Inflected Form(s): plural -nies
Etymology: origin unknown
Definition 1. (informal) a social gathering at which participants engage in
folk singing and sometimes dancing.
Inflected Form(s): plural -nies
Etymology: Mark Oliver Everett
Definition 1. (informal) a social gathering at which participants engage
in folk singing and sometimes dancing, but mostly the shooting of guns.
Definition 2. (formal) EELS' new album. Out June 3, 2003.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EELS
Interview by Rev. Charles M. Young
Charles M. Young: I heard you were into meditation.
E: Okay. That stuff about meditation is so "last album." And anything about
psychotherapy is so "several albums ago." And any other statements at any
time with the barest whiff of New Age stink on them are now totally
inoperative. I've learned that whatever is in this biography is what I will
have to talk about for the next year.
This album, it's promiscuity and drugs. This will make the interviews
interesting for me. If I have to talk about something ten times a day for
the next year, it might as well be that, right? I'm sorry, but I don't have
a good "press angle" for this album. It's not a concept album. There's no
big story about the recording.
It's just one of three different albums I have been working on and I decided
to put this one out first. But that's not much of a story. I hate the story
about "prolific songwriters." So what?
C.M.Y.: Well, there are a lot of really good songs on this album.
E: I don't have high enough self-esteem to think I'm doing anything special.
My father was a genius (Hugh Everett III, responsible for Everett's Many
Worlds Theory of Parallel Universes). I didn't inherit any of that. I flunked
out of the easiest algebra class in high school. But I'm a hard worker. What
I'm trying to say is, 'thanks.'
C.M.Y.: So you'd rather discuss promiscuity and drugs?
E: Yeah, I could talk about the song where we set the mikes up right in the
middle of an orgy. It was inspired by the Charles Manson/Beach Boys sessions.
C.M.Y.: Speaking of, do you still look like the Unabomber?
E: Not at the moment. I don't have a beard anymore, or not much one, anyway.
It got to be too much trouble at the airport. I was traveling all through
that 9/11 stuff and after the twelfth strip search, I just felt like, 'I
gotta get rid of this beard.'
Before September 11, all the metal detector guys were friendly and would
confide in me, 'I wish I could grow a beard like that.' After September 11,
it was a different story. I wasn't trying to look like a terrorist. I just
didn't feel like shaving, and it grew and grew, and the ladies all loved it.
Some of them said they hated it, but that was a lie. The beard actually
fueled the promiscuity aspect of this album. I now have to deal with losing
that aspect of my sex appeal.
I'm not into the bombing part, ya know. It was an awkward time to have an
album (Souljacker) out that had a picture of yourself with an ominous beard
and the word 'jacker' in the title.
C.M.Y.: Did you learn any lessons?
E: I guess not. This album is called SHOOTENANNY!, which is a word I made up
when I realized that it's only a matter of time before we need some MTV-style
street catch phrase for "shooting spree." I thought I should be the one to
coin the term. It's a hip, "edgy" catch phrase for something so serious and
so ugly and so likely to happen at any moment. To me it kind of sums up the times that we live in.
C.M.Y.: Why "E"?
E: It's just a nickname. Now I'm a grown man and it's a little embarrassing.
It really is what everyone calls me. It just sounds like my name to me. But
when I see it in print I realize that it probably sounds like some
super-pretentious art school performance artist or something. Now that I'm a
grown-up maybe I should legally change it to Mr. E.
C.M.Y.: Let's talk about the songs. "Restraining Order Blues"?
E: That one is a character study, I should point out, not autobiographical. I
don't know where it came from. I just heard someone say 'restraining order'
on the news or something and I thought somebody needs to write a song about
C.M.Y.: "Fashion Awards"?
E: I turned on the TV one night and the VH-1 Fashion Awards were on. I
watched for three minutes and wrote the song. Unfortunately the show was
still on for 3 more hours. You know ... any excuse for an awards show at this
point. It's the Tuesday Morning Awards! They're all so meaningless, of
course. But people seem to care so much about them. When they get up there at
the Oscar podium and start blubbering like a baby because it means so much
for them to win- it's funny. What are they in it for? If winning means so
much to them, are they going to blow their heads off when they lose?
C.M.Y.: You've won awards...
E: Yes. But I always try to put them to some use.
C.M.Y.: Like the Brit Award you turned into a cymbal stand for the drum set?
E: A good example. Now it's worth something.
C.M.Y.: Seems like you were feeling kinda down in "All in a Day's Work."
E: I just had this sense of being the guy that goes around and there's always
something wrong happening. Seems like I'm always bumming someone out for some
reason. I wanted to air that out and make it more attractive by turning it
into a Muddy Waters type thing.
C.M.Y.: Did you resent your parents making you go to Sunday school like in
E: No, they didn't care about that stuff. But if I did have to go to Sunday
school, I would have told them they were fools. The only thing more
irritating than awards shows are born-again religious fanatics. Oh, brother.
C.M.Y.: "Saturday Morning", about being bored when you're a kid and your
parents aren't awake yet, must be unique in its subject matter.
E: I've been thinking about that lately. That feeling of being eight years
old and a day seems like a year. You wake up early on Saturday and it'll be
three hours before you can even go to your friend's house to play. It seems
like a small moment now, but it was such a big deal then. Do you remember a
show called Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp?
E: It was like Get Smart, but with chimps. I remember watching that show at 6
a.m. and when it was over, thinking, 'What am I going to do now?' I recently
bought a tape of the show as research. I do a lot of research for my songs.
