The relationship between Maton Guitars and Eagles of Death Metal goes deeper than the band’s two constituents – Jesse Hughes and Joshua Homme – being long time Maton players. Mixdown spoke with Maton operations manager Anthony Knowles about their unique bond. “We’ve dealt with Jesse since 2005 when we were sleeping on his floor in the desert at the advice of Joshua Homme, who said ‘You’ve gotta meet this guy,’” he says. “We went and saw him in the desert – he was playing this tiny little club – and it was pretty clear he was starlight, and we’ve been working closely with him ever since. It’s more than an endorsee relationship that we have with Jesse.”
"It was 2006 when our general manager and I landed in Los Angeles and Jesse picked us up in a beaten up old hire car and we drove around LA. We got to know him as a desert rat and a genuine soul long before there was a musical relationship there worth exploring."
Homme is of course the frontman of Queens of the Stone Age and drummer of Eagles of Death Metal. He’s been closely associated with Maton since QOTSA’s 2002 release Songs For the Deaf – notably wielding a Maton Mastersound in the video for ‘No One Knows’. “A guy that worked here years ago called Adam Cole had given him a Mastersound. He was a Kyuss fan and sent him a Mastersound, and Josh liked it and recorded ‘No One Knows’. We were just backstage at the Big Day Out and said g’day and from there we kept in touch and eventually we made him his BB1200.”
I think people know Joshua as a large redheaded angry Viking with pretty strong principles, and that’s one of the reasons we like working with him. He’s not playing anything because it’s free. He doesn’t need guitars off us. These principled kind of genuine characters that use our products because it’s best for them are the sort of relationships we nd ourselves gravitating toward.”
Hughes also falls into this category. “When Jesse’s in Melbourne he comes to see us and when we’re in the States we go and see him. Through Jesse we’ve been connected to The Hives and even Green Day – less formal relationships. And it’s all just because we have a partnership with Jesse, more so than a ‘Here, you play our guitars on the telly.’ We think that’s unusual in modern rock’n’roll performers. A lot of people think people play guitars because they’re given them. With Jesse it’s something different.”
It’s well known that three armed madmen interrupted Eagles of Death Metal’s November 13 gig at Paris’ Bataclan theatre, resulting in the deaths of 89 people and injuring for many others. Just weeks after the attacks, Hughes and Homme recorded an interview for Vice, during which they invited musicians of the world to cover their song ‘I Love You All the Time’ with all proceeds going towards Bataclan survivors. Knowles is eager for the Australian music community to get involved and show its support. “I’ll be very careful when paraphrasing Jesse’s message. But the crux of it is that when they were performing at the Bataclan they were experiencing a rush, they were on a high, they were entertaining their fans, and in the worst possible way that was taken away from them. They don’t want to get into the politics of terrorism, but they want to remind people that they attacked live music because it’s what people who love music love to do best. He just wants to restore people’s faith in what’s good about music, and the fact that it’s a community that gets behind each other.
“We think of [Jesse] as a family member. He’s got really close relationships with a lot of the guys on the floor and in the office. He doesn’t want to be remembered as the guy that was performing at the Bataclan. As they say, he’s been kissed on the dick by rock’n’roll angels and he just wants to remind people that music’s for everyone.”
Any musicians interested in taking up the challenge can contact Maton Guitars via firstname.lastname@example.org with I Love You All The Time in the subject line.