Tuesday, February 05, 2013

E Talks About My Eels Biography

With E out promoting Eels' fine new album, I was, of course, curious if anyone might ask him about my Eels biography. Happily, Dan Lucas, who's a fan of my book, did just that. Dan's profile of E at Drowned in Sound is great across the board, but here's the section where he asks E what he thought of Blinking Lights and Other Revelations: The Story of Eels...

Back in 2008 E received widespread acclaim for his literary prowess thanks to his fascinating memoir Things the Grandchildren Should Know. Now, just four years later, rock critic Tim Grierson has written the unauthorised biography Blinking Lights & Other Revelations which offers a welcome objectivity that the autobiography, by nature, lacked. I felt the book had its merits but, as its subject, E is less certain having been just about the only person closely associated with Eels who declined to be involved in Grierson’s project. “It’s very flattering that somebody wrote a book about me. I couldn’t really recognise myself in it though, I felt like I was reading about somebody else. I think it was odd that it would come out so soon. I think I did it better, but then I would think that! Maybe it’s odd to read a book about yourself? I mean, I’m happy to try anything once, so I just thought ‘let’s see what I’m like’ and so [when reading Grierson’s book] I was like ‘didn’t we do that already?’”

I thank Dan immensely, and I appreciate E's comments. My short response to his rhetorical question is that while Things the Grandchildren Should Know is indeed great, it skips over a lot of his life and musical adventures. For instance, he doesn't talk about I Am the Messiah, nor does he discuss the very-hard-to-find Bad Dude in Love, which he recorded while he was still living in Virginia. Plus, getting to hear other people's perspective on E's creative process, to my mind, makes my book a valuable companion piece to E's memoir.

With that said, I can't imagine what it must be like to read a book written by a complete stranger about you. I've been a fan of the man for more than 15 years, so I definitely approached this project with a lot of love and a huge sense of responsibility. As Dan mentions, E didn't participate in the book, but he was kind enough to let me interview those around him. (I've interviewed him twice in the past, though.) Someday, I hope to actually sit down with the man and chat about this book. Even if that doesn't happen, though, I'm proud of my effort to explain to the world what an undervalued talent he is. That's enough for me. (You can order the book here and judge for yourself.)