Jesse Hughes hasn’t always been a rock star.
The former journalist was once a Republican activist on Sonny Bono’s 1992 Senate campaign. It’s not exactly the background you’d expect for the lead singer of a band called Eagles of Death Metal.
“My original personal life choice was not to be a rock ‘n’ roller,” Hughes said. “I guess destiny and the devil himself just had a different plan for me.”
Seventeen years after Bono’s campaign, Hughes and company are preparing for a United States tour, including a Thursday night show at Diamond Ballroom. Hughes said he has spent some time in Oklahoma, most of it when he was younger.
“One time I was in Oklahoma just trying to not go to jail in California,” he said, joking. “But really, a couple of times I’ve just hung out with a friend from Oklahoma. One time, I visited an Indian reservation, and one time I was even there with the Boy Scouts.”
The band is gigging in support of its latest release, “Heart On,” an album that has received much better reviews than the group’s two previous releases.
Hughes and longtime friend Josh Homme debuted with “Peace, Love, and Death Metal” in 2004, but the Palm Desert, Calif., group had formed several years earlier ” a project that had been on the back burner since Homme was spending most of his time with Queens of the Stone Age.
With its newest record, the duo has compiled an album filled with songs about the oddities of life in Los Angeles. Their habit of writing grimy, glam-rock lyrics continues, tunes centered on cliché stories of partying and loose women.
While the album pays homage to the Hollywood lifestyle, Hughes said they came up with the title for the record while touring the Midwest.
“It was totally influenced by the heartland of America,” he said. “There’s a reason why songs like ‘Route 66′ mention Oklahoma City. That’s why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland. Because Hollywood and New York are places where assholes go to get famous. It’s where Michael Jackson goes to become white; it’s not where you go find real rock.”
Although he has a history in politics, Hughes said he hates the idea of trying to spread political ideology through a musical performance.
“I definitely don’t want rock ‘n’ rollers tricking me with dancing and a good time and then telling me who to vote for,” he said. “I just want my money and my guns, and I just don’t want anyone to tell me what to do.”
He said Eagles of Death Metal just want audiences and listeners to enjoy themselves and not take things too seriously for a little while.
“We’re just going to get everyone loaded and shake our dicks,” he said. “We’re trying to make our shows more magical than David Blaine.” “James Lovett