He was telling me jokes.
You never know who these people really are. I was talking to Shirley Manson on Tuesday and I had the two-dimensional image in my brain, of a demure alternative girl. But she’s WILD! Very sharp, and can give it before you can. As for Eddie…
He was crucified in the seventies. For an airbrushed album cover. For basic music.
But I was a fan.
Which is why I went to this gig, I’d never seen him before.
You see Eddie is promoting his new AXS television show, which is basically “The Osbournes,” fifteen years later. Dad is dumb and the kids are running circles around him. Why are all the TV shows based on this premise? But Eddie is in on the joke, whereas Ozzy was oblivious.
Now if you’ve hung backstage, you’ve experienced this. For every serious rocker, for every Don Henley, there’s an Eddie Money, or a Robin Zander, who told me a joke I’ve repeated endlessly since he whispered it in my ear at the Whisky. It wasn’t risque, it was an insider’s story, if you’re not in the business, you wouldn’t get it. Whereas Eddie’s…
Were more along the line of a group of guys getting together to have a few beers and a few laughs, even though Eddie is sober.
And when we went down to the theatre, Scott Goldman teed up some questions about the AXS show, Eddie’s five kids, this series jump-starting their careers.
Meanwhile, Eddie is continuing to wisecrack.
He makes an anti-Hillary comment.
The audience boos.
That’s what’s changed since Trump’s election. The people are on their toes. They just don’t play along. They were with Eddie, but they had no trouble turning against him.
But Eddie tried to make it right.
You see, despite being a rocker, he’s in the Hollywood tradition. He’s been on the road so long that he knows it’s about being an entertainer more than the music. You want a bit of nostalgia, a bit of fun, and to go home feeling warm and fuzzy.
That’s not what it used to be about.
It used to be everything, it used to be life itself.
But the audience was more akin to Vegas than Coachella. Coasting on memories.
As was I. Of playing that first album in my apartment on Barry Avenue.
Of listening to the live EP driving home from Mt. Waterman.
I am a fan.
But my mental image did not quite comport with reality.
You see Eddie Money’s been earning a living.
We forget that.
Some give up, some go straight. The recently departed Tom Rapp, of Pearls Before Swine, became an attorney. Donnie Iris was a mortgage broker.
But Eddie Money’s been trading on his hits, which he had a lot of.
But he’s never gonna have one again.
Your old favorites, the classic rockers, forget about it. They’re not in the same place and neither are you. They’re not hungry and shy and wanting to make money and get laid, they’ve got kids and bills and they feel the pressure. Meanwhile, the business is so scattered that even if they made a great record there’d be nowhere to hear it.
So they’re working for a living. That’s right, even Huey Lewis.
That’s the news.
But Eddie’s story is fascinating. Although he can’t tell it straight, he can only do shtick.
Of being a policeman’s son. Of becoming a cop. Of almost being pushed off the force. Of competing with Billy Joel’s Hassles. Of getting a high draft number and moving to California. Of going to college with the Black Panthers.
Before doing a one-eighty and becoming a conservative.
And then the music started.
Nobody in the band seemed over thirty. Three family members played, they acquitted themselves admirably.
And when Eddie took to the mic…
It was 1977 all over again.
You realized why Bill Graham took a flyer. You see Eddie’s an ENTERTAINER! Back then you sold your music first and foremost. Whereas Eddie’s more of a performer. He’s twirling the microphone, posing, getting you amped up and involved.
And you realize this is the way it used to be. When we used to go to clubs to hear a live band. When rock and R&B ruled. When you could feel that energy.
It’s so different from the mechanized, hard drive music of today, where it’s about taking selfies and being a star yourself. You knew who the star was back then, the person on stage. And you felt their energy.
And when Eddie sang “Baby Hold On”…
You were waiting for that break, that you know by heart. AND THERE IT WAS!
And he not only played “Two Tickets To Paradise,” he talked about the GEICO commercial. He blamed it on new representation, wanting to up his image, but the truth is all these acts are fading in the rearview mirror.
As are we.
And when he does “Shakin'” you can remember the MTV era, you’re brought right back, you’re in the moment.
And if you saw it on a cruise ship you’d be happy.
But if you were paying good money…
Who is it who is paying good money? I don’t understand it. I’ve seen all these acts during their heyday and on multiple comeback tours. Why are boomers still going? Are their lives that empty that they can only repeat the past? Our music meant something to us, but watching Eddie Money I was reminded of sitting in the showroom at the Concord Hotel, watching the stars of my parents’ generation.
Yup, it happened. We may still be wearing jeans, but we’ve become our parents.
And it’s so confusing. Because even if you’re enlightened, unlike Eddie Money, you don’t like most of today’s music, even when you hear it. You don’t understand it, the hip-hop and the pop, where are those deep album statements from bands not beholden to the man?
They don’t exist.
So you can either live in the past or live in the present.
That’s the conundrum.
And after going back forty years Tuesday night it convinced me…