The Eagles of Death Metal . Death by Sexy . Downtown

Live at the Gibson Amphitheater with the Strokes . Thursday, March 30

At Coachella . Saturday, April 29

Non-joke joke band Eagles of Death Metal are back with Death by Sexy, the stompy/feel-good follow-up to their ’04 debut, Peace Love Death Metal. This time, founding Eagles Josh Homme (drums, also of Queens of the Stone Age) and mustachioed singer Jesse Hughes host cameos (from Jack Black, Dave Grohl, and Homme’s girlfriend, Brody Dalle) and gloss things up with a more dance-driven dynamic. They’re still pumping the droll humor and bizarre lingo, though (girls are “pointy kitties” and prudes are “shasta beasts”), not to mention the devil signs. EODM’s tongues are obviously so far in cheek they’re hitting the tonsil area, but they pooh-pooh any Spïnal Tap comparisons. Joke band or no, the nü Eagles have accomplished a rare feat: They’re funny without sucking. (We’ll take them any day over “serious” Ozzfest metalists.) They also give good phone, as we found while interviewing Baby Duck (Homme’s nickname, don’t ask) last week.

L.A. WEEKLY:Tell us about your new record.

JOSH HOMME: It’s like if you get orange juice and don’t put the water in, just drink the concentrate.

Jesse has said you guys rip off “better Rolling Stones songs this time.” Who else do you rip off here?

Everything from Little Richard to P-Funk to Robert Palmer. There’s already plenty of people who are like [sighs] with their music. You don’t need that, because you already got it. The goal was to make it fun and to control the dance floor.

I know you get this all the time, but what’s with the band name?

We were four grown men in a completely dark VW bus listening to Vader, the metal band. And we were all a little bit out of our heads, and I started laughing because it takes such a commitment to play death metal. You really gotta go for it. We said we should play death metal, but it should be like the Eagles of death metal. Then Jesse spit graham crackers all over me cause he was laughing so hard.

Were you guys stoned?

That’s what Jesse says, but let me ask you this: If you were stoned, why would you eat graham crackers? It was like he blew graham-cracker dust in my face. I’ll never forget it. I’m not going to forgive him for ?it, either.

Comparing bands across genres is a device used by music journalists a lot — you know, “the Styx of punk rock” or “the Air Supply of techno.” What other names might you have invented if you’d been listening to different music in the van ?that night?

The Yanni of Mariachi. [Laughter.] C’mon, don’t you ever listen to speed mariachi?

Okay, so you won’t go on record that you were stoned when you came up with the idea for the band. But Death by Sexy is a pretty silly, catchy record. What drugs were you on while making it?

We were just totally high on love. This record is like a celebration of Friday night lasting till Saturday night and then that lasting forever. Because, let’s face it, there isn’t enough escape and celebration goin’ on. I think it was Iggy Pop who said, “Music should be sweet enough for the chicks and tough enough for the guys.” Yes, but it should be sweet enough for the chicks first. Even in Queens, I’ve been playing for the girls for years. I’ve almost got the one big giant drunk guy out of our audience . . . Almost.

Aren’t you being ironically sexy, though?

Not at all. Everybody can get to their sexy vibe. And like when I listen to Al Green or James Brown or Little Richard or Elvis or Roy Orbison, I feel that they’re just being natural. They let loose. That’s what’s sexy to me . . . Really, it’s just about what’s above your legs and underneath ?your torso.

So you don’t take it too seriously?

I take the music seriously, but . . . if I ever read a review of this record, bad or good, secretly I’ll be laughing, because to critique is like something that only someone else would do.

Music is a selfish act. Selfish for the maker and for the listener. You use it for whatever you need it for. Take that into consideration with Eagles. You should use it for whatever it works best for. If that’s shoveling crap or if that’s checking your look in the CD case or if that’s putting on something to dance to, let’s do it.

Is this your vanity project?

Jesse and I both have those vanity handheld mirrors. I’m not joking. We’re gonna start making them and they’ll say “Eagles of Death Metal” on the back. So then, if someone says that, I’ll just say, yeah, I look good.

What do you say to people who call this a joke band?

This band has no inhibition and no conscience. This is about the moment you’re having fun. Queens is about that too, but it’s also those moments leading up to and after. But joke band? Hell, no. I say that that comment is why my three-record plan is going to work in spades. On the first record, there was no expectation. We did it in two days. I’m playing drums. Jesse’s singing. There’s no bass. We knew it’d be so easy for people to say, “He shouldn’t be playing drums. Who’s this coattail rider with him? Where’s the bass? And why is it so underproduced?” So with this album, no one’s gonna see this shit coming. Whoever knows Eagles already, when they hear this, they’re gonna be like, whoa. ’Cause this album ain’t no joke. And after this one, just wait ?and see.

What does the future hold for Eagles?

One world under a united mustache. After a good show, we say the crowd has been ’stached.

Any plans in the future for you to grow a ’stache?

No. I don’t do that. Here’s the deal. What we’re trying to say here is you gotta be you. I can’t grow a mustache for a few reasons: a) I look stupid, like I work at Chief Auto; b) I can’t really get one to grow; and c) That’s Jesse’s deal. I gotta be me.

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