|This is the transcript from my interview with Eman on August 19, 2001. I hope to have some .wav files from the interview to add as well. This interview is dedicated to Corey Ann, since I truly owe it all to her, and she is one of the kindest people I've ever met. Thank you!!!!|
|I know that you began playing in your father's band when you were 12. How long did you play with them?
Until I was twenty - like ten years.
It was a Greek band?
Yep, all Greek music. I sang a couple of American songs for when we played mixed weddings. What did I sing? I sang "Abracadabra" by Steve Miller, do you remember that song?
I know a little bit of it.
It's pretty old. Actually, I remember when I would sing "Yesterday", we would do it, you know, for like bridal dances and stuff.
So is that what you guys did, weddings and other stuff?
Yeah, weddings, dances, baptisms, parties, Greek festivals. It was cool.
And what did you do after that, before you got working with Lifescapes?
Before Lifescapes I moved to Minneapolis from Pittsburgh. I taught at a two-year guitar school. I taught song writing and guitar and music theory and reading and stuff. I did that for like two years – I was playing in bands at the time. And I stopped doing that because I started doing sessions, started playing on records and stuff like that. I started writing jingles. All kinds of stuff like that. And, I started making Lifescapes records.
I saw that you won a Clio Award.
I did, yeah, for a Miller Light commercial. It was called "Man in Cornfield". It was a naked guy – he walked across the street from one cornfield to another cornfield. You know those spots, it was on like two years ago, "this is Dick" – this guy named Dick and this old picture of a 70's guy. It was those spots. Yeah, it was cool.
So how did you start doing the Lifescapes stuff and the instrumental music?
Its always who you know, isn't it? And that's what it was in this case. The guy that – there was another company in Target at the time and he undercut them. He was a businessman who happened to be a friend of mine. He was an aspiring songwriter but was also a smart businessman, so he went in and undercut the other company and then promised them that he could make these records cheaper and they'll be better and they liked them. So that's how it started. Yeah, I made 30 of those things. All together it was 30, cause a lot of them were seasonal stuff like Valentine's Day and Christmas, and they're not available anymore.
I went to the website and I can't get the Mediterranean one.
No, they won't let me have it.
Why won't they let you have it?
They said it was out of print or out of stock.
You're kidding. Are they getting more?
They didn't say so. I don't know, maybe I should try again.
Wow. That's a good one, that's the best one.
That and Guitar/Cello.
Oh Guitar and Cello, cool, you know I did that record in my kitchen? I had a studio, when I first was in New York, under the Brooklyn – under the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn. And I was with a partner at that time, Rob Arthur and he and I had a falling out and we split up and I moved out of that place and couldn't find a studio. So I put half my stuff in storage and brought home just enough stuff to be able to record. And I set it up in my kitchen. Three months, that's where I was working. It was hell. That's where I recorded that record. Its funny cause I thought it was so bad. It just – I thought this is the worst record I've ever done. But I get more emails from that record than any other thing I've ever done. Yeah, people like that record. I think you can hear my depression at that time, through the music. And the cello and the guitar are such, they're two great instruments.
So do you prefer writing and performing the instrumental music or the music you've been working on now?
Oh, definitely the music I've been working on now. No, not even a close competition. Definitely.
How long have you been working on the music for this solo record?
It started, you know, when did Teaching Mrs. Tingle come out? Two years ago? That's when it started. Because I got that song on the film I thought I should do a whole record. I was always on so many other things, and I probably could have had this record done in three months, but there's always something, you know? Joe came along and that was seven months that I didn't work on my own record, I worked on his record. So, it's been two years in the making, which sounds like I've, it sounds worse than it is. It actually, when I get working, it doesn't take me that long. So yeah, two years I've been working on this thing.
So did you write all of the songs yourself-
-or did you collaborate with anyone?
The last song on the record which is called "25 Goodbyes", Joe - I was just sitting around the studio, this was about two months ago, and I was playing it and he started chiming in and then Spiro actually came up with the title. Yeah, he goes, you should call it 25 Goodbyes, and I went, ok that sounds cool. So that's the only song on the record that anybody else contributed. I told Joe I was going to give him writing credits and he's like, nah, I didn't do anything. But he's going to get it anyway. So, yeah, I got to.