C.M.Y.: "Love of the Loveless" almost seems like your Sermon on the Mount.
E: Anybody can love the already loved, that's easy. But loving the
loveless--that's an accomplishment.
C.M.Y.: Jesus didn't actually say too much beyond loving your neighbor.
E: Isn't that enough? If people just went with that, Christianity would be a
really great thing. I think ultimately what the song is saying, and this pops
up a couple of times on the album, is: give yourself a break. Some people
aren't fortunate enough to have been given the kind of love that people need
to flourish and survive in this world, so you've got to find a way to give it
to yourself. No easy feat.
C.M.Y.: Then you're back to promiscuity and drugs with "Dirty Girl." The
song starts, "I like a girl with a dirty mouth/Someone that I can believe."
E: I don't trust people who don't use profanity. If people make an effort
not to say 'fuck' or 'shit,' et cetera, I feel like they're not being real.
Come on, this is how we talk. It's not hurting anyone. Who cares? I've felt
that way since I was a kid, being around other kids' families where people
would have to put a dime in the cookie jar if they used profanity. What was
C.M.Y.: Were you in agony when you wrote "Agony"?
E: Yeah, I was in a bad frame of mind. But that's the great thing about song
writing. You get to transform the emotion by making a song out of it. When
somebody complains about depression or suicide being romanticized, I think:
'Thank god that there is a romantic side to this stuff.' Because if you are
really depressed, romanticizing it might be the only thing that gets you
C.M.Y.: You appear to be wrestling with agony again in "Rock Hard Times."
E: It was inspired by the experiences I've had around the music and movie business, here in the murder capital of the USA. Hearing all these Hollywood
assholes say that they want something hip and irreverent and "edgy" and all
that stuff, and then looking at the state of everything. It's really bad
times. Good luck trying to do anything halfway decent. Of course it's easy
for me to criticize everyone else. But don't worry. I hate myself even more.
C.M.Y.: At least you haven't sold your songs for commercials.
I can afford to throw stones. I don't have any kids in college. And everyone
seems to be doing it now. But that doesn't make it right. I will let a song
be in a movie sometimes, because at least that's SOMEBODY'S idea of art. And
I don't mind advertising myself. A video is basically a commercial for a
song. But I don't want to be singing for some product. It doesn't seem
right. Every big company you can name wants to use my songs. It's funny. In
the music business I can't get arrested. But in advertising I'm a hot, but
My least favorite word is "edgy." That's what these advertising people want.
"Edgy." And it means...nothing. It means, "we want the form of rebellion
stripped of all content." That's what the world has come to. "Edginess." But
nobody is rebelling against anything. It's all for sale.
C.M.Y.: You appear to be mining your autobiography again in "Lone Wolf."
E: Being married has brought to light just what a lonely loser I am. It's
become quite apparent that I'm not much of a "people person." Mrs. E is
patient, but I may be pushing the envelope a little thin. In the song, I'm
owning up, and accepting that this is who I am. A real loner at heart. But
there's joy in the music. There's this great relief in accepting what you
are. Now if the people I'm around can accept it is another story.
C.M.Y.: Philosophically, you're more existentialist than postmodern. You've
got that Jean-Paul Sartre vibe happening.
E: Yeah, but he doesn't rock like me.
C.M.Y.: Paul Tillich, the Protestant existentialist, had a pretty wild sex
E: Which bring us back to promiscuity and drugs. The lone wolves don't get a
lot of action, hence the aloneness. Or maybe they do. They ARE wolves, after
C.M.Y.: Was "Wrong About Bobby" inspired by a specific person?
E: Yes, but I prefer not to divulge the identity so I can keep everyone I
know on ice, wondering if it's about them. Puts them on their best behavior.
C.M.Y.: The concept of counting your days in "Numbered Days" seems to be
almost a Buddhist meditation on impermanence.
E: It could be taken that way. There's a certain number of days you have left
in your life. But you don't know how many. Dammit, I wanna know. The
Buddhist idea of impermanence is true, and they recommend that you don't
attach to things, which causes suffering. The problem is, we're fucking human
and we attach to other humans. I think it's good to attach to other people,
and if we lose them, it's going to be a horrible situation. That's just the
way it's going to be. That's human. I also like graveyards as a simple
reminder to enjoy my time above ground while I can.
C.M.Y.: There are some great lines in "Somebody Loves You," like "This
nagging malaise is more than a phase."
E: I wrote that song after being alone in the basement for a week. I don't
even know what I meant by it. I was just singing it to comfort myself. I
think it's like 'Love of the Loveless.' You've got to learn how to take
care of yourself. The somebody who loves you might have to be yourself.
C.M.Y.: It is really unfair that "No boss ever pays you to lay there and
think how you'll die," as you say in "Somebody Loves You."
E: It's like Albert Brooks said, 'Why can't neediness be sexy?' Likewise, why can't lying in bed while thinking about how you're going to die be a job
that you get paid for? The world is so unfair.
C.M.Y.: Are you going to tour?
E: I can't wait. Something strange has happened to me. I used to hate touring. Now I just want to get back to it. I was really sad when the
last tour ended. There's something great about always moving. My favorite
time of day is Rock O'clock.
C.M.Y.: Taking the sermon to the streets...
E: I'm tellin' ya. I rock harder than any of those philosophers you
C.M.Y.: You do. You rock harder than all the existentialists.
E: Jean Paul Sartre with a Marshall stack. That's a concert I'd pay to see.