Live and Enjoy – An interview with Gary Mader of Eyehategod and Classhole

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Gary Mader is an interesting dude, to say the least. His southern drawl and laid back attitude seem strangely at odds with his deep sense of self reflection. That being said, he gave an incredibly interesting interview that had me on the edge of my seat and eternally curious to find out more.

How the fuck are you?

I’m very good man! I’ve been here since Thursday and today is the first day that I don’t have to play which means I can have a Coors Light at one in the afternoon.

Do you not play drunk?

I can’t really do that man. It takes away more than it gives.

What do you get from playing drunk?

Nothing! It just makes you feel a little loose, but can get too loose. I try to be more clearheaded.

What do you love so much about alcohol?

I was actually just saying how much I’m starting to not like it! We started drinking when we were 13, and I like getting drunk but I kind of feel like neurologically I’m shifting away from drinking. It’s cool to do every once in a while, to get a little buzz, but I guess because I’ve had the opportunity to drink so much that I think I’ve almost had enough. I wouldn’t stop entirely, I don’t think I have a drinking problem, it just doesn’t do as much.

When you’re twenty three and have a case of beer and all that shit it’s awesome. Now when we go to a bar and play I drink a bit after but I’d rather do something else. It’s better for you.

Is that a sign of growing up?

I don’t think it’s growing up in a psychological sense. I just think that physically you go through an evolution that squeezes some stuff like that out of your life. It’s an adjustment to the way your body changes. A biological change as opposed to a psychological one. As for psychological changes… I don’t think it’s possible for me to grow up. I’m pretty rooted in my ways. Between the age of fourteen and now at forty two my frame of mind hasn’t change much. It’s evolved and I have a more dynamic perspective but I’ve always considered myself a… free spirit.

What do you mean when you say you have a more dynamic perspective?

As you grow it’s just like when you listen to music. When I started listening to heavy music like Black Flag and all of that you can’t see past that genre. Especially in the 80s we thought the mainstream was bullshit. I understand that perspective; it was bullshit. At the same time though later on, ten, fifteen years on, you listen to a Cream record or some shit that you thought was dinosaur music you start to realize that they had groove! I like to say there are two kinds of music, good and bad music!

What I mean by saying I have a more dynamic perspective is that if you’re into learning about what’s around you instead of being in a narrow-minded box you take in some new stuff. That’s what I try to do.

What makes music good or bad?

If you can feel it. I guess it depends on what you like. But to me there’s something about everything that’s good… when you listen to Michael Jackson, it’s great stuff, it has nothing to do with Black Flag or anything like that, but it’s good. Same with Otis Redding or something like that. That’s kind of the way I look at it. There’s something that we can hear subconsciously where you hear something else there that expresses something deeper. It’s the same with John Lee Hooker or Robert Johnson; that’s real. It appeals to the emotions.

When you play music how do you make it appeal to emotion, how do you make it good?

I’m not schooled in music extensively. I took like two years of theory and was in a jazz band for a year. That facet of music was kind of tedious to me. What I wanted to do was learn Exploited songs. I wanted to learn something that, in the grand scheme of things, was kind of elementary. I stopped learning theory because I was discouraged by it and what it took to understand it. The logic of it didn’t appeal to me. Because I don’t know a lot about music I rely almost exclusively on the feel.

Can you tell me about your relationship with Phil Anselmo?

There’s a girl I used to date twenty five years ago. She lived in his neighborhood, and we all used to hang out in the same part of New Orleans. There was this place called Zeppelin’s where all the bands would play and this other metal bar Rock Box. This chick I was seeing lived on the same street as Phil or something; they were childhood friends. That’s how I met him initially. Once I got into Eyehategod we got to know each other a lot better. We had always been cool but I didn’t know a lot about him on a fundamental level. Once I got into Eyehategod, of course we all jam in the same rooms and hang out in the same bars and got to be better friends. He’s a good dude, he’s done a lot of good for this band, way before I was even a part of it. Especially considering what Housecore has done. They’ve treated us pretty good!

What do you think about Housecore as a whole?

I think it’s killer that we have a label in NOLA that represents a lot of our bands, and even goes beyond that! That’s obviously how it started though, especially on the first samplers. Some of the stuff was shit people from New Orleans hadn’t even heard! There was a lot of crazy shit on those first samplers! I think Housecore is good for New Orleans because it puts a face to a lot of stuff that’s ignored. Stuff like Christ Inverter never got out there. Or Exhorder dude!

The new wave of Exhorder fandom is nuts!

It shed a lot of light on bands that usually would end up playing only the New Orleans area and not be able to put records out. It gives people from New Orleans a place to go. It puts a proper face to New Orleans music.

What do you love so much about music?

It brings people together. I think that’s something I really love about it. All of these little shows are to me like gatherings. It’s like a tribal event just in the modern day. All of these bands are nomads, come to bring the whole community together. Anything that brings people together is awesome. I think that music has an instrumental part in doing that because it’s broken down into frequencies. Whatever it is that you ingest it puts your mind at ease. It can make me feel euphoric, like there couldn’t be a better place to be.

 

I want you to finish this sentence for me “I’ve never told this story before, and probably shouldn’t but…”

This isn’t a total secret but it’s a good one. We were in the van on my first run with Eyehategod with some guy who wanted to interview us. I was on magic mushrooms and I was fucking frying. So I did my first interview for Eyehategod just frying. I don’t [know if] the dude knew but I remember feeling slightly disconnected. It’s on film somewhere! I usually don’t say too much about that kind of stuff but it’s funny, and after all, who hasn’t done mushrooms? It happens! Sometimes you’re in the desert…

Any final words of wisdom?

Live and enjoy man! Live for today, because tomorrow doesn’t really matter and neither does yesterday!

 

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