Producer, Bad Ass Rocker and Owner of Famed Rancho De La Luna

By Lisa Morgan

What do bands Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, Chris Cornell, Arctic Monkeys and Foo Fighters all have in common?  This guy, Dave Catching.  Catching up with him is no small feat as he is either on tour with one of several well-known international bands, recording and producing artists who have traveled thousands of miles for the world renowned magic of his Rancho De La Luna Studio in Joshua Tree, or creating his own music and producing his own solo album.  This easy going in person, set your hair on fire from the stage savant has played guitar for many:  Queens of the Stone Age, Mondo Generator, Tex and the Horseheads, The Ringling Sisters, earthlings?, and Masters of Reality, to name a few. But come the end of this month, Catching will be focusing on one band in particular, Eagles of Death Metal, with band mates Jesse Hughes and Joshua Homme.

Eagles of Death Metal (EODM) formed in 1998 by best friends Jesse Hughes and Joshua Homme in Palm Desert.  As the story’s told, a friend was introducing Homme to the death metal genre, when he played a song by the Polish band Vader, claiming that the song was within the death metal genre.  Homme then referred to Vader as “The Eagles of Death Metal”.  That made him think: “What would a cross between the Eagles and a death metal band sound like?” With that, a band was born.

Last month, EODM announced their plans to release ZIPPER DOWN, their first new studio album in seven years. ZIPPER DOWN will be released worldwide on October 2nd, by T-Boy/UMe, and the band is currently on a North American and European tour that will include the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Hungary, Italy and Spain.  Catching is with them.

Always gracious, Catching eked out time to “catch” me up on what he’s been doing and where he’s headed, and true to form, he was intent on giving credit for ALL the artists he loves working with, not just the “big” more widely known names, although there are plenty of those.

CVW:  What are some of the highlights of your past 12 months?

Catching:  “I’ve been really busy! Mojave Lords, my band with Bingo Richey, Barrett Martin, Brian O’Connor, Gene Trautmann and Jonathan Hischke, released our album, Unfuckwithable, nationally last year.  It features Joey Castillo, Danny Franakel, Chris Goss and Sven Altmets.  We re-released it world-wide again this past March. We’ve already recorded 5 songs for the next album, and worked on some new material this week.”

“PINS, a great UK band, came here in October to record a fantastic album with me. It was released in June and has been doing very well.”

“So far, this year I’ve has many extremely cool sessions at Rancho: earthlings?, Earth, Joshua Homme, Tinariwen, Boots, Dot Hacker, Chris Goss, Alex Turner, DiNola, Orange Amps, Gambles, Autolux, Missi Pyle, Dennis Driscoll and Kurt Vile.  Kurt Vile’s album comes out very soon.  All of these sessions yielded fantastic music.”

“I’ve also just finished my solo album, Shared Hallucinations, Pt 1, featuring Troy Van Leeuwen, Alain Johannes, Serrina Simms, Joey Catillo, Liela Moss, Toby Butler, Chris Goss, Abby Travis, Barrett Martin Bingo Richey, Gary Wertz, Gene Trautman, Greg Dulli, Mark Lanegan, Sean Wheeler, Paz Lenchantin, and Jonathan Hischke.”

“Rancho de la Luna was featured heavily in the Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters HBO show SONIC HIGHWAYS. Dave and I have been friends since Pete Stahl brought him out in 1995 to play on earthlings? second album, HUMAN BEANS. Dave is a really fun guy who is super cool. He also has incredible ideas and the means to pull off something like SONIC HIGHWAYS. He asked if they could record here for 9 days, and we had the best time. Dave surrounds himself with not only the best of the best, but the coolest of the best of the best.  It was a real pleasure to have everyone out, especially Joe Walsh, who happened to be my second rock show when I was a kid.”

“We played some festivals with FOO FIGHTERS before Dave broke his leg.  They brought me out on stage on my birthday to play “Stay With Me” by The Faces to 70,000 people, and then had them all sing “Happy Birthday.”

CVW:  Tell me a little about the new EODM album and upcoming tour.

Catching:  ZIPPER DOWN is the first album I haven’t played on since joining the band. Joshua and Jesse have a very special bond, and they work well by themselves. Usually, I would go into the studio for a day or two to play my parts, but they did such an awesome job themselves, there was no need.  ZIPPER DOWN is EODM in all the best ways. It has danceable rock and deliciously fun hooks all over it. It’s been a blast to learn these songs for the tours. It looks like we’ll be out on the road a while for this one.  We have a new rhythm section for these tours:  Matt McJunkins on bass and Jeff Friedl on drums, two very cool guys and talented musicians.  We’ve been having a blast with these songs.”

“Touring means I’ll not be producing a lot of bands this year, but there’s always time to work on stuff during breaks.”

The fantastically productive Memphis, Tennessee born artist has made the sometimes, tough decisions to remain true to himself and his calling, is a tribute to all lesser sung heroes of the music industry who provide the bed for truly authentic creativity and production. A naturally talented, self-taught musician and sound-crafter, who maintains an energetic zest for the creative life and the people in it, it is a good bet, that for Dave Catching (and his killer rock and roll beard) the best is yet to come.

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