photographs and new liner notes written by yers truly.The Eyehategod cds were recently remastered and re released..

Did you feel they needed it as a band or was it a promotional tool by the label to make them seem new sorta thing?
Of course, it’s a promotional tool to sell more records. That’s what bands do. That first LP came out in 1992 on Century Media, originally, well actually 1989 on French label Intellectual Convulsion. So we get to give something extra to the new fans while at the same time get them to put their Mom’s hard earned cash into our pockets from outta her stolen purse.

Were any stages during EyehateGod where members were fucked off with the countless other bands that you guys were in? Was EHG always the priority?
I wouldn’t say EHG was always the priority, but we’ve been together 20 years, we’ve been through every possible ordeal that five best friends (plus numerous ex-members) could go through; rotten, incredible, amazing and horrible. I would never say any members were ever “fucked off”, as you say, with other projects going on. Everybody’s always kept busy with one situation or another. We’ve always been very supportive of each other’s bands. Sure sometimes we’ve cancelled shows because of other happenings with someone else’s band, but its always come to full circle. It’s a trade off. We just love to make music and usually aren’t really paying much attention to what’s going on.

Did this have anything to do with EHG lying dormant or seemingly breaking up a few times?Naw, side projects were never the reason for breaking up. Lying dormant, now that’s an actuality. We broke up for real only once in 1999 or 2000 or something, I dunno, because of drugs (or lack thereof) and record label dissatisfaction and disagreements.

EyehateGod stuck with Century Media for a long time. How have your experiences with the label been? How did you get together with CM?
That’s not 100% true. We’ve been officially off Century Media since ‘99. The reason ‘Southern Discomfort’ and ‘10 Years of Abuse’ came out was a contractual obligation. While we were with them our relationship was really rough on occasion, mainly because of their suspicious behaviour, questionable advertising practices and just downright aggravating experiences. For the most part their were some really great people who’ve stuck by us in their camp through the years, but at that time we just felt it was time to move on.
Funny thing is that after we left, they hired a whole new crew, some of who were total EHG fans and continued to work with us in a superior capacity. So, strange as it sounds, we got off the label, but built up a better working rapport with the new folks and went on to keep working with them and ended up doing some really cool stuff. We weren’t happy with ‘Southern Discomfort’ ‘cos it was mostly their ideas, their stupid artwork (which we can’t s
tand). A lot of the songs on that record aren’t mixed and are direct from the crappy unmastered masters. But fuck it, the fans still say they dig it so that is what matters. What the Negative Action Group says is the most important.

New Orleans obviously has a big influence on the bands that come from there. Did you grow up in New Orleans? What’s so inspiring about it?
I was born in North Carolina and moved to New Orleans in 1977, so I’ve grown up here and feel strongly that it is my home. It’s very hard to explain to someone who is not from here why it is so inspiring. The culture, the mood, the tension, etc…there’s just a sense of pride about our neighbourhoods, the people, the architecture. Most everybody around the world is certainly proud of where they are from, but we here from NOLA just seem to put it out there more than others. Being from the south is one thing, but being from here is another thing differently all together. It’s an all encompassing village. It’s a hedonistic metropolis full of debauchery and tons of various backgrounds and beliefs. Hurricane Katrina has brought us all closer as family and friends. The music/art/writing community has never been closer.

It’s obvious that drugs played a major role in EyehateGod concepts. Looking back, do you think drugs or music were more important in the day to day existence of EyehateGod? Do you think without drugs the musical outcome of EyehateGod would have been the same?
I guess it is obvious ‘cos we are so open and honest about what we do or have done in the past. We haven’t been afraid to talk about this stuff in interviews. Well of course the music is the most important thing, but there were times when the drugs totally overwhelmed certain people in the band. It just all pretty much comes with the territory; it wasn’t as if there was much thinking going into it. We just got high and played what we felt. I’ve thought about that last part of the question before and it’s debatable, but it seems drugs have gone hand in hand with our sound, who’s to say though. Would the world be any safer with a straight edge EyeHateGod?

What was your first experience with drugs?
I dunno, probably sniffing glue and taking black beauty speed when I was like 12 or 13 years old.

Has your perspective to anything changed since being in jail recently? Had you been in there before?
I’ve been to jail numerous times, mostly for minor offences though. I grew up in a boys home when I was 13 years old for being a juvenile delinquent. My perspective on life hasn’t really changed after doing significant time. When you put a stray cat in a cage then poke it with a stick and abuse it by screaming at it, it’s usually only gonna make it worse and not have faith in a living soul. You learn to stay away from certain people. If one positive thing is to be learned it’s never trust anyone.

