Like Bob Seger, only less rocklike, affable palooka Eddie Money struck gold with his airy rasp and exasperated everyman persona. In the '80s, Money became the root of all sorts of evil, shocking fans with his booze binges, coke addiction, and lite-rock girl-group duets. At 55, this cop-dropout-turned-paradise-ticket-scalper is no longer, to quote one of his tunes, "a man of no control." Answering uncouth questions in a thick Brooklyn accent, Money (born Edward Mahoney) proved unflappable recently, though his static-smothered cell-phone connection chopped his game responses into bizarre non sequiturs:
Scene: You've done two-night stays at several tour stops. Are people always receptive to your "I Wanna Go Back" demands?
EM: You know what's a great line from that song is Hangin' out on a Friday night/The first slow dance, hoping that I'll get it right. (Lengthy indecipherable segment) Cleveland doesn't like me.
Scene: Really? What more do they want? You did The Drew Carey Show.
EM: (Silence) . . . I ended up playing Kevin James' wedding. I tell jokes onstage, too. Like, "My wife told me she wanted to go someplace she's never been before, and I said, 'Try the kitchen!'"
Scene: You made some goofy faces in that "Shakin'" video. Are those everyday expressions?
EM: (Crackling) . . . and this drunken Indian punched me, and it broke my jaw in several places, and to this day that side of my mouth is messed up. You can blame the Indian!
Scene: You've played on some bizarre bills, alongside the likes of Cheap Trick and B-52's. What's the strangest show you've played?
EM: I did one gig with the Bangles and Pat Benatar, and I did my best to let the women outshine me, but sometimes I'm no good with women . . . (dead air) . . . There was this .38 Special backup singer, and the next thing I know, this guy comes up and decks me.
Scene: You've been a Saturday Night Live musical guest. Have you ever used backing tracks?
EM: No, I did it live. I remember hanging out with John Belushi. We were so fucking drunk, and he kept saying "Edward fucking Mahoney."
Scene: Where's the party, Eddie?
EM: (Clatter) . . . and I told these guys, I don't know how to ride a Harley. So I got on the thing and just smashed into a monitor. I was like Pee-wee on that bike . . . (fizz) . . . It's a good life, you know? I get out there and sing my skinny ass off until the cops come.