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Interview: Niagara Falls favorite Eddie Money headlines Lockport concert series

by jmaloni
Sat, Jun 30th 2012 07:05 am

Preview by Joshua Maloni

The interview process is not complicated.

Reporters ask questions; subjects answer.

It's a pretty straightforward give-and-take.

If writers want answers, then they must ask questions. That is the way information is exchanged.

That is, of course, unless you're interviewing singer Eddie Money.

In this case, you need but say, "Hello," and then sit back and enjoy the ride.

A mere greeting is all the spark required to propel Money into a rocket-like launching of favorite stories, family anecdotes, career prospective and lots and lots of wisecracks.

As a conversationalist, Money has no equal. As an interview subject, his Q-and-A sessions are always memorable (and always funny).

With Money returning to Niagara County next week, it was time for another go-around with the man behind hit songs "Take Me Home Tonight," "Baby Hold On" and "Two Tickets to Paradise."

Before the first question is presented to him, Money offers remarks on his real name (Edward Mahoney) and the similarity to this writer's name; Abbott & Costello films; Marilyn Monroe and the movie "Niagara"; the weather in Niagara Falls; and the people of Western New York.

"There's a lot of intelligent people up there," Money says. "It's Jim Kelly country, man. The city stands for honesty and toughness. It's something real."

Does the performer have a show to promote? Yes. Does he have music to sell? Yes. But it seems as if Money could care less about, well, money, and is more interested in having a good conversation.

At points, Money does talk about his day job ... but, it's in between takes on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (he'll get in "probably when I'm in an urn on my wife's fireplace," he says), and sparring with his physician, who labeled Money as pre-diabetic ("I said, 'What are you talking about? I quit drinking.' He says, 'You're eating candy. You're eating ... cake. You're eating icing. You're eating pasta. You're loving french fries. All those carbohydrates turn into sugar.' I said ... 'You're telling me all this? I just got 10 boxes of pasta on sale at Costco and I bought three different cake mixes. Now you're telling me I can't eat any of this? You don't even (colorful word) validate!' ").

"I'm having fun, you know?" Money says.

His candor (read: lack of shameless self-promotion, lack of celebrity - heck, lack of ego) is part of the reason why Money is so popular in Western New York.

He's just like us.

Money has had success (15 Top 20 songs, including three that hit No. 1), but he doesn't flaunt it. He works hard to provide for his family, touring non-stop around the country. He thinks of others first, often donating time and resources to fight pediatric cancer and support U.S. troops and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. Money has a sharp sense of humor, and he swears like a truck-driving sailor.

Though not born or raised in Niagara Falls, the Brooklyn-born Money is an honorary ambassador for the Honeymoon Capital of the World. He yearly performs in or around the Cataract City, and says he truly enjoys visiting this region.

"I love Niagara Falls - you have no idea," Money says. "The place has so much great history."

"I remember about 10 years ago they had 'Eddie Money Day.' I loved it! I loved it!" he says.

Money performs Friday, July 6, as part of the Labatt Canal Concert Series in Lockport. Grand Island's Stacy Clark, whose new video "Sign" is featured on MTV, opens the free show. The music begins at 6 p.m. at the Ulrich City Courtyard (80 Main St.).

For this show, Eddie Money fans can expect a little bit of a twist.

In times past, Money would break into fits of Rodney Dangerfield in between songs, joking about drinking and eluding his probation officer.

"You know me; I like to clown around," he says.

But now, he lets his music do most of the talking.

"If you're not going up there and clowning around ... people are really taking these songs a lot more seriously," Money says.

"I'm like a good wine," he adds. "You just get better with age."

Complementing his own talent, Money pairs himself with seasoned pros.

"I like to tour a lot, because I've got a great band," he says. "If I don't keep these guys out on the road, Styx will pick them up, or REO Speedwagon."

"I got a really great band, so I like to keep working," Money says.

If we're lucky, he'll keep talking, too.

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