So, how did you and Joe collaborate to write his album?
Spiro and Joe's manager Jerry were friends. From just being in the business so long and Spiro was working at ASCAP and he signed Joe to ASCAP when he got his Stay the Same deal. So, they kinda knew each other. And when Spiro heard he was going to want to make a new record he gave Jerry my, he gave Jerry like "Shut Down", a song called "Falling" – he gave him like three or four songs to listen to and then Joe called me and asked me if I wanted to write. So, that was it. We got together last August actually, it was a year ago. Isn't that weird? I feel like I've known him for about 50 years. Oh yeah, I mean I'm with him every day. But yeah, it's only been a year.
So how did your friendship influence the music you've written?
Oh, that's a great question. You know how it does? Its because we're such good friends and I can say anything to him and he can say anything to me, that if something sucks, then it sucks, and we say it. So its because we're that open that it makes it really easy, it makes it really easy, there's no boundaries. So I don't let anything slide and he doesn't let anything slide.
Would you work with him again in the future?
Definitely. We actually already started writing again for the next record. Yeah, we have like four songs. They're cool. Very different. It's different than Meet Joe Mac, but its cool, its like where Meet Joe Mac left off.
Your fan base, it seems to have grown-
My fan base? I have a fan base?
-dramatically as a result of working with Joe-
-Were you prepared for that?-
-And what do you think about it?
No I think it's awesome. I was not prepared for it, but I, but it's all because of him, because he's just so giving all the time. Every interview he does he mentions me. You know, he insisted I was on the Celebrity Profile thing, which I was kinda like, no man, I like to be in the studio, I don't wanna talk to anybody, but it is, its great. No, he, you know, I owe it all – I owe him like – I could never repay him what I owe him. But I wasn't prepared for it, but I love it, its awesome. How could you not like people liking your music? You know, its one thing if they're like, oh, we like you cause you're Joe's guitar player, that'd be like, whatever. But the fact that people like know "I Shut Down", and that for me is why I do what I do. So, it's great.
When do you plan on releasing Favorite Enemy?
You know, I'm going right when I get out of here, I'm going right back to the studio, finishing this one song I'll finish today. I have like three other things to do on the last song. And its all about mixing and that's what Spiro and I were talking about before you guys came – we can not find a guy available to mix the last two songs. So, it might, it might take another two weeks, who knows, otherwise, it would be done this week. It's very frustrating. So I'm going to LA Friday and I want to be done before I leave, but – I'll be done recording, but it won't be done being mixed. But, unless a miracle happens. So, if its done next week – you know my target date is, we're starting this "two man tour" in October, October 7th we're playing at, the House of Blues in Orlando. That's the kickoff show. I don't know if that's, I think its 100% sure.
It hasn't been announced yet.
Oh, then maybe I shouldn't say...But that's my goal. They're working on the artwork right now, if we get it mixed and mastered, and the manufacturing takes like three weeks. I'm shooting for, I'm shooting for that first week in October, end of September, that's the goal.
What type of music is it, compared to "Falling", "I Shut Down" and "Wonderfully Strange"?
It's all pretty similar to that, I guess. I'm pretty conscious of making stuff sound - I'm really conscious of rewriting the same song over and over again, you know what I mean? So, its not - every song's pretty different, but it all sounds like the same guy. It just, you know there's, I would say its more of a dark record than a – "Wonderfully Strange" is probably, nah there's one more song that's more up tempo than "Wonderfully Strange" its a song called "Poor Marie", but even that's about a weird subject, but anyway, so its all pretty mid tempo, dark, I hope it doesn't depress people.
Do you plan on doing any type of tour to promote it?
Yeah, absolutely, when we're done with this two-man thing I want to start playing. I want to do East Coast, like just do New York, Boston, Philly, Washington. But I'll probably just do that by myself. I'll probably just do a solo acoustic thing. Yeah, I like doing that, plus, it's so expensive to bring a band all the time. You know, I'll put it on the site and see what happens.
Ok, now I have some questions from other fans.
