Music Interview: Eddie Money

The World, Through Money-Colored Lenses

August March
9 min read
Because I CanÕt Get Enough
Eddie Money (courtesy of the artist)
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When punk broke there was a moment of weightlessness in the world where anything seemed possible. We might go to war against the USSR. Reagan might erase 30 years of progress; the new DEVO album might be better than the latest efforts by the Stones. And so forth and so on.

It turns out that moment lasted through the summer of 1978. During that halcyon season rock bands came and went like thunderstorms blasting against the Sandias do in these parts during the monsoon season. All sorts of stuff got lumped in with punk and new wave, even if it wasn’t. A growing divide between the programming on AM rock radio stations and FM album oriented rock stations added to the ecstatic thrill of the new, as listeners were provided more choices and access to different musical genres previously unheard over the air.

There was definitely a new infusion of artists into the rock and roll river being broadcast in Burque. On the AM dial, DJs like Rudy Grande, Peter Benson and the ubiquitous Bobby Box kept Burque’s hep kids up to date on what was popping in pop while the FM dial—chaired by record spinners with secret names and smoky articulations—provided listeners with a long view, the perspective of the deep.

So while one might hear the Tubeway Army on KRST-FM, you’d have to flip a switch to KQEO-AM and hope local rock record wiz Benson was still crushing on the East Coast if you wanted to hear Eddie Money’s latest hit.

That dude was different. Like a fit version of Billy Joel, Money specialized in romantic tales straight from suburbia. But he was Billy Joel with
cajones, me entiende? Dude was practically insouciant, rambling on with a look that suggested pathos but nonetheless promised a good time. Add a voice like silk to that Irish/Jewish/Italian-American song-story and it’s going to be explosive, like musical dynamite, sabes?

And though Eddie’s career rose and fell like many a rock icon, he soldiered on. His larger than life, go for the gusto persona had to be modified in order to guarantee his survival. But at the end of the day he is and remains just who he says he is. Honest to a fault, hardworking, damn funny, musically literate and possessed of the kind of spirit that one doesn’t get from striking a deal with the devil, but rather from outrunning the bastard. Eddie Money rocks.

And now the 69-year-old rock was calling me on the phone to talk about life, music and all that. And probably his upcoming concert in Santa, too. Damn. I bet he has a lot to say. Let’s find out.

Weekly Alibi: Hey, is this Eddie Money?

Eddie Money: It sure is! Who’s this?

It’s August March from Weekly Alibi.

How’s the
Alibi doing today, are we doing good or what?

Yeah, everything’s good, man. What an honor to pick up the phone and get you on the other end! You’re like a rocanrol legend. I remember when you came out in the ’70s; it was very different than a lot of the other stuff going on back then. Tell me, what are you up to now, after all that hoopla? Why is it still important for Eddie Money to get out and do a show every night?

I got five kids running around the house. I got five kids and they all live at home. I’m not talking about when I was 19 and I said I’d never look back. Fuck the jerks. I got milk in the refrigerator, dinner on the table, my wife’s out right now; she’s taking a class. So come on, I don’t mind what’s going on now. I got a TV show on AXS called
Real Money.”

How’s that going?

I think it’s going south with the homeowners commission out here. They’re all from Australia or something. I live in Southern California, in Malibu, and these fucking pricks from the homeowner’s association are killing me. I can’t fucking stand them, everyone wants to bust my balls. I live in a gated community. It’s just a bunch of uptight scum that don’t like rock music. They don’t like me; they don’t like my kids.

But you’re still rocking out, despite all that distraction, right?

Well, I don’t know what’s really going on with them. If you look at the TV show, I wish I had shot that show 10 years ago, 10 pounds ago. To me, I’m looking at this old guy on television bitching about his fucking kids; but people seem to like that, so we’ll see what happens. I got one thing to sell you though; I’ve got a new album coming out and it’s really something. It drops in a couple of months.

So, are you taking a break right now, getting ready to hit the road again after the TV and the recording studios?

What are you talking about? I got a show in Denver on Saturday. I just can’t stop.

Well, that must mean something, despite the crazy neighbors.

You know what it is? I’ve got two tickets to paradise, literally. And “Take Me Home Tonight,” “Think I’m In Love,” “Shakin’.” All of that. Columbia Records was really on fire when I was coming up and Bill Graham was a real friend to me.

Wow, Bill Graham, I haven’t heard that name in ages. You’re someone who actually got to work with one of rocanrol’s masterminds. Many of our younger readers may not know this, but you’re one of the last artists to have a creative relationship with Graham. How do you remember that?

He was a great guy. He died after a Huey Lewis concert. His helicopter smashed into a power pole. But Graham was a hero. His sister still had tattoos from Auschwitz; his office was firebombed by neo-Nazis. They light a menorah in San Francisco, in his name, every year. My mother was a German Jew, I’m just remembering all this stuff on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

How did your mother influence your life and work?

I was primarily on AM radio. FM radio, you know, was for college kids. I had an AM radio in a ’64 Studebaker and I called my ma up and said, “Hey, ma, I can’t believe it, I’m on AM radio!” And she says to me, “Eddie, I just got here; I told you never to call me on Majong night.” [Laughs heartily]

Well, everyone says you’re a funny dude. Seriously though, you made the transition to FM and then all these hits started dropping. … How did you handle that breakthrough? You were planning to be a policeman and you came out a rock star …

I used to have the tie on the inside of my shirts. I was the first one to do that. Everything was great. I had a long and rewarding career. I dunno. … We sold like millions of albums, it was some hot shit, like “I Wanna Go Back” and “Walk on Water.” Those are still great songs! Of course I gotta lot of pussy when I was younger, too. [Laughs heartily for about 30 seconds]

Well, that’s life in the rocanrol world, or so I’ve heard …

[Laughs] I was the first one getting it, back in 1969, one of the first, for Crissakes. But I’m lucky, really, I married an angel. A happy wife is a happy life.

Yeah, you’ve been married to Laurie, for, like 30 years!

Yeah, we’re going on 31 years.

Do some of your kids jam with you now? I’ve heard they’re part of your band.

My youngest son plays drums for me. But he plays way better in my other son’s band. They don’t give a shit about me. I’m like, give me some work, the way I wanna hear it! Really they rock; the band is called Dez Money and the Faze. He’s a very talented guitarist.

In all my years listening and covering rock music, I don’t remember seeing you play here in New Mexico. What do I have to look forward to?

Well I really hope you come up and see us live. The show’s really bitchin’. All my merch sales benefit Pets for Vets. You know, I mean, I wish I could lose 10 pounds. I still got the hair and my voice is holding up because I don’t get high anymore; I stopped getting loaded. It’s night from day: Instead of the Betty Ford show, it’s the Eddie Money show. I stopped smoking too; I gotta get out there and play the hits! I got five kids all living at the house, man. And I mean they get DUIs and their insurance goes up, it’s a fucking nightmare, I tell you.

It kinda sounds to me like you’re living the American dream.

Like I said, I’ve got two tickets to paradise, but I’m takin’ everybody.

Eddie Money in Concert

Saturday, April 28

Camel Rock Casino Showroom

17486 A US-84, Santa Fe, N.M.

8pm • $35 to $45 • 21+

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