That whole sex, drugs and rock and roll cliche? Eddie Money has lived it.
Now at age 62, he’s married and been clean and sober for two years. But rock and roll remains in his blood. And he’s now trying a new gig as morning host of 97.1/The River, the local classic rock station.
“I hope this radio thing works out,” Money said in a recent phone interview from his home in Westlake Village, Calif. to promote his radio show and an upcoming concert at Wild Bill’s Nov. 18. “These people at the River are really nice. To be able to do radio every day is so cool. I’m [bleepin'] loving it!”
He’s enjoying the job so much, he said he’s considering getting a place in Atlanta. “I should have been born in the south,” said Money, who’s from Brooklyn, N.Y. “I love eating fried chicken and hushpuppies. I like the Braves and the Dirty Birds.”
Money, who calls himself “the Money man” on air, does his show most of the time from his home. “Dont’ touch that dial,” he said Tuesday morning. “I’ll smack your fingers!”
He will sometimes tape bits in advance but will go live as well. He has no compunction going on the air at 6 a.m. EST (3 a.m. his time), work for three hours, then go to sleep as the sun is going up. “I’m like Dracula. I stay up all night,” he said.
The rocker remains a busy man, touring 150 dates a year with a collection of hits such as “Baby Hold On,” “Shakin’,” “Think I’m in Love” and “Take Me Home Tonight.” The River plays all those songs.
Lee Cagle, the River program director, said Cox Radio was seeking celebrity jocks for the River and Money “tested really high.” Cagle had a friend in Los Angeles broach the idea to Money.
Money was receptive and within six weeks, they had a deal in place.
“We just have to feed him the right things to say,” Cagle said. “He’s already come to Atlanta several times so he gets to learn the city.”
Cagle said he’s training Money on the art of radio. “He’s catching on pretty quickly,” he said. Sometimes, Money gets so excited, he talks too fast and his distinctive Brooklyn accent becomes too heavy, Cagle said. “He has to remember he’s not on stage. Slow down. Take it back a notch! He’s catching himself now.”
“It’s short term for now to see how it works,” Cagle added. “But we all want it to work. We’re putting a lot into it.”
Money’s advice to Cagle? “Play more of me!” (Money has had 11 songs on the Billboard magazine top 40.)
Greg Kihn, a fellow 1970s/80s rock star best known for hits such as “Jeopardy” and “The Breakup Song,” transitioned into a full-time morning jock at a rock station in San Jose, Calif. the past 13 years ago.”You need a lot of [courage] to go from rock and roll to radio,” said Kihn, a friend of Money’s. Other stars with regular shows include Alice Cooper, Mike Reno of Loverboy and Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue.
“Radio,” Kihn said, “is a sprint, not a marathon. It’s fraught with peril. There are days you don’t feel good. You had a gig the night before and you’re hung over. You have to suck it up and do it. That’s what makes you a professional.”
9:30 p.m. Friday. Nov. 18.
$25.65 to $112.80 after fees. Wild Bill’s Atlanta, 2075 Market St., Duluth. 678-473-1000. www.ticketmaster.com
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk