[For our sixth installment of our 90s Essentials interview series, we asked NOLA legend Jimmy Bower to shed some light upon Eyehategod‘s perpetually-lauded Take As Needed For Pain. These are the fruits of our exchanges.]
MetalReview: First of all, thank you so much for taking this up, Jimmy. The reason why we’re harassing you is the fact that the MetalReview team has spent dozens of sleepless nights trying to come up with a list of the 100 Most Essential Metal Albums produced in the nineteen-fucking-nineties and now we’re done. Not surprisingly, Take as Needed for Pain was chosen as one of them. What do you think about that?
Jimmy Bower: I think it’s pretty damn cool!
MR: There’s hardly a metal fan that knows the record but doesn’t appreciate its quality and overall influence. How do you see Take as Needed for Pain, almost twenty years after its recording?
Bower: When we did the record, it was the first time anyone in the band owned equipment. It formed our sound… this record is my favorite for sure.
MR: This album is often seen as one of the originators of sludge and possibly the most important piece of work coming from the NOLA metal scene. Also, for example, Terrorizer hailed it as the most essential sludge album a couple of years ago. Why do you think that the general consensus seems to be that Take as Needed for Pain is the quintessential sludge record?
Bower: We were just trying to play blues, man! And with Mike’s singing style it was a marriage made in heaven… our influences were coming to life through us and we were tripping out! Thank you for the kind words!
MR: The album itself is one of the most hateful slabs of sludgy doom metal in the history of the genre. Where did all this hate and misanthropy stem from at the time?
Bower: Being young and pissed at life and we wanted to sound wrong…ya know us five guys were and still are the best friends that loved our roots: blues, old hardcore and noise bands. What you said we take as a compliment!!
MR: Apparently during the recording in 1993, Mike was homeless and the band was going through a very rough period of self-abuse and drug addiction. Can you tell us a bit more about that time in your lives? Do you feel nostalgic, nauseous or both, when you reminisce that era?
Bower: We had the studio for a month, blocked out…Mike was living where he could and we spent almost that entire month there working hard by our standards. Some of us had day jobs and we would work throughout the night. No bad drug problems at that time, we would learn that on the tours we did after! We just smoked and drank back then!
MR: Reading some of your newer interviews, you seem like a bunch of very laid-back guys nowadays, but on the other hand your live shows are still as violent as ever. How would you say that you have changed as people and musicians when you compare to the early nineties?
Bower: We have done so many tours! I think the band evolved into a live machine. We love to play live and put off a certain vibe. We call it ‘flagging or sabbing off’, meaning try to come across creepy. We’re all older and wiser and that has applied to our shows as well. Still a bunch of losers, haha!
MR: As somebody who broke into the scene during the early 90s, you must remember well all the atrocities but also the high points that metal fans got to experience during those ten long years. When you think about the best or the worst metal moments of the decade, what springs to your mind?
Bower: Well, you had Pantera who changed metal forever! They freaked everyone out! Then you also had the Seattle scene exploding and becoming quite popular, and also a lot of groove metal bands came to the front. I loved the 90’s, as old as that makes me feel!
MR: To conclude, in your opinion, what is the most important gift that the 90s left behind for the future generation of metalheads?
Bower: A very new outlook I think…things felt fresh and new! Thanks y’all!