By Thomas Conner
© Tulsa World
Three weeks ago, he's telling me, Eddie Money and his band
played a sold-out show that had the crowd in a frenzy — all except
one man, who approached Money afterward in a shaky state.
"This guy's looking bad, and he's smoking cigarettes, and he
says, "Man, I drove miles to get here and got a DUI on the way, and
you didn't play 'Baby, Hold On.' Well, I went right back out and
did the song through.''
What a guy, huh? Never let a felony go unrewarded.
But that's the kind of neighborly moxie that's kept Eddie
Money, if not on the charts, at least a welcome palooka in venues
across the country.
Money rarely fails to pack in the crowds. While many classic
rock dinosaurs still venture out into the touring circuit and
struggle to rustle up an audience, Money confounds the naysayers
"Oh, you should see their eyes when people pour in,'' Money
said of his concert promoters. "We did a show recently right here
in L.A. and they started flipping out. We'd said they would sell
about 20,000 tickets, and they said no way, it won't happen. Sure
enough, they closed off the parking lot and part of the streets.
People really come out of the woodwork to check it out.''
It's not always a good idea to repeat the same formula over and
over, but for Money, oddly enough, doing just that is what's kept
him respectable. When Money debuted on the national rock scene in
1977, his straightforward, shot-and-a-beer barroom rock was a
godsend to fans and DJs getting rattled by the rise of disco and
punk. His first two singles, "Baby, Hold On'' and "Two Tickets to
Paradise'' were classics within weeks.
From then on, his career went up and down, particularly after he
split with guitarist Jimmy Lyon in the early '80s, peaking at times
with hits like "Think I'm in Love'' in 1982 and "Take Me Home
Tonight'' in 1986.
His most recent album, "Love and Money,'' was a token return to
full circle for Money. It was recorded for and released by Wolfgang
Records, the label started by the late and legendary concert
promoter Bill Graham, who gave Money his start.
"I was doing a show in San Francisco called Sound of the
Cities, which was at Winterland (Arena, one of Graham's venues),''
Money said. "We were shooting the concert on video, and I told all
the people to come down close to the front so it would look like it
was packed. I got my record deal and met Bill because of that
Before all that, Money spent a life all over the map. He still
chews a tough New York City accent ("I've no idea why I still
sound like this after living in California for 30 years. I probably
used to sound worse,'' he said), but he left that home town — and
his place in the New York Police Academy — to play rock 'n' roll.
He headed to Berkeley, of course, and got involved in anti-war
protests, selling bell-bottom pants, even a brief stint with Big
Brother and the Holding Company shortly after Janis Joplin died.
Now looking to a summer booked with another slate of shows worth
nearly a million dollars, Money is happy providing a rocking
nostalgia trip for all those fans in the woodwork.
"Everyone grew up with 'Two Tickets' and 'Baby, Hold On' and
all that. When I listen to something like 'Sgt. Pepper's,' it puts
me back in a certain place at a certain time in my life. That's
what we try to do for people, and it's cool,'' Money said. "You
run into people with so many stories, and it's so much fun to be a
part of their lives. I really feel like I know that audience. I
don't even have to do it for the money.''
When 9 p.m. Saturday
Where Mayfest, Budweiser Stage, Third Street and Cincinnati Avenue
These online "clips" reproduce a self-selection of my journalism (music etc) during the last 20+ years. It's a lotta stuff, but it only scratches the surface. I do not currently possess the time or resources to digitize the whole body of work. These posts are simply a bunch of pretty great days at the office.