Dec. 10, 2015 12:10 AM

Likely the only quality rivaling Santeria’s House of the Dying Sun’s stellar sound was the mystique surrounding the record and the band that made it. Easily one of the best — if not the best — modern rock albums to come out of Lafayette, the 2002 release was a Southern rock gem with a heady edge, poetic lyrics and auditory delights. Guitarist Troy “Primo” Primeaux talks about what exactly — dead prostitutes, near decapitations, cicadas — went into the record.

That album has some really cool changes in mood and feel. What were y’all going for in terms of how the record felt and where it came from?
With influences as diverse as the Rolling Stones, Sabbath, Son House, Dylan or the MC5, there weren’t any reservations about including songs indicative of both light or shade. Though most of the album’s songs had been written over the course of several years, three country-esque tunes (“Strung out on a Dream,” “Laredo,” and “Hellbent Woman Blues”) intended for a Dege (Legg) solo album were included to balance out the heavy rockers. Back then, I carried a portable tape recorder everywhere we went, so the resulting field recordings were included as little sonic documents of our crazy lives and culture. Think loosely, a hard-rocking Southern Dark Side of The Moon.

Was it really recorded in a snake infested barn?
(It) was actually recorded in a haunted whorehouse. Tony Daigle’s Electric Comoland Downtown Lafayette recording studio was once a brothel known for the murder of a prostitute in what would later become the studio’s control room. Eventually, I ended up living there and experienced some of the supernatural strangeness firsthand. We often wondered if those unknown forces added something to the recordings.

There’s a clip on it where two guys are talking about a crazy snake on drugs. Where did that come from?
That would be Elron Viator and Dege talking about the essence of crazy. Elron was a late 1960s Crowley High School quarterback who fell on bad luck and inadvertently became a sort of dysfunctional-surrogate-father/muse to Dege. Though Elron worked and lived in a ratty shack at the junkyard, he often slept many nights on our kitchen floor at the Santera Hellhouse. It was not uncommon for Santeria to play a show, get home in the early morning hours and discover Elron boisterously BBQing for us by the Jacuzzi. He was a consummate trip to be around. Anyway, this field recording comes from a late night cruise in Elron’s old car. While Jay Guins (bass) and I drank a few suds in the backseat, Dege and Elron debated who was crazier in the front! Elron’s girlfriend Donna was the inspiration for “Hellbent Woman Blues,” so the clip became a fitting memento for that song.

What is the definitive track on the record? Why?
I would say that would be “Zixox.” The song has been described as our “Freebird” in that it features great lyrical imagery, several stylistic shifts, a blistering solo by Dege and a slide solo that is probably the best thing I’ve ever written or played. Long after the song fades to the sound of cicadas, there is a real cool swampadelic drum jam that we cut late one night. When we finished the track, I remember the sun slowly coming through the tiny window above the congos.

Was there anything incredible/funny/weird etc that happened during the sessions?
There were actual voodoo threats from Santeria practitioners not happy with our choice of a band name. We found a cow’s heart in our mailbox, everyone’s car broke down at once, Bibles with cryptic messages were left on our amps in New Orleans, Dege was nearly decapitated on the way to a gig, etc. Needless to say, we started believing in a Santeria curse.

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