Thank you so much for talking with us Eric!! What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about pursuing a career in music? “Don’t!” Dave Edmonds gave me that advice backstage at a show he played in DC in the early ‘90s. Dave’s advice that night may have been influenced by the fact that maybe 50 people came to the show and/or by the quality of the cover art on the cassette demo I handed him.
But he was right, at least for me. Early on as a fan I learned that the path I wanted to forge wasn’t likely to pay the bills unless I’d be willing to water down my writing to a point where I would no longer enjoy it. So I decided to pursue a day job that I liked, while still songwriting but not having to make compromises to put food on the table.
Looking back, what was the first album or “Vinyl” you bought? My grandparents bought me “Beatles VI,” and a couple months later when my grandfather was leaving for a business trip to London and told me that he’d call me on Sunday, I reminded him that England has different Sundays. Further questioning led to my learning that England does not, in fact, have “Eight Days A Week.” Thus began a life of pop music dictating my reality until proven inaccurate.
If you could only perform one of your songs for someone who has never heard of you, what song would that be? Candidly, that would depend on the audience. If it were a person who grew up in the ‘80s like me, definitely “1986.”
If it were a person over 30 from New Jersey, definitely “A Jersey-Size Disgrace,” my protest song from last February about the Boss’s DUI arrest:
And for anyone else with an affinity for The Classics, I think it would be “Relay Road,“ the first single from my new EP—it’s the closest thing to a mission statement I’ve ever recorded:
What has changed in your life between recording your last album and this one? COVID loss and anxiety, as for many of us. Also my oldest daughter finished high school remotely and we just dropped her off at college.
Meanwhile my 15 year old has become obsessed with Olivia Rodrigo and I cannot escape “Sour” and hourly gossip updates.
In my kid’s defense, at her age I was just as nuts about Springsteen. But in 1983 I didn’t have a supercomputer in my pocket buzzing every time the Boss was spotted at Madam Marie’s.
It’s funny that in the 1980s critics were increasingly concerned about the cult of personality overtaking our focus on the music. Could we be more distracted today?
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs? I hope my songs convey the joy that comes from converting the inevitable pains of life into expressions of art and love. And also the fact that New Jersey really doesn’t smell like the three mile stretch of the turnpike that has earned us our national reputation.
What is your favorite wine? Ruffino Chianti Classico - any vintage
How do you drink your coffee? One cream, one unrefined sugar - to delude myself into thinking I have a healthy diet.
What is your favorite breakfast? Three scrambled eggs with avocado and fresh hash browns, Greek yogurt with granola, honey, strawberries and blueberries.
Where is your favorite place to eat in your hometown? The Turning Point of Westfield - one town over. I’m simply too much of a celebrity in Fanwood, NJ to eat in peace here. Luckily my notoriety has yet to travel across the Westfield border, which is approximately 1 mile from my house.
Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why? That’s easy: International House of Pancakes, from whom I have been seeking an endorsement ever since releasing my first album “Breakfast” more than 20 years ago:
I think IHOP may have been put off by the highfalutin’ salmon hash on the cover, but at this point in my life I’d be willing to negotiate some on-brand photoshopping.