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Everlast’s White Boy Blues

Everlast emerges from House of Pain and jumps into hick-hop

Everlast has come a long way, baby. Remember that tattooed, goateed
MC who jumped to the top of the charts with the multi-platinum rap
group House of Pain? Well, the shamrocks-and-beer shenanigans are
dead and buried. And on his new solo album, Whitey Ford Sings
the Blues
, Everlast’s born again with a bluesy, hip-hop hybrid
sound, a new alias (Whitey), and a new introspective attitude
that’s still rough around the edges.

The L.A. based MC-turned-musician (born Erik Schrody) quit House
of Pain in 1996 out of what he describes as creative frustration.
After battling financial woes and a rough break up with
Manhole/Tura Satana frontwoman Tairrie B., he began work on his
self-penned solo album, drawing on inspiration from artists
including Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and, of course,
hip-hop. “We’ve come up with names to describe the sound, like
hick-hop,” says Everlast. “I basically said fuck the rules and took
everything I’ve ever liked in my life and threw it all together
like one big bowl of soup.”

And much to Everlast’s own surprise, folks are really digging
in. “I thought I was going to get a lot of flack for this album
because a lot of people are narrow minded,” says Everlast. “I
thought hip-hop purists would be like, ‘What do you think you’re
doing?’ And I thought rock guys would be like, ‘Who do you think
you’re trying to fool?’ But instead everyone’s been like, ‘Wow you
did your own thing, that’s really cool.'”

It’s the alternative crowd that’s shown him the most support so
far. The album’s first single, “What It’s Like,” is getting heavy
spins on modern rock stations in the top ten markets. “What I’d
really like to see is rap stations playing it,” says Everlast, “but
it’s the rap cats who are one-track minded with the regurgitated
disco hits with an R&B singer and a cat who can’t rap on ’em.
It’s called karaoke music and I despise it.”

Hmm. Let’s guess who Everlast is alluding to. “The guy’s a
brilliant marketing genius, but musically, yeah, I am speaking
about Puffy. Not just him, there’s a whole school of them and
that’s all they do. He just happens to be the master of it.”

A lot of people would call that player-hating, but Everlast says he
has no personal vendettas. “More power to you Puff, you make all
your money. But as a musician? Come on, let’s be real,” Everlast
says. “People always put me in this position like, ‘yeah, come on,
diss him,’ but he’s already dissed himself by saying he’s just in
it for the money. Anybody who’s just in anything for the money is
wack to me. I ain’t all about the Benjamins, I’m about trying to
live a decent life as a decent human being, and make some decent
music that inspires people.”

Everlast’s blunt honesty pops up all over Whitey Ford,
from the apologetic sentiment to his ex on “The Letter,” to the
real-life tales on “What It’s Like,” to the bare-bones feel of his
acoustic guitar playing.

“It’s about growing up,” he says. “I just stripped myself naked and
said, ‘Hey everybody take a look.'” But let’s not forget a solid
dose of sarcasm. “Whitey Ford was a New York Yankees pitcher from
the Forties,” says Everlast of the alias he assumes on the album’s
title. “But Whitey is actually what it’s all about, it’s supposed
to make you giggle.”

But there’s more to Whitey than meets the eye. “I was looking at
all the fake gangster mafioso aliases in hip-hop. Everybody wants
to be Don this or some mobster out of the Godfather,” explains
Everlast. “It’s like, if you’re going to take on an alias, make it
obvious why you took it with the imagery that it invokes. A lot of
these cats are trying to be people who would hate their guts.
Whitey Ford also sounds like some old blues cat’s name. Like, if
there was some white guy in the Thirties playing the blues, they
would have called him Whitey.”

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