» Mike IX Williams - Outlaw Order
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Interview conducted July 10 2009
Interview published July 19 2009

God(less), Guns, And Guts

Mike IX Williams has been called many things, all true to varying degrees, and some even by this very writer. He's always been himself, though; a modern-day Bukowski of sorts, railing against and for his passions behind the mic for sludge godfathers Eyehategod, and most recently for crust/sludge/streetpunk/doom crew Outlaw Order. You want true Southern misanthropy? Then take your Black Label Society fashion collection, douse it in bathtub gin and strike a match while cranking Dragging Down The Enforcer…

Lord Randall: So Outlaw Order pretty much kicked off while Bower was beating skins with sticks for Down. Was it simple boredom or the persistent need to drive out more of the ever-replentishing demons that resulted in the Legalize Crime 7"?

  • Michael: Wow, I'm glad you know about the Legalize Crime 7" since a lot of folks have no clue that we put something out before the full length LP. As far as boredom and/or demons, a little bit o' both I suppose. Jim was "beating the skins" as you say, for more than just Down; he was drumming for Corrosion of Conformity and playing guitar for Superjoint Ritual all at the same time. I guess EyeHateGod just got put on the back burner by him for other reasons. It just wasn't in our hearts for the rest of us to chill out at that moment and wait for Bower as much as we love jamming with him. We started 00% to keep fresh and write some new songs. Recently though, EHG has been doing some killer festivals - headlining Murderfest, Chaos in Tejas etc... Actually both bands have been playing these gigs. We're leaving this week for Hellfest in France.

Lord Randall: Was it always the intention to do a full album later on? Stepping to EyeHateGod for a second, was Preaching The End-Time Message an attempt to resurrect the beast with the 3 new songs, or just a fitting way to nail the coffin lid shut until such time as the stars are right?

  • Michael: Naww, we are never nailing the lid shut with EyeHateGod. Ever. Honestly, we were in such a drugged out haze back then, those three songs were something a little new and different after we did the album Confederacy of Ruined Lives. EyeHateGod does have other new stuff written that we have performed, but have to get in the studio to record soon. It's a matter of time and schedule. Back to 00%, that unit was always planning to go full throttle and do a full length, it just took us a couple spins of the clock hands to get it rolling. We do things down here in the South a bit slower than other folks!

Lord Randall: Between the 7" and the new album, a little thing called Katrina fucked up much of the Gulf Coast, something New Orleans still isn't fully (and may never be) back from. You're a determined lot though, so my bet's on the city. I was hanging out with a friend in Philly at the time who runs the US office of Candlelight Records, so we each knew guys like Ben [Falgoust], Kirk [Windstein], and Sammy [Duet]. What was your situation like at the time? I know you wound up doing a bit more time because of holding drugs that were legally prescribed to you. What the fuck?

  • Michael: Well, the details of my arrest (at least that time) are greatly exaggerated. I basically liberated a drugstore for medication that was prescribed to me, along with the NOPD approved batteries, food, water, and pet supplies and got locked up again. Besides all that, my apartment burned down and I lost everything I owned. But New Orleans is determined city, like you mentioned, and the Metal/Punk scene here is greater than its ever been. [There are] so many new bands, new clubs, new people. You know I've said it before, but you can't kill a city like this. You cannot destroy a scene this vibrant with so much creativity and art flowing up outta the Mississippi River and into the drinking water. Back to post-K NOLA for a second, there was so much panic, sorrow and violence in the air the days following the actual hurricane that I consider myself lucky that all that happened was getting arrested. Corruption is in every level here in our court and judicial systems, along with drug and gang chaos. Some folks didn't make out quite so unscathed.

Lord Randall: From the start, Dragging Down The Enforcer is a more overtly guitar-oriented album than was EHG. There are more solos, more dynamic rhythm shifts. Was this an intentional effort to distance one band from the other, or just how the songs came together? Case in point, the solo in "Walking Papers" is just beautiful, in an acid-drenched sort of way.

  • Michael: It's cool you actually understand us man. A lot of folks have lazily described the Outlaw Order LP as "new EHG" which is complete rubbish. Yeah, we always set out to be a different group, but that can be hard when 4/5 of the musicians are the same people, especially having the same vocalist with a certain style. We do now have Pat Bruder from Crowbar on bass, but that's another story about our sound. We still have the blues-based so called "Southern Sound", but with an added element of more dirty-ass Punk and Hardcore. You know it's Brian from Soilent Green on guitar as well, so I think he felt more free to write some strange time changes and rhythm shifts. Also there's no excessive feedback and a lot of lead solos, which do not exist in EHG, or if they do show up it's very infrequent. I appreciate you digging deep to figure us out.

Lord Randall: Speaking of, how do the songs in the bands you're involved in take shape? Do you normally hear demos of the music then craft words to fit it, or slam something you've already written into something they've come to you with. Do the words ever come first?

  • Michael: Man, theres all sorts of scenarios as far as lyrics. Sometimes they get added first or last, sometimes they are pre-written months before I hear the music, sometimes I come up with them in the studio. Whatever feels right at that particular moment.

