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Longtime Rocker Has Tamed His Party Animal

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Memo to Dodgers General Manager Fred Claire: Off-season moves can determine the success of the upcoming season, so listen up. If the Dodgers make the playoffs next season, do not let Eddie Money sing “The Star Spangled Banner.” At least not in Dodger Stadium.

More baseball advice later.

Anyway, Eddie Money will sing (but probably not the national anthem) Friday night at the Ventura Theatre after a short drive from his Westlake home--the one with the wall full of gold and platinum albums.

Money, once a notorious party animal, hit it big with his 1977 self-titled debut. He has cleaned up his act considerably since and thus is not one of those dead guys who still happens to be making albums. He is a cinch to belt out the hits for his loyal legion of fans, many of whom still view him as the party people’s choice.

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Born Edward Joseph Mahoney in Brooklyn, the fortysomething Money hasn’t lost his New York accent or his sense of humor. He chatted about what’s what during a recent phone interview.

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Last tour you did the acoustic thing. Is this tour going to be acoustic or plugged in?

We’re plugged in like big dogs. I got tired of doing “Shakin’ ” on congas. We never have a set list, so every night is a little different. I like to keep the band on their toes. Plus we have an arsenal of great songs. I remember one time I saw Led Zeppelin open for Country Joe and the Fish at the Fillmore, and they did every song note for note, just like on their first album. We try to do the same thing. I live to be on stage.

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You used to be this party animal dude--how did you survive?

To tell you the truth, I got so high in the ‘70s and ‘80s, my whole life is still an acid flashback. I get up in the morning, smoke a cigarette and see paisley. Besides, I’ve got a wife and kids now, and I don’t ever want to be a phantom soccer dad. Yeah man, my wife is this great little rock ‘n’ roll girl, except, man, she spends so much money, sometimes I think I should’ve married a blind girl. You know what she wants now? Tile in the laundry room! Hey man, I shop with double coupons.

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Eddie, you clearly have too much money. All right, so party dude no more for you--but when you play, do you still get the party dudes in the audience?

Oh yeah, man. I remember this one guy one night--he had cigarette butts in his hair . . . and just got a DUI. “Hey, Eddie, man, I just drove 300 miles to see you. I almost made it through high school listening to you, man.” I have a lot of die-hard fans. I meet a lot of them in traffic school.

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You’re from New York. Imagine the World Series next year, Dodgers and the Yankees; whose side are you on?

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Oh man, the Dodgers. They give me free tickets. You know I sang the national anthem before one of the playoff games with the Braves this year. But I forgot to tell the Dodgers that every time I do that the home team loses.

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What? I always thought it was the lack of hitting. Wow. All right, so how has the music biz changed over the years?

A lot of the alternative bands now like Candlebox and Collective Soul were weaned on Eddie Money, Aerosmith and Tom Petty, so I’ve had my day in the sun. KLOS doesn’t play me anymore and I get stuck in this classic rock thing. Bob Segar, Rod Stewart and myself get left out in the cold a lot, but still I can’t complain.

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What were some of your memorable gigs?

Oh man, I opened up for the Rolling Stones. That was wild. I played with the Clash. They thought they were going to kick my ass, but they were wrong. I played before 450,000 at the first US Festival. I’ve played some killer gigs. Recently, some chick who wasn’t even supposed to be on stage fell off. Did she sue the promoter? Did she sue the venue? Hell no, she sued me.

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Looks like no tile in the laundry room this week. So what does everyone get wrong about Eddie Money?

Everyone thinks I used to be a cop. I was a police trainee, a typist. I got to work in the police department. I did the roll call every morning. My dad was patrolman of the year, and I was like this undercover typist. I was in a band at night, getting stoned all the time and growing my hair long and driving my dad nuts. This captain that hated me fired me for writing a personal letter on police department stationary.

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Why doesn’t rock ‘n’ roll ever start on time?

To tell you the truth, it’s the roadies. They don’t [care]. They act like they do, but they don’t. They don’t care about anything.

DETAILS

Eddie Money

* WHERE: Ventura Theatre, 26 Chestnut St., Ventura.

* WHEN: Friday at 8 p.m.

* HOW MUCH: $21.50.

* CALL: 648-1888.


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