Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes may act like a super-confident sexual puma when he’s onstage, but it took Natural Born Killers actress Juliette Lewis to help him find his mojo while making his first Boots Electric solo album, Honkey Kong.
The problem for Hughes, apparently, was in learning how to strut his stuff without having a guitar strapped across his shoulder.
“I was struggling because Boots Electric, when he’s in Eagles of Death Metal, I know exactly what that is and what I’m supposed to do,” Hughes tells Spinner. “But when you start throwing in new variables, like, you take off 30 pounds when you take off your guitar onstage, every one of my moves, every voodoo dance pose is based on having that 30 pounds. You take that fucking shit off and it throws a loop like you can’t believe.”
“I was having trouble getting into it,” Hughes continues. “And Juliette came in and she showed me her process of trying to figure out what the song was going to need. And when I watched her approach it theatrically — because I’ve always been afraid of theatrics, to me it’s always too much like faking — but there is a way to do something honestly, and I watched her do it and it was magic.”
Lewis, who fronts the band Juliette and the New Romantics, sings backup on the funk-rock party track “Boots Electric Theme,” which also features a hands-in-the-air call-and-response sequence between Hughes and the Distillers’ Brody Dalle. Additionally, Killswitch Engage singer Howard Jones contributes to the song “Trippy Blob” and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and Troy Van Leeuwen rock the guitars in the song “Dreams Tonight.”
To hear Hughes tell it, though, those weren’t the only guests on the album, due for release Sept. 20 via Dangerbird Records. Iggy Pop, Mr. ‘Raw Power’ himself, was in the studio with him as well — if only through possession of Lewis.
“Juliette’s the true daughter of Iggy Pop,” says Hughes. “But she’s been over-Hollywoodized with movies to be secure in accepting it. And I see it all the time when I’m in the studio with her and when she was working with me. When it wasn’t her rep on the line she became a different animal. That pretense melted away and she was focused on the song like a true rock ‘n’ roller and she’s every bit as legitimate as anyone else. She came in there and showed me how to get into it. She showed me a different spell to become successful.”
Of course, Hughes wouldn’t be the man he was if he didn’t point out one of the other major benefits of having the Academy Award-nominated actress writhing around the studio, showing him how it’s done.
“I would also be lying to you if I didn’t say there was a bit of high-school sex fantasy going on with her being in the studio,” he says.
This story was originally published August 24, 2011 on Spinner.