DiscoverThe Art of LongevityThe Art of Longevity Season 9, Episode 5: Eels
The Art of Longevity Season 9, Episode 5: Eels

The Art of Longevity Season 9, Episode 5: Eels

Update: 2024-05-29
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In Mark Oliver Everett’s autobiography “Things The Grandchildren Should Know”, the author, otherwise known as E, the frontman and band leader of Eels, wrote of Bob Dylan’s self-proclaimed destiny as a musician:

“I wish I had something like that, but I didn’t. At all. All I had was an aching sense of desperation. I didn’t have any idea what the hell I was doing and was only doing it out of not knowing what else to do”.

Despite this, or perhaps because of it, E simply continued to keep on keeping on with music, leaving his home in Virginia to seek his ‘lack of destiny’ in Los Angeles. Low and behold, he wound up being signed to a major label - not once but twice - and at the second bite of the cherry, found significant and lasting success.

No wonder then, E suggests we rename this particular episode as “The Unconscious Art of Longevity”.

Some 23 years after signing his first solo record deal, E has found his way to a 15th Eels studio L.P., the aptly named Eels Time! Recorded in Los Feliz, Los Angeles and Dublin, Ireland, the album was made by the current line-up of E himself, Little Joe (Drums), Koool G Murder (bass) and The Chet (guitar), featuring Irish folk musician Sean Coleman and new collaborator Tyson Ritter (on five songs). Ritter is the lead vocalist, bassist, pianist, and songwriter of the rock band The All-American Rejects but is better known these days as an actor. In a twist typical of the Eels story however, Ritter - who on this occasion was connected to E by his manager - turned out to live close by. But The All-American Rejects shared the same label as Eels (Dreamworks) back in the early 90s. Almost two decades on, Ritter was finally reeled into Eels orbit.

It’s a microcosmic example of Eels' career story - a series of unplanned events driven by E’s whims - whatever he felt like doing at the time - a series of creative zigzag turns that often turned out for the best through luck or dare I suggest…a more similar destiny to Bobby Dylan’s than he once believed.

“I’ve been doing it so long now that everyone pretty much leaves me alone. I don’t tell the label I’ve made a record until after it's mastered and finished. I pay for the whole thing myself to have the freedom of nobody putting their two cents in”.

So in some ways yes, E’s career has been “The Unconscious Art of Longevity”. But look deeper and all the signs are there - the self-belief, single-mindedness and willingness to follow his own instincts and obsessions - these factors have underpinned Eels’ journey and kept the wheels connected to the rails. And each and every one of those 15 albums has a lot to offer

“It’s all a miracle to me that I still get to make music as my job. I’m lucky, but you have to get yourself in the best position to receive it when luck strikes”. 

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The Art of Longevity Season 9, Episode 5: Eels

The Art of Longevity Season 9, Episode 5: Eels

The Song Sommelier