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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Eels singer talks to the Hatchet

Horn-rimmed glasses and a quivering lip. It’s been almost six years since Eel lead singer E, yes just the letter, had his minute in the spotlight getting recognition for his hit song “Novocaine for the Soul.” That time is now ancient history for E, who has since released three more albums since on Dreamworks Records, including his newest record SoulJacker.

As the creative backbone of the Eels, E has managed on his new record to create a disturbing and creepy vibe, employing a wide variety of outrageous musical techniques. He has also managed to slip just below the mainstream. So how’s E looking these days? The music is as inventive as ever, and the man . well, this geek rocker’s gone lumberjack in a big way. Beard and all. So why the new look to go with the new sound?

E: I saw some dumbass alternative band somewhere on TV and I was like ‘Man, I just want to be as far removed from this as possible. I threw away the red baseball cap and the earring. I covered up all of my tattoos. Then I grew a beard.

Hatchet: Not going for the radio rocker look then?

E: I could see a band like ‘Nsync sporting beards in the future. But I’m sure some of those guys can’t even get a little stubble going. I guess the Beatles went through a beard phase. But you know, those English guys don’t have half the testosterone as me.

H: No English guys, or just those English guys?

E: None, in general.

H: In your experience at least?

E: I think so. I don’t know. Maybe it’s a stereotype. I don’t know.

H: You lived in D.C. for awhile.

E: Yeah, I grew up in Northern Virginia. You know where the CIA is? I used to work at the CIA Exxon.

H: The Exxon by the CIA?

E: I can’t tell you any more. That’s all I can say. I shouldn’t have brought it up.

H: Well, OK then. So you write way more songs than actually come out? True? Did you do that with the new record, Souljacker?

E: The next two albums are ready to go. They’re just sitting their gathering dust until they come out. Everything is way after the fact.

H: How long has the Souljacker been around?

E: It started during the Electro-Shock Blues album in 1997. I just kept working on its as its own record. That’s something I do.

H: What kind of stuff do you have sitting around now?

E: One is all polka ballads. One is all Oboe and saw.

H: You don’t mix the Oboe and saw with the polka?

E: That’s a brilliant idea. That’s gonna be the next one. That’s going to be my two-CD masterpiece.

H: So the label holds the release on the stuff you’ve got around.

E: My timetable is to release it now. But I don’t really understand the makings of a big record label.

H: You’ve had objections to having songs on soundtracks and things like that. Do you butt heads a lot with them?

E: Yeah, that’s where the trouble starts. They put our song on that movie Road Trip a couple years ago, which I still haven’t seen. I really didn’t want to be part of it. I’ve been working for years to pair our audience down and get out all the frat boys who came to hear ‘Novocaine for the Soul’ because it was blasting out of their Jeep speakers one summer. The label does something like that, and it starts it all over again.

H: Do you think you’ve gotten rid of the frat boy contingent?

E: No. One thing we’ve noticed is that there’s a lot more boys coming out since we started really rocking out on this record, in Europe anyway.

H: Is that disturbing to you?

E: No, just an observation, but you can be the next record is gonna be really girly.

H: You gonna get rid of the beard if you go all girly?

E: The ladies love the beard. You’re just a magnet for the ladies. I go out, and things are different with the men. I go into the bank, and the security guard takes the safety off his pistol and the babies hide behind their mommy’s legs. But the mommy’s are all very happy about the beard. It’s been a very good move on my part that I didn’t expect, socially at least.

H: So you’ve grown in that respect at least?

E: It’s a great lesson in life. You grow a beard, stop washing your hair, and you start smelling like a homeless man. That equals charisma. Who knew?

H: What can I do? I can’t grow a beard.

E: What are you, English?

H: No, I just can’t grow a beard that big.

E: Oh, well give it time. Maybe you’re not old enough yet. Maybe by you next birthday it’ll happen.

H: So I should just let it grow and hope?

E: You could always wear a fake one, too. They might find that charming, and if they discover its fake they might think you’re kooky eccentric.

H: So don’t let them discover it?

E: You have no control over whether or not they discover it. If they discover it, that’s good. It means something’s happening.

H: So that’s good?

E: I think so.

H: So was this your technique?

E: I think if you’re asking me for advice on your social life, it really speaks to the trouble you’re in. But, I mean, if you need it I’m here to help.

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