July 20, 2006

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A complicated individual
Rocker John Eddie set to play the Queen City
By Robert Greene rgreene@hippopress.com

John Eddie’s last album, Who the Hell is John Eddie? (2003), is a peek inside the life of a nigh-famous working musician. On stage (which he will be, in a free show 7 p.m. Thursday, July 27 in Manchester’s Veterans Park on Elm Street), Eddie is a road-warrior rocker with a country twist.

Eddie, 47, grew up in Jersey where, in their early days, he often shared the stage with Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. Eddie was signed with Sony Records [he had a minor hit in 1986 with “Jungle Boy”] but lost his taste for corporate music after legal battles with Elektra. Nowadays, he tours constantly and releases new music under his own label, Lost American Thrill Show.

The Hippo recently scammed his cell phone number and found him at home.

In other interviews you have talked about being a David Bowie fan. Which incarnation of Bowie were you into?
Ziggy Stardust, Diamond Dogs; that whole era. I remember going out and looking for—actually the dad of one of the guys in the band was a tailor and I asked him to make me a suit like the one on David Live. It was the one he wore at the Talon right before Young Americans. On one of the tracks of my record there’s a song called, “Complicated Individual.” There’s a line that goes, “I wore my sister’s clothes to David Bowie shows.” It’s definitely coming from a true point of view.

You’ve obviously evolved from that. How did that happen?
One of the turning points, I think, was Young Americans. David recorded two songs by Bruce Springsteen. And that was when I first heard Springsteen. I didn’t have any idea who he was. Here was a guy from New Jersey that David Bowie was doing a song by, who was an hour and half away from me. He wasn’t from London or some other place I’d never been before. It showed me that it was possible to do [music] as a guy living in New Jersey.

You’ve said you write most of your music on an acoustic guitar. What kind of guitar do you write on?
I have, like, a 1947 Martin acoustic guitar. That doesn’t go on the road. Different guitars have very different feels when you pick them up. It’s very Steven King. You get a sense of who has played the guitar before.

With your next album will you have answered the question, “Who the Hell is John Eddie?”
[Laughs] I don’t know. That’s really up to the people. That was written tongue in cheek because that’s what we hear from a lot of people. I think we’re getting our name out there. We’re playing a lot. We try to put on a good live show, I try to write good songs and I think the new album will take it to the next level. I really enjoyed the last record that I made more than any record I’ve made before in terms of just the immediacy of it, and I think it was truest to what I am about. So, I’m trying to do the same thing again. It’s hard to not lie to yourself so it’s like you really have to find a way to make it speak truth to you.


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