The Survivor – Mike IX Williams of EyeHateGod




There are few voices in metal, either lyrically or sonically as unique as Mike IX Williams. Best known for EyeHateGod, Mike has been a music lifer and pioneer for the sound of several sub-genres of metal for thirty years now. Although he is a performer that leaves his mark on all those who see him, it is his gift for words that really sets him apart from all others. If metal had a Poet Laureate, it would undoubtedly be Mike, although he might not accept the title, because he’s not in this for awards. Rather, it is about creating a body of work, whether it be on stage with EHG or other past projects such as Arson Anthem or more recently, the explosive super-group, Corrections House. We chatted with Mike, calling in from his home in Louisiana, on the eve of the release of the first new EyeHateGod album from in 14 long, hard-fought years.



The new self-titled album has been a long time in the making. Now that it is done we asked Mike for his perspective on the process and the finished product:

I think this is the best record we’ve done. I love all of our records. I love everything we’ve ever done, but this one is just special to us. It’s got a different kind of sound on it. Some of the best songwriting I think we’ve done too. We’re all very proud of it. It’s awesome. We had tons of titles we could have called the record. Lot’s of those “Take As Needed for Pain” type of titles, you know. We don’t like to be predictable. Throwing this type of thing in there confuses people and I love to confuse people. Besides that we had talked about ,these lists and lists of titles we had. We all sat around and discussed them. This is before even Joey died. Then it was kind of a no-brainier. I don’t even think we had a real discussion about it; just “Let’s self-title it”. We just called it EyeHateGod. It seemed like a logical thing. His drums are on the record, but it’s also like a new beginning. There is a new start with a new drummer. This album is definitely a tribute to him, so it seemed like the smart thing to do.”

Eyehategod album cover



Obviously the loss of Joey LaCaze looms over this album and his playing was immense. We wondered if it was painful to hear these songs, and perform them under the circumstances: “Of course we miss him. We’re not going to bum out about it. He wouldn’t want us too. Joey would not want us to be like that. We’re not gonna dwell on him being gone. We’re gonna keep moving forward because that is what we do. We’re not gonna drone on and be sad. There was never a thought of not doing this anymore. Our first thought was “ok, who are we gonna get to play drums”. Joey wanted it that way. He told us he wanted it that way.”


In addition to the album releasing on Housecore records, Phil Anselmo was apparently a big part of making the album: “We proud to be working with him as well. As far as signing to the label, there was a question that was up in the air. What we were weary about was just how would it be to work with our friend, because he is such a good friend, and such an old friend. And we are just weary of working with a friend, because it could end up badly. Sometimes it does. Phil helped out with the vocals here at Nosferatu’s Lair, where I am speaking to you right now from, because I live upstairs. I live right upstairs from the studio so it was easy for me to walk down the stairs and take a left at the bottom of the stairs, and I’m sitting in in the studio. And we’d wait every day until it got dark and then he’d say, ‘do you want a drink’ and we’d get out the wine and start recording. It’s rock n roll time! He helped me a lot with the vocals, giving me ideas and coaching. Of course, it’s all my lyrics and I wouldn’t change that ever. He always gives me some tips and pointers coaching on the vocals, maybe how to put the parts together. Of course he is one of the most successful metal vocalists ever, so I would be a fool to not work with him. I would never pass up the chance to work with the guy. We had worked together before on Arson Anthem, which was the same thing, just me and Phil putting everything together for that record. We worked with him before, but this was really special because it was for EyeHateGod.”