How has this experience influenced your music/writing?
Influenced? No, not really in a way that I feel is obvious to me. Maybe other people will notice a change.

A lot of your lyrics describe the futility and struggle of the ‘working class’ and frustration with life in general.. Have you just always felt this way from day one? Or what experiences have you had that influenced this view?
I didn’t know there was another way to be? Being futile, frustrated and struggling, that seems normal to me. I always totally pull for the working class but more so the poverty soaked, down trodden poor, but I’ve not been involved very much in “work” per se. I’ve avoided work in most ways unless it involves art, music or writing, but that’s not real work, is it? Not to me anyway.

Are you surprised by the success EyehateGod has had?
Sure. For a band that didn’t ever really give a fuck, I would say I’ve been completely surprised. We only really became serious when we sold our first couple hundred demo tapes and realized that people really do dig what we do. I thought that we’d put out an LP or two and that’d be that. All the tours and meeting all the folks, that’s what make us feel it’s worthwhile. The power to give someone ear damage is a beautiful thing.

Do you have a ‘day job’ these days? What jobs have you had in the past?
I work right now for a record label called Nocturnal, down here in New Orleans (actually on the north shore, across Lake Ponchartrain, look it up) doing website copy, A&R work, etc…, it’s a recording studio as well and me and Gene, the owner, do our own Internet radio show. I also take care of the Housecore Records website and the Housecore animals. Recently, I was working weekends at the Humane Society, working with abandoned animals, mostly dogs, which I adored, but working 7 days a week was exhausting to me. Less time to drink. In the past, I’ve been a dishwasher, landscaper, cook, janitor, construction worker, chronic masturbator etc… They are all bullshit jobs in my mind.

Has EyeHateGod ever toured overseas? Anywhere you would want to tour?
I would sacrifice a small helpless armadillo to come to Australia! Other places would be Mexico, Spain, Italy - ALL of that. A friend of mine’s band played in Iceland, so that would rule. And yes, we’ve done Germany and the U.K. numerous times, played in Japan (which was a goal of ours we accomplished) We’ve played all over Europe.. Belgium, Switzerland, etc… I regret that we haven’t been to the places we missed, but someday soon we’ll make it.

Will you have any problems with visas or touring now that you’ve been in jail?
I’m not sure yet, but I’ve been looking into it. America is not a problem, though. It’s all about mountains of paperwork and getting permission from judges, etc… I’m keeping a positive mind about it.

What’s been your most memorable show with EHG?
Fuck, that’s an impossible question. There have been so many. Someday I hope to compile all of these in a book. A lot of the German gigs and UK gigs. Japan was like being on another planet, great shows. Some of the more violent and wild shows hold a special place in my heart. The Pantera/White Zombie tour was a complete blast, lots of boozing and pranks.

How did you personally first get into music? Have your influences changed between older times and nowadays?
Probably hearing Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and Kiss when I was like 9 years old. Also the Beatles got me into spinning vinyl at a very young age. I had older brothers, so I’d dig thru their collections. Bands like Frijid Pink, Hot Tuna, White Witch, Cream, Quicksilver Messenger Service, etc… I then from Kiss, got into New York Dolls, Stooges, Ted Nugent, Devo, Ramones, Elvis Costello, Sex Pistols, etc… Then later, Black Flag, Circle Jerks,Disorder and the whole early 80’s hardcore punk scene, then it was thrash, like Exodus, Destruction, Slayer, original black metal like Venom, Bathory, Sodom, and on and on, etc… it progressed. I still love ALL those bands and everything in between. Portishead, Pink Floyd, Masonna, gosh, it never ends. I’m a fan first and foremost.

Hurricane Katrina didn’t seem to get a lot of news coverage over my side of the world (New Zealand). What was your personal experience with this like? What’s it like being back in New Orleans post hurricane?
Wow, not gotten much coverage in Aussie? It was like the worst natural disaster in the USA. I’m saving those stories for my book. It was basically hell. The city’s crime rate now has shot sky-high, our murder rate is (back and forth with Chicago, I believe) the highest in the country, while entire neighbourhoods remain empty and abandoned. Our population was split in half from 450,000 to 200,000, while the number of our homeless population rose from 2,000 to 12,000. You do the math. It sucks. Very depressing. Can’t beat me down though. We are survivors.