Lord Randall: For those who may not be as familiar with the 1% symbol, explain a little about that, and the meaning of 00% to you. (Don't feel like you have to give a history lesson of 1%ers here. Not trying to put you on the spot, unless you want to be. I do rather like the "00% - Outlaw Order" reference.)

  • Michael: Yeah, I wont go into the entire history, but the 1% belongs to the much- respected Hells Angels and some other privileged motorcycle clubs, being outcasts in that world from "respected" bike riders. I came up with the "00%" as an idea that we are worthless, basically - the bottom rung of society, barely functioning. Gary did a mock up of a piece of currency at one time that instead of having monetary value, it had the double zero percent in the $ place and I think that set out a very existential and nihilist ideal that we are lower than the low. I don't ride a bike and ain't gonna pretend I do. I rode a fucking skateboard, and I would still if my knees weren't cracked apart. We do have many friends and fans whom are bikers however and are always welcome at our shows, I've finished many a bottle of Jack or Vodka with some good 1% brothers into good sick and loud music.

Lord Randall: Where did the sound clips beginning and ending the album come from this time around?

  • Michael: The Weather Underground, but of course with our own sounds effects behind the quotes. The Weather Underground, though, people should look them up. [They were] an amazing 60's radical group that did manage to make some changes amongst a shitload of peace loving hippies.

Lord Randall: Where Eyehategod certainly had it's Discharge/Crust/Street-Punk moments, and was more a "wallow in your filth and depression" kind of outfit, Outlaw Order seems very much a "chuck a Molotov cocktail through a police cruiser window,then use a Jack Daniel's-filled flamethrower on the shit" thing. Time for revolution, maybe?

  • Michael: Very perceptive thoughts meine freunde! [It's] definitely time for a revolution, time to fuck up the institutions of Rock and Roll, Metal and Punk Rock again. Things have gotten bland and generic. The biggest names in these genres are boring. I don't think music that is easy to listen to is the way to connect with the people. I mean I ain't turning anything down you know. I want of a bunch cash like everybody else, but I don't wanna do it playing shitty generic music, no matter how "heavy" people misunderstand those groups as being. Besides that, fuck everybody. Keep it underground and keep it real...A.C.A B./L.A.M.F./RIOT - Long Live the Southern Nihilism Front IX.

Lord Randall: Cancer As A Social Activity came out published by Southern Roots, and has been reprinted in an expanded, updated edition. Did the first book come together from just having a bunch of shit laying around and deciding it needed compiled, or was it always your intent to publish a book of your writings/art? Also, what can be found in the new edition? I actually added CAASA to the Metal Maniacs Holiday Gift Guide last year.

  • Michael: Yeah, thanks bro, I saw that. That was cool of you. I've always wanted to put out a book since I was a child, being a reader of the other great guys like Charles Bukowski, H. Huncke, Jeff Vandermeer, William Vollmann, Clive Barker and others. I have written dark, negative songs, poems and short stories as long as I can remember. I used to put out little chapbooks of my stuff and give them to friends and mail them out when I tape traded and junk. I actually have two others that need to be edited and artwork added. The second edition of Cancer... has ten or so new pages of writing written post- Katrina, and can still be acquired from Southern Nihilism Front.

Lord Randall: You got to play with fucking Cock Sparrer, Amebix and Harvey Milk this Memorial Day weekend at the Chaos In Tejas festival. That had to be mindblowing. What can victims expect from an Outlaw Order show, and when are you gonna drag your asses out to the Midwest

  • Michael: Well I missed Cocksparrer as they played the day before I got there, but my pals said it was incredible, one big sing-along. I kinda missed Harvey Milk as well, as they came on directly right before EyeHateGod. I saw some killer bands like Severed Head Of State, FUK, Career Suicide, Sacred Shock, Crude, Mind Eraser, Annihilation Time etc. But the most amazing was Amebix, who I've waited 25 years to see live, and they didn't disappoint one bit. They're a cool bunch of guys to boot. I get to see 'em again at Hellfest as well! I'm psyched as piss! And we cannot forget Manowar!

Lord Randall: Dragging Down The Enforcer is actually a finally-recorded compilation of sorts songs you'd hammered through in various incarnations leading up to the actual sessions for the album. What's the new shit shaping up to be like? More of the same, or are you at long last going to let some of your well known Supertramp fandom get space in your sound?

  • Michael: Ha! I don't think we'll be going the AOR route on this record. Maybe in the future, however. The new stuff we've been writing is fucking cool, hardcore and illegal in all 50 states!

Lord Randall: Any local bands you feel like ain't getting the attention they need?

  • Michael: A lot of groups in New Orleans and the area right now like Hawg Jaw, A Hanging, Endall, Thou, haarp, Tirefire, Brickwar, Innermost, The Guilt Of, The Pallbearers and tons more. All of these bands need your support and love. Check out these sites for local N'awlins news: nolaunderground.com OR noladiy.org . Thanks for the interview man, keep in touch.

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