After originally starting the sessions with Billy Anderson, but ultimately to Stephen Berrigan took over the controls and finished the album:

It was basically made at three separate studios. We started with Billy and it just fell apart due to some personal things. There was a documentary crew their making a film about Billy and they were really in the way. And that was a mess. We felt really rushed and we were unhappy. So we scrapped everything from those sessions, except Joey’s drums. And I know Billy is really proud to have recorded Joey’s last drum session. After that we went up to our rehearsal room, to a place called the “Riff Room” and that is where we worked out the rest of the music. Then we came here (Nosferatu’s Lair) to do the vocals with Steve and Phil. Steve, man, he’s a good engineer. He hasn’t been doing it as long as Billy, but he is really good with what he has done. He’s done a bunch of the Housecore stuff man. He’s worked on the HAARP record and Warbeast album; just a ton of stuff and we all grew up with him, so that’s cool.”


The whole Billy thing was just too rushed. We should have waited and planned it out better. We were really excited to do it with him and it didn’t work out. It just wasn’t the right time, but at least we got Joey’s drums out of it.”


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We asked Mike if he felt relieved to finally have the album done and behind him:

Yeah of course. It’s definitely a relief. We’ve been wanting to have a record out, since the last record. Drug problems, personal problems, record label problems, Hurricane Katrina. You name it, it seems like something went on. Something was keeping us from doing a new record. We had some of the songs for a long time, and some were written more recently. Hopefully people really dig it, and we get more recognition from it, so we can tour places we never have before.”




Since Mike’s lyrics are always so abstract we asked if he wondered what the listeners think of his lyrics and how they are interpreted. “This album for sure, you can tell all of what I’m saying more than other albums. Where as in the past some of the vocals were incomprehensible and you could not understand me. I like confusing people, man. That’s why we are ‘The Masters of Organized Confusion’, EyeHateGod (laughs), which is a song off of Dopesick. And my lyrics are really abstract and cryptic at times. And sometimes people do bring in different meanings and different kings of things. It think its cool when people do find their own meanings in the song. I think it’s cool when people find different meanings in my songs Sometimes people will say “I think it means this”, which is very cool to me. It’s more of a free-flowing, cryptic, abstract, stream of consciousness kind of thing.”

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It’s been almost 10 years since Hurricane Katrina. As a resident and a person who had his life forever changed from the storm, we asked Mike to share his thoughts on that turbulent time:

What happened….everyone has their own story. Every single person that went through it has their own story. And a lot of people left and evacuated, and I stayed. Which looking back on it was kind of stupid, because I got into a lot of trouble and I got arrested and had a lot of problems from it. It definitely changed my life. It was something out of a movie.”

I have Post-Traumatic Stress from it, not that I didn’t already have it probably. It messes you up when you see dead bodies lying in the street. The hurricane caused a lot of destruction obviously and people lost their homes, lost everything, but what happened with people and their behavior was worse. It’s like you watch The Walking Dead. Sometimes I will watch the show and I will get a flashback and think “That is just like Katrina”. People just became like animals. Fights breaking out and people hurting each other and stealing from each other. It was terrible.”


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EyeHateGod – EyeHateGod

Eyehategod album cover


It’s hard to believe that it has been 14 long years since New Orleans’ sludge monstrosity Eyehategod last released a record. In that time although they have hardly complete touring nomads but they have certainly not been resting on their laurels, whilst in some way shape or form their name and presence has always been on peoples’ radar.

The time between albums has been very turbulent to say the least; with tales of addiction, natural disaster at the hands of Hurricane Katrina and even personal loss with drummer Joey LaCaze’s death. No wonder then that this self-titled album (Housecore/Century Media) sounds so pissed off. Front man Mike IX Williams especially sounds almost rejuvenated with rage and an energy that just about surpasses anything he has previously recorded.

Eyehategod were never going to completely shift their sound and the self-titled firmly continues with their trademark hardcore sludge style on a foundation of bone shattering riffs and punk pace and fury. The production sounds huge and gives these songs a lot more bite without taking away that raw vibe that the band have become stalwarts for.

It has been such a long time away from the studio and with a lot of roadblocks and tribulations in their way, but there should never have been any doubt on how this one turned out. Eyehategod continue to age like a good whiskey, seeming to improve as time goes by, but by no means losing their sting.

EHG band photo



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