Eddie Money delivers three decades of hits

At the Library in May
May 1, 2013
Andrew J. Cantrelle
May 2, 2013
At the Library in May
May 1, 2013
Andrew J. Cantrelle
May 2, 2013

As a traveling musician, Eddie Money is familiar with Louisiana.

He lists it among his favorite stops and even claims to enjoy watching Louisiana State University football. But his Oakland Raider fandom supersedes any appreciation of the Fighting Tigers or the Bayou State, so yeah, he still holds a bit of a grudge as it pertains to JaMarcus Russell.

“I’m an LSU fan, too. Of course, that d–k Russell you gave us was a piece of s–t for the Raiders,” Money said. “He was throwing the ball in the parking lot!”

Money returns to Louisiana on Friday, May 3, to close Day Two of the Thibodaux Firemen’s Fair with an hour-and-a-half concert beginning at 10:30 p.m. Admission is free.

A 64-year-old practitioner of piano, saxophone, harmonica, guitar, pop vocals and sex appeal, Money’s glory days are behind him. The river of top-40 hits stopped running years ago, but the frequency with which radio stations, college bars and, now, corporate advertisers have returned to the well demonstrates that Money’s tunes are still in demand.

He tours the country on the weekends, and works on various projects – including new music and a musical script – on the weekdays. An insurance agency retained Money for a commercial, in which he pitches “Two Tickets to Paradise” to a befuddled family of four, and he’s lending his voice to a Beautyrest commercial in production now.

“It’s an audio commercial, but it’s a cute song and it’s a very funny commercial, so I’m happy about that. It keeps me in the limelight.”

Although the lights above him have dimmed, the Money Man stays busy.

The Brooklyn, N.Y. native, born Eddie Mahoney, served as a New York City police officer before pursuing a musical career beginning in 1968. Nine years later, after changing his surname, he released his eponymous debut album, which went double platinum as led by “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Baby Hold On.”

Since that success, Money has navigated fame with stark ebbs and flows. Although he had at least one top-40 hit in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s and sold 28 million records, he struggled to find consistency and was saddled with resolving a battle with drug addiction while in the public’s eye.

Now that Money has largely left the public stage – “Ever since the GEICO commercial, I’ve got to shave and shower before I go to the liquor store,” he joked. “Everybody wants a picture.” – his children are grappling with the notion of fame, doggedly chasing notoriety while their father offers tepid advice.

“I’ve got a kid named Des, he’s writing some pretty great stuff, and my daughter (Jesse) is working with a pretty talented writer from Atlanta. … Kids, they think they’re going to be famous. … They don’t realize you’ve got to have a lucky star up there.

“When I came up in the ‘70s, I was doing disco during the week with big shoes on like Pee Wee Herman, and then on the weekends I’d be playing all the college bars in Berkley, Calif., and San Jose, doing my original material. I was in a cover band, and when I was in a cover band, I was in a disco cover band. Then I went to country-western for a while, but man, I did pay my dues. I made my bones back in the ‘70s.”

Money continues to write new music, and he has channeled much of his energy into supporting wounded and fallen military veterans. In 2011, he released “One More Soldier Coming Home” – with a tear-duct-tugging video – and has pledged all proceeds from sale of the single to the not-for-profit Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

“It’s about a kid that comes back in a box, unfortunately,” he said. “You go to the airport – I always make sure these kids get standing ovation when they come off the plane in uniform.” He said he has come into contact with countless veterans of various conflicts, whether they are friends of the family or strangers for whom he buys drinks in airport bars (while he sips iced tead spike only with Sweet’N Low). “Being famous you’ve got to give back. That’s what it’s all about.”

As he writes new music and rescores his original tunes, he’s trending more toward dance music for rave clubs. He’s also massaging the script for “Two Tickets To Paradise – The Musical,” which he said had a successful stint in New Jersey, in attempt to land the play that tells the “Eddie Money story” on Broadway.

“All I can do is press forward, keep my nose clean, stay away from the bottle, stay away from chicks, stay away from porn and try not to smoke a million cigarettes,” he said.

Eddie Money, renowned for “Two Tickets to Paradise,” “Shakin’,” and a host of other top-40 hits in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, headlines the Thibodaux Firemen’s Fair on Friday, May 3.