Friday, May 20
You don’t have to talk with Jimmy Bower for long before you realize that New Orleans might as well be in a foreign country. “Ain’t many places where you can eat crawfish, get wasted and listen to St. Vitus with 200 people. Everybody jams and it’s all good.”
Bower has been a principal member of Eyehategod since the early 1990s, a band whose Southern rock and doom metal-influenced punk spawned a cult following despite numerous breakups and layoffs. Bower says, “We don’t do anything for a while, people SAY we broke up, then we come back and do another show and people say, oh, they’re back together. We never said we quit.”
Originally the drummer for Crowbar, Bower had no trouble filling his time when Eyehategod went on hiatus. In the past decade, Bower has played drums for Crowbar, Corrosion of Conformity and Down, as well as played guitar in Southern Isolation, Mystic Krew of Clearlight and Superjoint Ritual. New Orleans’ heavy music scene is prolific, but many of the bands are simply reconfigurations of other bands’ lineups. In his bayou drawl, Bower says, “It’s just a really close knit group of friends influenced by alcohol, drugs, fuckin’ … uh … bars that don’t have doors on ’em, homelessness, unemployment … life in general.”
The success of the Anselmo-fronted Down and Superjoint Ritual led to a sort of renaissance for Eyehategod. On tour, Bower constantly fielded queries about when the cult band would re-emerge. Bower says, “After hearing that so much, it’s like … we need to get out there.”
Five years since their last CD was released, and their obligation to Century Media fulfilled, Eyehategod returns with Preaching the End-Time Message on Emetic Records, an anthology of rare tracks culled from compilations and vinyl splits with other bands bolstered by three newly recorded songs. The band is currently in discussions with an unnamed label to secure worldwide distribution for their next album, which Bower expects to be released early next year.
Eyehategod will be appearing at the Emerson Theater on Friday, May 20 with If He Dies … He Dies and Indianapolis’ Heroes Laid to Rest. Bower, aware that many new fans weren’t old enough to see the band at their height, made sure that the tour hit mostly all-ages venues. He says laughing, “Hopefully we can fuck some kids’ heads up.”