Classic rocker visits the valley — ‘dysfunctional’ family in tow — with several entertainment irons in the fireBy BRIAN BEESLEY
People of retirement age — and even at 68, Eddie Money doesn’t appear to be one of them — are usually advised to broaden their investment portfolios.
Money doesn’t appear to be struggling financially, but after more than four decades cranking out classic rock, he is starting to branch out.
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Reached at his Los Angeles home for a phone interview last week, Money (given name Edward Joseph Mahoney) said he was on his way to do a shoot for his coming TV series “Real Money.” Its run of 10 episodes is set to begin airing later this spring on the AXS cable network owned by Mark Cuban and Ryan Seacrest.
“You know, I’ve always liked Mark Cuban. That show ‘Shark Tank’ is very interesting,” Money said, his raspy New York accent intact. “He reminds me of (George) Steinbrenner a little bit — he’s right down there in the gutter with the troops, you know.”
The show revolves around Money’s family life which includes Laurie, his wife of 28 years, their five kids and eight dogs. And … other animals.
“I told everybody I didn’t want to go horseback riding,” he says, roughing out the premise of a recently shot installment. “So what do they do — they write an episode about me horseback riding. They gave me the biggest (expletive) horse in the stable, and I’m feeding the horse apples and he looks like he’s going to kill me.”
Thirty-eight years earlier, drugs almost did just that.
He’s open about the 1980 fentanyl overdose that put him in the hospital and grounded a skyrocketing career: three top-40-selling albums in as many years, starting with “Eddie Money” in 1977. But he rebounded, both physically and professionally, with the platinum-certified “No Control” in 1982 and then proceeded to chart singles into the 1990s.
The spotlight started to recede after 1988’s top-10 hit “Walk on Water,” but Money kept recording and touring, even putting on concerts in Lewiston, the last of which came in 2003 at Hot August Nights.
“I’m pretty lucky. I’ve sold over 30 million albums, my voice is still in pretty good shape and I’ve still got my hair,” the one-time patrol cop jokes. “My doctor says I could lose a little weight, but what are you gonna do. I’m a dinosaur but I’m still kicking.”
In fact, his turbulent early life is the foundation of a musical play currently in production. “Two Tickets to Paradise” borrows its title from perhaps Money’s most famous song (he also sang it for laughs in a 2012 GEICO commercial).
“It’s a really great play,” he says. “It’s got a lot of Broadway-esque kinds of songs like the ones in ‘Damn Yankees,’ ‘Annie Get Your Gun,’ ‘Carousel,’ ‘West Side Story’ — the kinds of plays my parents used to take me to when I was a kid.”
It’s scheduled to open Feb. 14 in Rochester, N.Y., and begins a 10-week East Coast tour.
On top of all this, Money says he’s working on a new studio album, which would be his first to sport new material since 1999’s “Ready Eddie.”
“I’m writing a lot of songs, working with (acclaimed guitarist) Waddy Wachtel, and I can’t believe it … all of a sudden I’ve got some really big labels interested in my new record.” The working title is “Let It Roll,” and he says “it might be my best record since ‘No Control.’ ”
Not surprisingly, three of his offspring are aspiring musicians, and he says they’ll accompany him on the trip to Lewiston, as well as perform on the new album. Daughter Jesse is a singer, son Dez is a singer/guitarist and youngest son Julian is a drummer. He talks about them with pride, but he also knows what sells in a reality TV series.
“We’re a dysfunctional family, but listen, my kids aren’t shooting up heroin and ripping off houses and (stuff) like that,” says Money, who notes that he himself has been sober for nine years. “I’ve got five kids living in the house and we got eight dogs. The neighbors aren’t crazy about me; I’ll tell you that right now.”
He may have an ulterior motive for agreeing to put his personal life on public display.
“I hope this TV show does well because I want my kids’ careers to take off. If they don’t, I don’t think I’m ever going to get the empty nest I’m looking for.”
To watch a clip of “Real Money,” click this link.