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Eels Frontman Mark Oliver Everett Talks Touring & L.A.'s Place In His Music
Eels frontman Mark Oliver Everett, better known to his fans as simply E, has been an indie rock fixture in Los Angeles since before the band released their 1996 breakout album “Beautiful Freak.” The eleven albums he's since released with the band have resonated with struggling hipsters and Hollywood soundtrack selectors alike. Tonight, E returns to the spotlight at the Henry Fonda Theater, the second stop on his tour promoting Eels' latest album, “Wonderful, Glorious.”
Speaking from the Santa Ana Observatory Everett squeezed in an interview with LAist to discuss the band's big plans for the tour, as well as the role his home city plays in his creations.
LAist: Congrats on starting your new tour in Santa Ana! You're an L.A.-based musician, you've referenced specific locations in your lyrics, and your tours usually kick off in southern California. Is L.A. actively inspirational to you, or do you just see it as your standard backdrop at this point?
Mark Oliver Everett: That's a good question. I feel like what's inside you is more important than what's outside you, or your surroundings. I don't think of Los Angeles as a direct inspiration usually, but then again, most if not all of our records have been made in Los Angeles. So I'm probably not giving the city enough credit.
You moved out to California in the late 80s. Los Angeles has gone through a lot of changes since then. What feels the most different between then and now, either in the city or the work you're creating here?
I think in the early days it may have appeared in the music more. You know, on [“Beautiful Freak”] there was a song called “Susan's House” that was about me walking through Echo Park and naming a lot of places. And then, occasionally landmarks from that side of town seem to pop up in the lyrics. But as time goes on, I've lived there for so long now that it hasn't been popping up as much. But I'm glad you reminded me, because I might have to walk around some more...
Your new album "Wonderful, Glorious" is a departure from your last three albums, which were linked together as a concept trilogy. What's it like to start touring new material after spending such a long time working on one project?
Well, it's a lot simpler. You're focused on 13 songs instead of three albums. But those three albums weren't all made at the same time, they were made over a four-year period, all individually. So it's kind of all the same deal to me.
On your past tours, you've played around with Eels' lineup and instrumentation. I know you've worked with strings; you've worked with traditional rock band-style setups. What can you tell us about the plan for this tour?
We're, as we speak, desperately trying to figure out exactly what it is. We're thinking about trying something new that, to my knowledge, hasn't been done before. You know that thing that the kids are into right now, called mash-ups? We're going to do something unprecedented this year. We want to try mashing up rock and roll, and putting the two together in a big, grand mashup, and see what happens. And it might explode in a horrible way or it might explode in a beautiful way.
It could be big. Finally, do you have any favorite L.A. spots to hit up after a show, or just in general?
My favorite L.A. spot to hit up after a show is my bed. I give it all. I leave it all on the stage, there's nothing left for any spot other than my bed at that point.