Any new bands coming out of NOLA you can recommend?
Oh yeah, TONS: Hellkontroll, Thou, We Need To Talk, Black Rose Band, Classhole, Black Market Ministry, Haarp, A Hanging, Ierased, Haarp, Cathlicon, and on an on and on (alot I‘ve forgotten)…..Plus the older standbys: Hawg Jaw, Pallbearers, Flesh Parade, Graveyard Rodeo(and more). Lots of noise, power electronics, country, hip-hop, blues and jazz variations. The music scene here is constantly growing and is hard to keep track of completely. Go to: nolaunderground.com or offbeat.com for more info.

I know you were formally the associate editor for Metal Maniacs.. How did you get hooked into doing that? Have you ever written for any other ‘zines?
I moved to New York in the early ‘90’s and being a writer, I knew the right people and somehow fell into that job. I think I helped change that magazine into not being afraid of more extreme music, like doom, grind, black metal. I still write for a few different magazines, the main one being Paranoize, a local NOLA punk/metal ‘zine.

What other music projects do you have going on at the moment? Outlaw Order – Can you give us some info about this band and what it’s up to?
The main band besides EHG right now is Arson Anthem, which is vicious 80’s hardcore punk rock with Phil Anselmo and Hank Williams III, we’re doing some shows in December with Texas old school death metal band Rigor Mortis. Ierased is a New Orleans based band I’m going to hook up with to do vocals, kinda Skinny Puppy/Prodigy/Wax Trax type stuff. Classhole is hardcore punk and that’s with some guys from Hawg Jaw and Spickle. I just did some vocals on Seattle hardcore band Marginal Way’s new LP, I’m also gonna hook up with Detroit’s If He Dies, He Dies to do some screaming. I may be doing some stuff with Eric Wood and Bastard Noise. God- I forget alot, I don’t even have time for them all, but I’ll make it. Outlaw Order 00% is still totally in effect, we got set back by Katrina and a member was in drug rehab, but we will record an LP as soon as we get a good recording deal.

What is the Southern Nihilism Front?
The S.N.F. is a gang of ne’er do wells who deal in black hole theory, time travel and basic threats to the whole of society. They use peace through addiction and the power to distort reality using alcohol abuse and worship of obscure religions, politics, poverty stricken lesser humans, contradiction of language, and patriotism of vacant lots and dark forest beaches. Can a Nihilist will himself out of existence? Let’s hope so…

Your first book- Cancer as a Social Activity has been out for a while. What was the writing experience like for this book? Do you have any other book ideas on the way?
I have an entire second book of poetry/lyrics written. Tentatively titled “Rough Sketches of an Empty Ferris Wheel: The Totally Dishonest Book of Truth.”. I am also writing a book of my experiences during Hurricane Katrina. As well a split book of writing with Michelle IX Kitten who is a superior writer that will soon blow up the underground scene. We will put an end to the alphabet, as well as verbs, and nouns as you know them. My first book “Cancer As A Social Activity” is being reprinted by Southern Roots Press with extra pages and possibly new artwork. Me and Kitten IX have a group called New Poetry Separatists/Nuevos Separatists de Poesia that does spoken word projects and chapbooks of experimental dark negative writing. Theres also N.O.D., which is the Narcotik Order of Dreams book publishing company we’re trying to get on its feet..

Do you keep active with new bands or mainly just listen to your favorite stuff?
I check out new bands all the time. With the Internet today, it’s so easy to search and find killer music and connect with like minded folks. I do still listen to a lot of the same things I listened to when I was a kid.

What would you list as the 5 most important bands?
In no particular order:1)Black Flag2)Black Sabbath3)Abba (I’m not joking here, this is sickly sweet pop that is disturbing to me somewhat)4)Ramones5)Sex Pistols

What’s important to you now?
My girl Miche‘, who I love more than anything and am sorry for all the fucked up shit I’ve done. I’m Sorry baby. Also my dog Filthy Edith and the challenge of keeping them both safe, healthy and happy. My friends and family are also very important and the rest will hopefully fall into place. Sex , drugs and rock and roll, clichés and all.

Thanks again Mike for sitting through this longwinded interrogation.Any last words or contact details can be scrawled below….
Thanks for the I-view Rebecca, hopefully I’ll make it over there sooner than later….Send any demos for the label or myspace.com/mikedwilliams, Myspace.com/arsonanthem, Myspace.com/outlaworder, Myspace.com/eyehategod, Myspace.com/housecorerecords, Myspace.com/nocturnalrecords


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