Singer Eddie Money is pretty much everything you’ve read about him — funny, gregarious, candid and still a wild man at heart.
These days he’s ditched the cigarettes and alcohol, and has slimmed down considerably. However, the native New Yorker still possesses a zest for life and a mischievous sense of humor.
Money took time out of his busy schedule to talk to GetOut, discussing his former career as a cop, his love for gambling, and his sobriety ahead of his Dec. 7 appearance at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler.
Q: I find it interesting that you’ve always referred to yourself as an R & B singer.
EM: Well, I am. If you talk to Darryl Hall of Hall & Oates, he’ll tell you he’s an R & B singer, too. I grew up listening to Sam and Dave, and Martha and the Vandellas, The Ronettes — the same stuff the Beatles were singing when they first came out. In their early career they pretty much covered a lot of the R & B stuff. Look at Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels — you can’t get much more R & B than Mitch Ryder, baby.
Q: The legendary promoter Bill Graham was your biggest booster, wasn’t he?
EM: He was a great man, a great promoter and manager, and I loved him dearly. When he died in that helicopter crash in 1991, my life has never been the same. He was like a second dad to me. He put me on tour with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Jefferson Starship, Fleetwood Mac, Steve Miller, the US Festival where I played on the same bill with The Police in front of 650,000 people. I loved Bill, and I miss him tremendously.
Q: I’ve heard various things about your employment as a police officer in the late sixties. Can you set the record straight once and for all?
EM: I was on the New York Police Department and worked at the 102nd Precinct. I had an 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift. A lot of people think I was a beat cop, but I worked in administration.
In high school, they wanted me to take a shop class where you spent three years making a salad bowl, but I took a typing class instead. Back in those days, guys didn’t take typing. So when I went through the Police Academy, they asked who could type, and I raised my hand. I ended up doing clerical work. I was a cop, but I had an inside job.
It was the gravy train for me because of the hours. It afforded me a steady income and allowed me to keep my band going at night. I eventually left because I couldn’t see myself in short hair wearing a police uniform.
Q: You had a string of hits over a 12-year period from 1978-1990. That’s quite a feat.
EM: Columbia Records, my record label, gave me great songs to work with, like “Walk On Water,” “Take Me Home Tonight” and “I’ll Get By.” I didn’t write those songs, but if you want to be famous, it’s like being a good cop — keep your mouth shut and do what you’re told.
Everybody reminisces to those great songs, and I am lucky I’ve been able to hang onto my voice. My weight’s down, I’ve still got my hair. I quit drinking, so I look and feel good for somebody in his early sixties. People still love coming to the show, and I give them a good time. I’m happy to sing all the hits.
Q: Your show is going to be at Wild Horse Pass Casino, where you’ve appeared before. What do you like about the casino gigs?
EM: I love playing the casinos because I gamble. I’m a gambling man. I enjoy the slots, and when I drank, they used to let me drink for nothing. One time I won $11,000 at a casino, and they were so pissed off that they didn’t have me back for four years! A lot of buddies of mine go to Wild Horse Pass, and they’ve already told me what slots to play.
Q: You sing with a lot of heart and soul. Do you still enjoy performing and being on stage?
EM: I absolutely do. I love the chicks. I love the fans. I’m also proud of the fact that I’m sober again for the fourth time. I’ve now had three-and-a-half years of sobriety. Joe Walsh once said, ‘Eddie Money doesn’t need a sponsor… he needs an exorcist.’ Every month that I’m not in jail or rehab is a good month for me.
IF YOU GO
What: Eddie Money in concert
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7
Where: Wild Horse Pass Casino & Hotel, Ovations Live! Showroom, 5040 Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler
Information: (800) 946-4452 or WinGilaRiver.com
• Read more at PressPassBlog.com, the source for Phoenix metro concert news.