Eagles of Death Metal with Peaches and the World Provider at the Kool Haus (132 Queens Quay East), Tuesday (July 18). $22.50. 416-870-8000. Rating: NNNNN
Jesse "the devil" hughes is a hard- rockin' Lothario. Behind the mic, the moustached macho mainman behind desert doob-rockers Eagles of Death Metal moans about bangin' 19-year-olds and bein' a bad-news boy; offstage he's all about hangin' out with adult entertainers, revving his motorbike and living large.
Based on his hard-partying image on the Eagles' new greased-up garage CD, Death By Sexy (Downtown/Warner), I'm not surprised when Hughes's manager sheepishly explains that the dude's not usually up for weekend phoners. Surely he has body shots to do and porn stars to romance.
Shockingly, his manager continues, Hughes is reluctant to take work calls on Saturdays and Sundays cuz "weekends are family time." Say what?
"Aw baby, being a rock 'n' roller and having a son go hand in hand," drawls silky-smooth single dad Hughes, who's graciously made time in his weekend to talk shop. "Too many rockers with families look at what they do as something sinful, so they make a clean split between the two worlds. You've gotta accept that what you do is a good thing.
"I think I'm a damn fine father. I know my son's gonna want to be like his dad, and I don't want to put myself in a situation where I'm stuck having to tell him not to do what I've done. Sure, I'm an outrageous guy, and there's some stuff he can't be around for, but that's just cuz he's a kid..."
That would be activities like the previous night's bondage store grand opening debauchery, where a still-recovering Hughes managed to hang out with "one of the world's premier leather designers" and meet Nina Hartley. Still, the Devil's lucky-as-shit six-year-old son's got a self-proclaimed "sophisticated redneck" dad who's as crazy about monster trucks and dirt bikes as he is, which means both Hughes boys spend time following biker heroes like Mad Mike in their Indio, California, home base.
Even better, Hughes is trying to get his son started in the family business of unbridled rock action.
"We've got a cover of Robert Palmer's Addicted To Love on the B-side of one of our singles coming out, and that's my boy rocking the beat on the drums," he gushes, his voice all gooey with pride. "I'm a natural-born musician, and I tell you, it's an amazing thing as a dad to set your kid up in a studio and watch him just take to the drums and keep time so organically. You can't fuck with that shit."
Happily, Hughes is now able to share parenting stories with his bandmate and best friend since childhood, Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), who mans the skins in Eagles of Death Metal when mini-Hughes is finishing his kindergarten homework.
Homme and fiancée Brody Dalle (of the Distillers) recently brought a bouncing baby into the world, much to Hughes's delight.
"We don't sit around and swap fatherly advice, but we both approach parenting the same way: fanatically and completely. It's the most important responsibility you can take on everything your son knows about being a man, everything he knows about how to treat women, it comes from you. Josh was made to be a dad in the same way I was made to be a dad. I wanted to be a husband, too, but I chose wrong."
Though he's still bitter about his nasty divorce from his son's mom (check out Death By Sexy's sneering closing track for proof), there's something genuinely beautiful about Hughes's devotion to the female of the species. He may be a baller busting out AC/DC-slash-Stonesy licks, but he ain't no misogynist. You get the sense he loves ladies so much, he'd almost be willing to cross over.
"Sexiness is all about femininity. Little Richard might've been as fruity as a fruit plate, but he appealed directly to women!" hollers Hughes. "Even if you knew he was gay, he wasn't gay onstage, just sexy. He scared the shit out of the world while wearing a pink silk suit."
Not that Hughes is planning to go all Tutti-Frutti on anyone's ass. As long as he's still a dude singing about girls sweet as Cherry Cola (in classic 50s R&B style) and Shasta Beasts, Hughes'll be rocking his sensitive machismo steez... until girls stop digging the porno 'stache.
"The moustache is about psyching myself up for what I do. I'm not setting out to tell you who to vote for; it's about 70s classic rock real horniness and a sexual appreciation of women. I need to surround myself with symbols of that to get in the mood.
"Baby, if you wanna make girls happy, you've gotta be a real fuckin' man. Tom Selleck's a real man. Sam Elliott, Charles Bronson: real men. For me, that's all about the 'stache. It makes me look like every 18-to-34-year-old girl's dad. When a girl says, "Oh, I lo-o-o-ve Magnum P.I.,' I know I'm doing something right."