These first few are from Corey. If you could paint the song "I Shut Down" in colors, what colors would you use and why?
Broken blue would be one color, and that's in the song. Brown, and black. Yeah, because, I don't know, it's just when I think of it in my head and when I listen to it, that's what I see.
If you could meet any musician, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them?
It would be John Lennon. And I would just thank him for being so honest in his music and influencing me to, you know, have the same approach. You know, that's what I love about him, he just said whatever, people either liked him or hated him and he didn't care.
What was the most unusual subject you've ever written your lyrics about?
Lets see, let me go through these songs, hmmm. The reason why it's called Favorite Enemy is because most of these songs are about people that I, that piss me off at one point or another. Because at the end of the day, you realize that you wanna be by yourself anyway. That whatever you see in people that you don't like is usually you, you know? But let's see, on the record, the strangest subject would probably be about this woman that I used to go to therapy with, she was my therapist. Her name was Marie, and that's what the song "Poor Marie" is about. It's basically saying, its hopeless, poor Marie, just give up, you know. It's tongue-in-cheek though, it's funny. She actually was great, I loved her. So I would say, on the record, that's probably the goofiest subject.
Ok, Lisa, who I believe met you in Michigan, she's Tigerlady on Joe's message board –
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, I remember her!
-she wants to know when your birthday is?
That just went by.
Well, Happy Birthday!
Thank you. Oh yeah, like three, three or four days ago.
She also wants to know when you're going to be visiting Joe's message board and what screen name you'll be using.
I don't even know how to do that! You can just get on and read, right?
Yeah, you don't have to sign on.
Oh, so I don't need a screen name. I can just spy.
But people want to know that you're on. Joe spies.
Ah, yeah he does. You know what? Somebody sent me a link the other day. And I clicked on it. It was a picture of me and Joe on stage in Morgantown, West Virginia. And Joe's like this (he puts his hand over his nose) and somebody changed the words to "Rain" to "Snot". And its like (singing) "Picking your nose is easy to do". And then somebody wrote "Eman looks hungry". So, he saw it, I showed him, we were in the dressing room, in Omaha, and I'm like dude, check this out! He got mad, he's like get that off there! So, I gotta, I always say I gotta start going on there and reading. My sister gets on there and she'll call me – guess what they said about you? Yeah, so I never do, I gotta start doing that. My screen name would be, hmmm, I don't know, I have to think about it.
I have a board on my site.
You do? Oh right, I saw that actually.
There's like 300-400 posts on there already.
Noooo! I'm sorry you guys don't have anything to talk about right now.
We find plenty to talk about. I've tried to start up chats about your music too.
Aw, that's awesome. Thank you. It will be different when the record comes out, you guys will have something to talk about.
But you're touring with Joe, so there's been plenty to talk about.
That's true, that's true. We haven't been playing that much lately, so it's been kinda - which has been great because I can work on my record – don't tell him that.
The last question I have is from Lisa and Kim down in New Orleans. They want to know if you're planning any tour dates for New Orleans this fall.
With Meet Joe Mac?
Yeah, they want Joe.
I hope so. I hope we do. I'm probably going to be doing a couple songs in that show. Yeah, Joe wants me to do "I Shut Down" and "25 Goodbyes".
What other instruments do you play?
Well, I hate saying, you know, cause I sound like an idiot. I play guitar. You know, I play a lot of other stuff, but its - I play drums and keyboards and – I played piano before I played guitar. Piano was my first instrument. Yeah, but I never like to say just because I play enough to write and record. Like, I played everything on my record except for drums and some of the keyboards a friend of mine played. But you know I guess I play a lot of things, but not great. Like the keyboard player in Joe's band – he's a keyboard player. He plays circles around me. So I consider him a keyboard player, me I'm like a keyboard fumbler. Yeah, like I played "Callahan" – that's me. The piano in "Callahan" is me. I did that, you know, I can do it, it's just that, its insulting to say – maybe not, maybe I'm an idiot, I don't know. But I can play enough to make myself happy and to write songs. That's all I care about.
Ok, that's all I have. Thank you very much!
Cool, that was fun. My pleasure.
|This site is maintained by Kristen Greene
Last Update: September 7, 2001