Things the Grandchildren Should Know, by Mark Oliver Everett
This is a memoir of sorts from the founder/front-man of the band, The Eels. More of a collection of random stories. Very random at times – which at first I found a little off-putting but quickly became charming as E (Mark’s nickname) shows more of his personality – which comes out quickly, easily, and is so likable that you just want to give him a big hug and be his friend.
Last year, when our October trip to Utah was planned, my cousin Colt asked if we wanted to go to The Eels concert, which just so happened to coincide nicely with the visit. Tom and I knew 2 Eels songs: Novocaine for the Soul, and I Like Birds – but why not? We hadn’t been to a real concert in ages and hanging out with Colt and Maggie is Good Times no matter what. We started to listen to his music at home, but I don’t know if it really prepared us for the concert, and how much we would end up loving E and his crazy wolf-man bearded band.
The concert didn’t start out all that promising – the opening acts were a really corny, not-that-great ventriloquist, and a solo artist that was very obviously high on something (not life). She made a comment about how surprised she was that Utah had such great Mexican food (in a reference to the Red Iguana) because we were a land-locked state. Okaaaay….moving on. However, once The Eeels took the stage – it was all good. Fantastic, in fact. I loved every single song and the way that even favorites were mixed up and performed on a new level. I Like Birds, which is one of Ella’s favorite songs, and fairly mellow, was done Sophie-style, at head-banging speed. We left very happy, and now have the entire discography, enjoyed on a regular basis, in our home.
I loved being able to read about his thought process on so many songs in the book. I enjoyed them before, but like knowing a little inside information now. Also, his life was crazy. He was surrounded by death, rejection in the music industry, crazy girlfriends, a childhood that’s hard to describe….but none of this was told in the fashion that makes you think he’s an egotistical rockstar – just a guy, talking about his life. I cried a couple times (usually after yet another person in his life died) and laughed a lot.
Highly recommend this to any Eels fan, and even those that aren’t – think of it as just a quirky, fun autobiography. And really, you should go listen to the music anyway – start with Saturday Morning – it’s Birdie’s favorite. Dog Faced Boy is more Sophie’s style, and we all enjoy I Like the Way This is Going.
Next up: The Handmade Marketplace, by Kari Chapin