Spend a few minutes chatting with Eddie Money, and you'll learn more about his life than most rockers would willingly reveal in a year.
The musician, who will be in concert tomorrow night in Club Bijou, not only speaks swiftly, but talks openly about everything under the sun.
For openers, the Money Man, as he calls himself, explained in a phone interview from California this week that he was sitting outside in his underwear, sipping a cup of tea.
The 57-year-old singer said he's in the process of writing an autobiographical musical, aptly titled Two Tickets to Paradise, after his 1978 hit single.
"It gives me something to do," he said.
It tells the story of his life, he said, from when he was a long-haired rebellious teenager named Eddie Mahoney, working for the New York City police department by day and singing in a rock band called the Grapes of Wrath by night.
He got into a fight with his stern policeman father and decided to move to California. He said he wrote a song called "No Goodbyes," to be sung in the play outside his mother's bedroom door, because he didn't want to wake her up when he was leaving.
Using the stage name Eddie Money, he sang in California nightclubs until being discovered by legendary concert promoter Bill Graham, who became his manager in 1977 and landed the youngster a major-label record deal.
"Next thing you know, I'm making $1,000 a minute and touring with the Stones and the Who," Money said. "How many people actually got a chance to party with Keith Richards and hang out with Mick Jagger? But I got fired 'cause we were getting too many encores.
"And how about Keith Richards, falling out of a [bleeping] coconut tree?" Money added. (Richards was injured in a fall last April in New Zealand and the Stones had to postpone their tour.) "That's something Eddie Money would do, not Keith Richards."
The play will include his 1982 song "No Control," about his "horrible overdose," Money said.
"I took phenatol. It was a bathtub barbiturate," he explained. "I was drinking a lot of booze. It knocked out my kidneys. I was a mess. I couldn't walk for nine months."
He said he was young and stupid and the drugs were free.
Money recently recorded his first CD in seven years, "Wanna Go Back," which is slated to be released next spring on his own Big Deal Productions record label and distributed by Universal. It features covers of his favorite songs from the 1960s and '70s, including classic hits such as "Good Lovin'," "Build Me Up Buttercup," and "You Don't Know Me."
Money's 18-year-old daughter, Jesse, sings on "Mockingbird," "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," and "Hold On I'm Comin'."
"I guess the apple don't fall far from the tree," he said, explaining that Jesse has had drug problems and he spent $64,000 to send her to two different rehab programs.
In addition, Money said he and his wife - "a beautiful woman, but I've had a crazy [bleeping] life" - are now "going through some crap ... but we're getting together for Thanksgiving. It's hard being married to Eddie Money."
He's cut way back on his cigarettes, he said, with help from nicotine gum, but the gum gives him the hiccups, which is a hassle when he's doing radio interviews.
A few years ago, he told The Blade that he had quit smoking for Lent, but it slowed down his metabolism and he had to watch his diet. This time, he said, "I didn't get fat and stuff like that."
He just borrowed some clothes to shoot a video for his new album and hopes to sell enough copies of the CD to recoup the $100,000 he invested in it.
"It takes money to make money," Money said. "Do you know how many records I have to sell to break even? All I need is to get a hit single. I hope this record does something."
He also lamented that he's not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, blaming it on the rock industry's bias against police officers - until 9/11, he added - and he's a former cop and the son of a cop.
"Fans always loved me, but the critics ... " Money said, leaving the sentence unfinished.
Overall, Money said he is feeling good and excited about the new album and his work on the musical.
"I ain't drinking like a fish. If you don't drink, you don't wake up with a hangover. I'm keeping my life pretty together, so to speak," he said.
That's the view from Eddie Money's patio - underwear and all.
Eddie Money will be in concert at 8 p.m. tomorrow in Club Bijou, 209 North Superior St., with the Rick Nease Band and Draw the Line opening. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 tomorrow, available at all Ticketmaster outlets.
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