Wealth of Talent
Eighties legend Eddie Money descends upon Salinas.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
It is incredible that VH1’s Behind the Music never had an episode on blue-collar ’80s rocker Eddie Money. The arc of his career– including a sudden explosion of fame and wealth, followed by a humbling bottoming out caused by ingesting large quantities of drugs and alcohol, followed by him scraping himself off the floor (quite literally) and reviving his career– seems ideally suited for the show.
Before embarking on a music career, Money, who plays the Fox Theater this Friday with the Name Droppers, attempted to follow in his father’s footsteps as a police officer. That is until the young rocker attended the New York Police Academy and realized that being in law enforcement wasn’t for him.
“I grew up with respect for the idea of preserving law and order, and then all of a sudden cops became pigs and it broke my heart,” he told Rolling Stone in 1978. “It was just such a goddamn shame that getting high was illegal.”
Money decided to pursue a more suitable career as a rock musician in the mid ’70s. After moving to the Bay Area, the young rocker caught the attention of legendary music promoter Bill Graham. “It was great,” Money said in an interview with www.Bankrate.com. “Then I got a record deal with Bill Graham off a cassette tape. Next thing I know, Bill signs me, and I’m doing Saturday Night Live, opening for the Rolling Stones, playing with The Who, doing Midnight Special with Wolfman Jack.”
After Money had hits with songs including “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise,” he underwent the typical rock star response to a meteoric rise: overindulgence. “It was great, a lot of fun,” he continues in the www.Bankrate.com interview. “Of course, I also got really stupid. You get really big and you think you’re invincible, just like me with the drug overdose. The most miserable part of my life. I couldn’t walk for a year. I took Phenitol, which is a barbiturate, and I was drinking like crazy. I went into a semi-catatonic state and fell asleep on my sciatic nerve. My life became miserable.”
Bowed but not broken, Money got his life back on track and released a string of hits in the ’80s including “Shakin’,” “Take a Little Bit” and “Take Me Home Tonight.” In 1989, he scored his last big hit with “Peace in Our Time.”
Recently, Money has been undertaking a range of projects. Last year he released an album called Wanna Go Back featuring covers of oldies including “Good Lovin’” and “Build Me Up Buttercup.” He has also written a musical based on his life titled Two Tickets to Paradise. As Money told All Access Magazine, “The whole play is about me moving out to California with the band and getting the record deal, then having the overdose and coming back. It’s kind of like a Jersey Boys, you know?”
Or a great Behind the Music episode.
The Name Droppers with Eddie Money play 9pm Friday, Nov. 21, at the Fox Theater, 241 S. Main St., Salinas. $35. 758-8459.