Clean Eddie Money Is Making Jokes and Living the Dream

Courtesy of artist
Eddie Money
To paraphrase the late Rodney Dangerfield, Eddie Money can’t get no respect. The archetypal blue-collar rocker is known for anthems like “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Take Me Home Tonight,” songs that radio listeners are familiar with before they even know who is responsible for them. But he’s widely considered yesterday’s news. Dated. A has-been.

But look a little closer. The truth is, despite his high-profile battles with substance addiction that finally saw him make moves to get himself together at the start of the new millennium, the man born Edward Joseph Mahoney has remained remarkably consistent and, up until 1999’s Ready Eddie, was relatively free-flowing with the albums.

That was his tenth album. Only 2007’s Wanna Go Back has been released since then (and that was an album of covers). What happened to the man who, like it or not, remains a firm favorite on the summer touring circuit? Money says that, in fact, he has a new album ready to go.

“I’ve got a really great record, and I’m talking to labels,” he says. “I’ve been working with Waddy Wachtel, who’s the guitar player for Stevie Nicks; he’s played with Joe Walsh and Keith Richards. I’ve also got a reality show in the works with the kids. Things are good.”

Man, that’s worrying. Because from this interview, we got the impression that Eddie Money is a nice guy who just wants to be allowed to keep making music. If we learned anything from The Osbournes, it’s that reality TV shows aren’t necessarily the best way to showcase yourself if you want to be taken seriously as an artist. That doesn’t seem to concern Money, who drops jokes into the conversation regularly. Like this one:

“I went to the psychiatrist last week. He said to me, ‘You seem very bummed out.’ I said, ‘I’ve gotta tell you doctor, I feel like a real dog.’ He said to me, ‘How long have you felt like a dog?’ I said, ‘Doc, I’ve felt like a dog since I was a puppy.’ He says, ‘Why don’t you lay down and we’ll talk about it?’ I said, ‘I can’t do that.’ He says, ‘Why not?’ I go, ‘I’m not allowed on the couch.’”

Ooof, right? But bless him, it made him laugh. The other major concern with reality shows is the effect that they can have on the kids. In this case, daughter Jesse and sons Julian and Dez are all budding singers and musicians, too, the latter with his band the Faze, and it would appear that the hope is the show will give them a leg up. If it does, that can be fleeting anyway (remember Kelly Osbourne’s album?) Whatever happens, sparks are sure to fly.

“I’ll tell you the truth: If the kids make a couple of mistakes and shit like that, my wife says to me, ‘Quit picking on the kids. What are you, Joe Jackson?’,” Money says. “Having the kids out is great, because the fans love it. More people feel sorry for me when it comes to the show, because working with the kids can be a real horror show. It’s not like working with the band. I can turn around and fine the band $25 if they’re late getting on the bus, but they’re never late anyway. With my kids, I’m knocking on hotel rooms. Julian can’t find his drumsticks. It’s crazy. Kids drive you nuts.”

Money actually has five kids in total, and he quips that it’s because of the number of people under his roof that he stays out on tour, saying that he’ll do anything to get out of the house. When he does tour, he knows that he has to pull out all of the hits to keep the fans happy — and that, combined with the fact that there’s virtually no record industry anymore, is what keeps him out of the studio much of the time.

“I go out and can’t do too much original material,” he says. “We had fourteen songs in the top 100. I was on the road with Styx, Survivor, and I would be opening up. But then I was getting two or three encores. We were knocking them dead with nine or ten songs that were in the top five. It’s a battle of the bands. If I’m opening up for REO Speedwagon or Peter Frampton, I’m gonna go out there and kick some ass — you know that.”

For all the jokes and goofing around, Money clearly loves his family and is pleased that he’s still able to provide for them while doing what he loves. That doesn’t stop him from making his jokes, though.

“The first night I met my wife, I was doing a show in Nashville,” he says. “I looked right below my feet, and this gorgeous girl was right below me, and she was crying. Her eye makeup was running down her cheeks like a little girl who lost her puppy. When the guitar solo came around, I bent down and said, 'Hey, baby, what’s up?’ and she said, ‘You’re standing on my fingers.’”

On August 19, Eddie Money performs at Fiddler’s Green on a weird blue-collar-themed bill with Foghat, plus comedians Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy. That probably means more jokes from Eddie. When asked about the set, Money is happy to get specific.

“I get out there, and we open up the show with ‘Baby You’re Gone’ — people really dig that,” he says. “Then we do ‘Wanna Be a Rock n Roll Star,’ then we do ‘Endless Nights,’ for ‘all my ladies from the ‘’80s.’ Then we come back and do ‘I Wanna Go Back’ — people really like that.”

The hits will come rolling out, with Eddie Money perhaps not at his lean, mean best but certainly focused and on point, and not under the influence of anything unhealthy.

“I say that my probation officer is there, so I’m looking for clean urine,” he says. “But I don’t get loaded anymore. Live from Betty Ford, it’s the Eddie Money show. But I had to quit drinking. I was having way too much fucking fun.”

Eddie Money, with Foghat, Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy, 6 p.m. Saturday, August 19, Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre, 6350 Greenwood Plaza Boulevard, Englewood, 303-220-7000.