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Interview: Eagles of Death Metal's Jesse Hughes on His New Project, Boots Electric, and Album, 'Honkey Kong'

Interview: Eagles of Death Metal's Jesse Hughes on His New Project, Boots Electric, and Album, 'Honkey Kong'

Jesse Hughes embodies the full scope of rock ’n’ roll: His career is crafted on a tasty recipe of three parts skill and one part dick-swinging madman antics.

The Eagles of Death Metal frontman has jumped headlong into a sexy and audacious new project called Boots Electric. The band is a funky, post-modern nod to funk pioneers George Clinton and Bootsy Collins, but it also pays homage to classic rockers such as Led Zeppelin and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

The debut album, Honkey Kong, comes out September 20 via Dangerbird Records.

It's a bit of a departure from the traditional drums-and-guitar combination (Hughes collaborated with Beastie Boys mainstay Mark Nishita aka Money Mark), but it’s a successful one. Hughes felt strongly compelled to take his trademark musicianship and amp it up for a new audience. He calls his latest endeavor “modified karaoke.”

“Part of it was like, ‘I’ve got big dreams and I fucking love big sounds,’” he admits, adding, “This was also my chance going into [a new project] to talk about my fucking awesome friends.”

That list of buddies consists of modern rock royalty. Brody Dalle from the Distillers puts in an energetic guest appearance on the debut single, “Boots Electric Theme.” Hughes felt that Dalle’s addition to the track was a no-brainer.

“When Brody Dalle walks into the room, everybody stands up and pays attention,” he says. He admits, “[She] was the first person who ever gave me any confidence in myself as a musician.”

Boots Electric also gets a testosterone injection from Hughes’ right-hand man (and Eagles of Death Metal co-collaborator) Josh Homme. The two met years ago as children and have maintained a close friendship and professional relationship ever since.

“He’s such a great man and he’s had such a great impact on me,” Hughes says.

So much, that Homme is responsible for Hughes’ current moniker, Boots Electric. The frontman earned the nickname after abandoning his roller blades in favor of a pair of shit-kickers. The rest, shall we say, is history. Homme’s talents are showcased through the guitar solo on “Dreams Tonight.” Hughes admits the inspiration for the song came shortly after he was, well, struck in the butt by love.

“I met the love of my life, Tuesday Cross, while making this album,” he says. “'Dreams Tonight’ is the first real love song I’ve created. The guitar solo is the finest fucking moment in that song.”

But don’t go thinking that rock music’s preeminent bad boy has gone soft or worse -- techno; all of the tracks on Honkey Kong are rock-infused and organic — just danceable.

“What Parliament showed me is that rock ’n’ roll can still dance and be funky and groovy,” Hughes says. “Guitars have the effect on me that a Ferrari has on an 80-year-old man.”

Hughes will be heading out on tour in support of the new material when it drops online and in stores on September 20. Until then, the man behind the big sound is adamant that fans add Honkey Kong to their digital playlists. His reasoning is about as irreverent as the music he creates.

“It’s like Eagles of Death Metal — only hornier,” jokes Hughes.

The debut album by Boots Electric, Honkey Kong, comes out September 20 via Dangerbird Records. Click here for more info about Boots Electric.



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