Remembering My Times With Eddie Money
Every job has its perks.
When you work in the media, one of the best ‘fringe benefits’ is getting to rub shoulders with some very well known people.
I was reminded of that today (September 13) with the news that Eddie Money had passed away from esophageal cancer at the age of 70.
It was nearly 30 years ago in Sioux Falls and Eddie was the very first rock star I had ever had the pleasure of meeting. I say pleasure because sometimes meeting well known people isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Without naming names, let’s just say that famous doesn’t always equal nice.
That couldn’t have been farther from the truth when it came to Eddie Money.
Eddie was in town for a show at the Sioux Falls Coliseum (I told you it was a long time ago) and happened to stop by the old KSFY-TV building at 6th and Dakota to record an interview. Working there at the time, I made sure to put myself in direct proximity of the studio in the hopes of meeting this rock icon.
Not only did I get the chance to meet Eddie, I also got the opportunity to bring him some water and talk football (not music) with him. He was easy to chat with and I was an even bigger fan after that encounter.
Fast forward 25 years or so and Eddie was still doing his thing while I had transitioned into rock radio. This time our paths would cross over the telephone, just days in advance of Eddie’s February 2015 appearance at Grand Falls Casino.
Before commencing with the formal part of the interview, I reminded Eddie of our previous meeting, which I guarantee he had no recollection of, but he immediately lit up as if we were old friends and once again we found ourselves talking football, specifically his beloved San Francisco 49ers.
After that it was on with the interview.
Edward Joseph Mahoney was born in New York City on March 21, 1949. Early on, young Edward decided to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, father, and brother by joining the New York City Police Department. And while that career path stuck for the rest of his family members, Edward decided music was his real love and after two years he moved to the one place on the planet that was the most diametrically opposed to the Big Apple in 1968 - Berkeley, California - the epicenter of the counter culture movement of those tumultuous times.
Eddie told me about those early days of finding his path in life:
After bursting on the scene with his 1977 debut album and the monster hits ‘Two Tickets to Paradise’ and ‘Baby Hold On’, Eddie's success reached a whole new level with the launch of MTV in 1981 and continued on into to digital era decades later. He said he was in the right place at the right time to make a splash in the video world, but never quite understood the appeal of the digital world in music:
Eddie had his ups and downs over the years, with the lowest points coming in the form of a major substance abuse problem. When Eddie decided to tell the story of his life he didn’t do it in book form, but rather with an autobiographical stage production, Two Tickets to Paradise: The Musical, which he was still crafting when we spoke in 2015 before it finally hit the stage for the first time in February of 2018.
The storyline didn’t just hit the highlights of Eddie’s life, it also explored the darker times too. Eddie told me he wanted it that way:
When it came to performing, Eddie still loved being on stage even after more than 45 years, as he prepared for that Valentine’s Day show in Larchwood five years ago:
I finished my chat with Eddie with a question about whether his definition of success had changed over the years. One thing was certain, his immense gratitude for the career he had certainly hadn’t diminished one bit:
We were blessed by your music, Eddie. To borrow a line from one of your songs, we want to go back and do it all over.
Rest in peace...