UNDERGROUND AND UNDERSIGNED BY MIKE IX WILLIAMS OF EYEHATEGOD & ARSON ANTHEM
I met Mike IX Williams, the legendary vocalist for EyeHateGod/Arson Anthem/Drip/Crawlspace/Outlaw Order and author, last year at Philip Anselmo’s hidden home somewhere deep in the woods of Louisiana. I’ve gotten to know the man more this year as we have spent some time together in Fort Worth and Austin while on the road with Arson Anthem. I asked Mike if he would like to share his thoughts with the MetalSucks readers. He eagerly and graciously complied. – CM
Okay, so you’ve been slaving away in the piss hot steaming garage, or alternately, an ice cold freezing cement basement tomb, writing and playing extreme music with various people of dubious degree, quality and background. The torn carpeted walls smell of stale booze, melted wax and illegal left handed cigarettes and the old bass player vomited behind his Peavy cabinet two months before you kicked him out and its still not cleaned up. The new bassist is a fat stinking bastard who probably has head lice but definitely has bad breath and an alcohol problem but comes in handy because he plays like a cross between Tom Araya and Geezer Butler.
The drum kit is a five piece pile of decaying, wobbling junk and the guy sitting behind it isn’t much better. He keeps damn good timing, but eats peanut butter with his fingers before band practice and can barely hold a conversation because he is a mongoloid half wit. You have a ten song original set list that’s taped up over the beer cans and liquor bottles in the overflowing trash bin and includes a few well played, yet tight covers of Destruction and Black Flag. Your guitar is missing two strings and one of the pickups and the strap is duct taped to the body permanently, but sounds like the killer mutant offspring of J.Hetfield and the mighty Quorthon, may he rest in piece.
Your very first live show is at a complete hole in the wall over 18 bar room and is a wasted drunken semi-success with about thirty-five paying punks and headbangers and the rest of the rivet headed crowd that’s there most probably snuck in or pretended to be on the guest list just to slip back stage and drink all your free beer. The drummer’s ex-girlfriend shows up and breaks a glass on the wall screaming that she wrote the lyrics to that one fucking song (that he claims he wrote) and wants you to swear on your life that all future royalties will go to her when you are finally big and famous…Okay…cough, cough.
The audience is crazy nuts with fist pumping, stage diving and gang vocals all right up in your face and you actually for a minute think that this may be what you want to do with your life. The night ends with the promoter telling you the headlining band took all the money and the bar tab you thought was complimentary is now charged to you and you also owe him some cash for the dressing room damage, where the bass player broke out all the lights and threw a chair at the mirror. You go home alone and penniless in your beat up ’83 Oldsmobile with your ol’ tore up Gibson SG and a heart full of dreams.
So, all that having been said…what goal are you working towards my friend?
Is all this punk metal thrashing madness and mayhem worth the while?
Are these group members you’ve hooked up with the same folks you want to bring on tour for ten weeks or more all through the United States and all across Scandinavia, Europe, Asia and so on and so on…?
You’ve got all the energy and passion in the world, so what do you do? It’s all risky, and not wanting to take a chance on your music would be a travesty.
The songs you have written are good, you think, and definitely ready to record and get out to the kids finally, as they have been chewing at the bit for more than just a demo tape with a cut and paste over.
Don’t give up, and whether you sign with someone or start your own label or just play out on weekends or decide to kick out the drummer, do it for the music and do it for the underground!
Corey Mitchell is a best-selling author of several true crime books. The first time I met Mike IX, he asked me to read his poetry over a picnic table loaded with crawfish and potatoes in Philip Anselmo’s aboveground basement. Thankfully, I didn’t fuck it up.