Ehab Omran of Columbus’ South of Eden has long admired Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine. However, the Jordan-born, Ohio-raised singer only learned about “this crazy band called Audioslave” in 2012. He recalls hearing the group’s song “Show Me How to Live” for the first time while in high school and being flabbergasted by their spirited chemistry.
“I fell in love with it instantly,” he recalls. “It’s a very heavy riff, but it grooves at the same time, and that’s why I think Tom Morello is a god for doing all the things he does on the electric guitar. And obviously Chris Cornell is nothing to pass over at all, may he rest in peace.”
So when he and South of Eden were looking for a song to cover, the decision was easy. The video for their version of “Show Me How to Love” premieres today exclusively via SPIN.
“It’s a little bit out of our territory but definitely not out of our musical influence,” says Omran. “When COVID hit around March, it kind of came back up in our library. Obviously, we’ve all been huge fans for a long time, but it really resonated with us … The lyrics mean a lot to us right now, with everybody going through quarantine and going through all these crazy things. Just the title, ‘Show Me How to Live,’ [it’s] like, ‘Show me how to live in these crazy times,’ or however you want to take the meaning.”
Aiming to be faithful to Audioslave’s version, South of Eden performed the song live. Since they only did two takes at most, Omran says their take honors the raw spontaneity of the track.
“It’s just a straightforward rock and roll song, very similar to how they do it live,” he says. “We just wanted it to be exactly what it was, and part of that was capturing it very live — no-click track, no copy-paste shit. Let’s just hit record and play all the way through and done.”
South of Eden, who count ‘80s and ‘90s rock among their major influences, also approach their own material with a straight-ahead mentality. The cover follows the August release of their debut EP, The Talk, helmed by veteran producer Greg Wells. It’s an appetizer for the band’s first album, due out some time next year.
The quartet wanted to create a strong first impression with their “very high-octane, high-energy” vibe. They previously performed as a trio under the name Black Coffee, but their new moniker — a “raunchier” take on John Steinbeck’s East of Eden — reflects the addition of another member and highlights their new dynamic.
“[Wells] really just let our freak flag fly, just let us do whatever we wanted and however we wanted,” says Omran. “We don’t expect to be on the radio. We don’t expect to do anything. But we just want to make rock music listenable again and make it fresh and make it what it really is: a middle finger to everybody.”