To those who’ve known him since his childhood years, they call him Erik Schrody. For others that have witnessed his musical career spawn and flourish since the early days of Ice T Rhyme Syndicate and eventually House of Pain, you can call him Everlast. There’s still others who’ve seen him progress as a solo artist, for them, you may call him Whitey Ford. Regardless of which name you choose, he is undoubtedly one of the most prolific names in the hip hop game over the last two decades. Sticking out after all these years as the Irish-American MC from Long Island who brought listeners “Jump Around” and more recently “What It’s Like,” Everlast has left an ear-tingling impression and stamp on the music world, proof that hip hop spans across all walks of life, not just the inner city.
Armed with a slick persona, creative song writing and an innate ability to capture ears and audiences, the Grammy winning, multi-platinum artist has sold millions of records without selling out and on his upcoming release Love, War, and the Ghost of Whitey Ford (September 23 Sony/ATV Music) Everlast takes listeners on yet another musical journey. This time around, politics, and of course, love and war, are at the forefront, leading to a deeper, more cerebral album. I guess you could say it’s a sign of the times collection.
Glide Magazine had the opportunity to catch up with Everlast as he readies for an extended tour to support the new album to touch upon everything from hip hop aliases to riding with the devil to artistic freedom.
So how are you today? What’s been going on?
I’m good, just gearing up to hit the road again.
You’ve got the new album Love, War, and the Ghost of Whitey Ford dropping next month. Tell me a little bit about the recording process and the album’s overall vibe.
The recording process took place over the last year or so on and off. (I) recorded at the home studio mostly with some orchestral stuff done at Capitol Studios. Overall, a pretty mellow and relaxed vibe during recording.
I read you as saying that the new album contains much denser and essentially harder arrangements than your previous efforts. Give our readers a sense of how that was achieved.
Well, my style of writing is much the same as before. We really just used more electric guitars and a lot of vintage synths and keys to beef up the acoustic roots of the songs, as I write 90% of my songs on acoustic guitar.
You co-produced the album. Is this something you’re normally credited with? And give me a sense of what Keefus’ role is.
I’ve been involved in producing every album I’ve ever done. When Dante Ross was producing and now I haven’t always tripped too hard on credits but I realized if I want to produce other records I got to let it be known I can take the lead and get a job done.
In listening to the album, you can sense a real political undertone in many of the albums cuts. Was there a conscious decision by you to write songs that tackled all the shit that’s going on in today’s America?
It wasn’t planned that way. I guess just living in America and watching a lot of the fuckery that’s been going on just inspired me to comment on some political issues. I normally don’t consider myself a very "political" type artist.
I was particularly struck by the line, ‘I ain’t got nothing but the stone that’s in my hand.’ What does that line mean to you?
“Stone in My Hand” is about the fighting spirit of the poor and oppressed. It was inspired by a picture I saw of a young kid in Palestine throwing a rock at a Tank. The kind of impulse that gets a man to put himself in the path of tanks in Tiananmen Square. That type of thing.
How does The Ghost of Whitey Ford differ from your previous albums?
It differs mainly in the sounds; less acoustic-dominated songs and a little more aggressive attitude. My style of writing and ‘so called’ singing hasn’t changed much.
This Whitey Ford character, is it simply an extension of Eric Schrody?
Whitey Ford is a hero of mine being an Irish man and one of the best left-handed pitchers ever for the New York Yankees. My assuming his name as an alter ego type thing is a mask to put on to step outside myself and speak as another ‘character.’
Let’s talk a little bit about the artistic freedom you’ve been given for this album. What kind of doors does that open up that you wouldn’t have normally been to see in?
Well, artistically I’ve always been fortunate to not be bothered by Execs about the creative side. Mostly I now have the ability to handle the promotion the way I see fit with the help of my Management Team, although there isn’t as much money to spend as a Major (Label), I still feel good about my options.
You’ve been in the music business for the better part of two decades. How have things changed?
Things have changed so much it’s hard to even say where to start. When I came in the biz, record companies actually tried to build a group up through touring and multiple albums. Now it seems if you don’t bring the Majors some kind of instant success they just move on to the next. That combined with technology enabling consumers to easily steal music has led to it being a tough game nowadays.
On a different tip, do you still get together with DJ Lethal and Danny Boy? Can we expect a House of Pain Reunion Tour anytime soon?
The three of us are actually recording together with Ill Bill of Non Phixion and a few other cats all forming a collective we call La Coka Nostra and have an album and shows coming soon.
Lastly, I hear that you’re taking to the road later this year to support the new album. What can your fans and newcomers alike expect from your live shows?
What they can expect is Live music. A variety of tunes from my body of work including some House of Pain up until the most current stuff perhaps a cover or two. Overall, I hope to provide a good time with some good tunes.