Gary James' Interview With
Eddie Money






His career dates back to the mid 70s when he was discovered by Rock promoter Bill Graham. Since then, he's recorded over 12 albums and sold over 12 million records worldwide.

Maybe you've heard some of his songs; songs like "Two Tickets To Paradise", "Baby Hold On", "Take Me Home Tonight", "Shakin" and "Think I'm In Love".

He's had over ten Top 40 hit singles and managed to become a top in-concert performer as well. If you're saying, that sounds like Eddie Money...well, you'd be right on the money, because it is him!

Eddie Money talked to us about his life.

Q - Eddie, it's 10 AM. What are you doing up so early? You are a Rock 'n' Roller aren't you?

A - I'll tell you one thing, I love great Rock 'n' Roll, but I'm too old to stay up all night, do a bunch of drugs and shit. I hate hangovers, you know. So, I thought the best way to go for me and for the sake of the crowd, for everybody getting a hundred per cent of Eddie Money was to be a drug free, alcohol free show. That's the way to go.

Q - I think it's a great idea! I question people who say they're doing all those drugs while they're writing, rehearsing, recording, touring and granting interviews. It doesn't add up. It would seem physically impossible to do.

A - Well you know what? I don't really just stick my nose out and say I do this and that. I just take everything one day at a time. I know one thing, if I do a show today, I'm not going to be out of my fucking mind doing it. I can't tell you about tomorrow. (laughs) No, it's great. Business has really been fantastic. People still want to hear "Two Tickets To Paradise" and "Want To Go Back" and "Take Me Home Tonight" and "Think I'm In Love". I think a lot of the fans back in the early 70s really embrace their artists so to speak, as compared to the 90s. People just don't hang out anymore. People still listen to Tom Petty, Bob Seger, Rod Stewart and Eddie Money. I don't know if the fans are going to hang on their stars the way we did. Maybe Sugar Ray might be around, but who knows about these other guys.

Q - Is it difficult for someone like yourself who's been out there for a while to get the attention of today's Rock radio and Rock press?

A - Well, to tell you the truth, we do a lot of Classic Rock radio.

Q - I talked to someone who saw you at The Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York.

A - Oh yeah, great place.

Q - You liked it then.

A - Oh, I had a great time there. I really did.

Q - After the show, you did something not many acts do. You came out to the lobby and signed programs, pictures...

A - Well, it's nice. I have a lot of fun. People who come to Eddie Money shows are not always the richest people in the world. Sometimes their wives are working or they're pulling double shifts. It's hard to get a (baby) sitter. For people to take the time and the energy to get out there and hear some great Rock 'n' Roll, I gotta tell you I love the people who come to my shows. They're really, really great people.

Q - What was it like for a kid from New York to move to Berkeley, California in the mid 1960s? Didn't you experience some kind of culture shock?

A - Oh, Geez, it was crazy! I was 19 years old. I was police triune in the police department. Dropped out of that, came to California. I was working on Telegraph Avenue, which is the main avenue where Berkeley University is. Everybody was getting sprayed with shots of rock salt. It was really crazy. There were cops all over the place. It was wild. But, you know what? I ran a food conspiracy. Nobody was really prejudiced. It was a nice experience in my life. It was a nice way to turn the corner. I went to the University Of Berkeley, California. I got a great education. It was a good time in my life. I got into a lot of great Rock 'n' Roll. It was fun.

Q - What's a food conspiracy?

A - You go down to the market yourself. You get a bunch of people to chip in and you buy produce for your group. It's a lot cheaper and the food's a lot fresher.

Q - Bill Graham "discovered" you at a San Francisco Sound Of The Cities Talent Show. What was that?

A - The Sound Of The Cities Talent Show was actually amateur night at Winterland. I said "What do you get to win?" You actually never get to win anything. You get to play Winterland. And I had written songs like "Two Tickets To Paradise" and "Baby Hold On". I had a large following in the clubs in the Bay area in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, that whole area down there. But, I didn't have a record deal. Then I got a record deal. Next thing I know I was on Saturday Night Live and my material was really getting played all over the country. I was on the road with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Edgar Winter, Alice Cooper. You name it, I played with 'em. It was wild. I had a great time. The Big Guy Upstairs has blessed me with a lot of hits. It's been a wonderful journey, I gotta tell you.

Q - Was there anyone else on that Sound Of The Cities Talent Show that went on to greater fame?

A - No, I don't think so. Unfortunately not. But, you know who was around at the same time? Huey Lewis And The News.

Q - In that area?

A - Yeah. In that area and the same time span. I know Toots And The Maytals made it out of Berkeley, California even though they weren't from Berkeley. I remember Patti Smith coming out to Berkeley from New Your and making some big waves out there. You had groups like Tower Of Power coming out of the Bay Area...Sammy Hagar. Now you got groups coming out of the Bay Area like Trane.

Q - You were in Big Brother And The Holding Company after Janis Joplin's death?

A - Yes.

Q - Were you the singer in that group?

A - I was the singer in that band and they liked me a whole lot. But, I lost the gig out to a Blues singer from Chicago. His name is Nick Gravenities. I don't think he was as good as me, but he had a gift of gab. You know what I'm saying? I was a lot younger than the guys. He ended up getting the gig instead of me, which is great because I don't think I could've ever held a candle to Janis Joplin.

Q - It would be hard for anyone to replace Janis.

A - Oh, yeah. She was fantastic.

Q - Going up against a legend is almost impossible.

A - Right. I understand that. It's like trying to cover a Beatle song. You'll never do 'em as good as The Beatles. Why even try?

Q - Or worse yet, be compared to Elvis or The Beatles and told you're the next Elvis or Beatles.

A - That's the kiss of death.

Q - For the longest time you recorded for CBS. Then you went to CMC. Why didn't CBS pick up your option?

A - Well, to tell you the truth, I had a bit of a falling out with Columbia Records. I was with the label for a really long, long time. It was a good label, but after Bill Graham died, they were more interested in "new" music. I didn't think they were gonna give me the shot I really deserved. When you get a little older, you sell less records. A lot of the fans who used to buy Eddie Money records are going into Ace Hardware looking for sprinkler parts. Buying records is usually for the younger buying public anywhere from fourteen to eighteen years old. I don't really know what happened. They wanted to put me on the Legacy label. Then I went with CMC. CMC didn't do what I really wanted them to do.

Q - What label are you on now?

A - Well, right now I'm on an E.M.I. label and I'm on the same label as The Bee Gees. It's Left Bank. It's out of Los Angeles. Bee Gees. Motley Crue. It's a good label. It's called Beyond.

Q - How important is it for a new singer to have a manager like Bill Graham? What did he do for your career?

A - He got me a lot of great shows. He made sure that I didn't burn out. He said to me "If you keep your life together and you're really good to your fans and you write a certain amount of hit songs, you'll have longevity as an artists. You won't be a flash in the pan." There were a lot of people that came and went during my career, but I kind of hung out. I'm still very viable in the Rock 'n' Roll world. I'm still doing a lot of shows and I've got Bill Graham to thank for that.

Q - What do you think your contribution has been to Rock 'n' Roll?

A - Well, I think everybody loves songs like "Shakin" and "Two Tickets To Paradise". They were big songs. They're all songs that people remember from Eddie Money for a long time and I really appreciate that.


© Gary James. All rights reserved.


Eddie Money
Photo from Gary James' Press Kit Collection


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