The Weeklings: The old guard metal guys are older now than my grandparents were back then! Sabbath, Maiden, Judas Priest, AC/DC? Why do you think so many classic acts are still around? Is it because we don’t have anyone to fill their shoes?
ET: I think it’s more of a case that there’s nothing else they really know to do. Every time they pull away from it, they realize it’s just what they love. It’s kind of like an athlete who retires and then comes back for just one more year. Then it keeps going on and on….
For some, quite honestly, it’s financial. There’s a misconception that some of these artists are wealthier than they actually are. In some cases you have guys who have been through multiple divorces, huge overheads, and for others it’s simply a lifestyle that they can’t afford unless they stay out on the road. And then for others, it’s ego and they don’t want to give that up.
Ozzy said he was retiring on the ‘No More Tours’ show over twenty years ago. Of course his hand is being played more by his wife than he himself – which he has said. So everyone has a different reason they do it. I’ve always said that I don’t mind an artist staying out as long as they want to as long as they are able to do so at a level that’s close to what they originally brought to the game. Once you start seeing cracks and the energy isn’t there then it’s time to go away gracefully. Some have stayed too long at the party and some are still as good as they’ve ever been.
The Weeklings: I have to imagine in 10 years that many of these acts will be retired for good and there’ll be a huge void. Then what?
ET: Sure. You already see that Rush is pretty much out of the picture and done touring after this run. Who knows what will happen with Sabbath, there are obviously health issues there. Bruce Dickinson is battling cancer. AC/DC down two key members. Priest said they were done two years ago, but they’re still hanging in there a bit. Time stops for no one and you have to wonder how much these guys will be able to keep doing. I’m not sure what fills the void. Metallica are about ten years younger than the bands we’re talking about. So, you have to hope that they can carry the torch along with others.
The Weeklings: I grew up in the Deep South and preachers would come play records backwards and hold up Bark at the Moon, warning parents about the evils of heavy metal and rock. Did you face any of that as a kid?
ET: No, not really. To this day my parents are in church every single Saturday, pretty staunch Catholics, and to their credit never gave me any grief about the music I loved. I was huge into KISS, so there I was bringing home Destroyer, and putting it on the family stereo in the living room. Some parents might have recoiled about that, but they never did. They grew up in the 50s as big fans of Elvis so they probably saw the bias against early rock and roll and thought, okay, KISS is our kid’s Elvis. So they’ve been totally supportive. In fact, they’ll still hit me up from time to time for Fleetwood Mac or Eagles tickets.
The Weeklings: One of the things fans talk about a lot is reunions. Before we go, let me run a few of the rumors past you for your take.
ET: Okay, sure.
The Weeklings: Metallica and Dave Mustaine.
ET: I haven’t heard anything about that one. And honestly, I’d be shocked if there was anything to it. Maybe people are getting caught up in Metallica putting out the No Life til Leather demo for Record Store Day? Obviously Mustaine was part of that but as for recording together or doing a project I seriously doubt that’s going to happen.
The Weeklings: Def Leppard and Mutt Lange.
ET: I don’t know how active Mutt Lange is these days? He’s a pretty reclusive guy.
The Weeklings: He’s producing the new Muse record.
ET: We just had Joe Elliot on That Metal Show so I know it won’t be this next Def Leppard record. Obviously, they had their greatest success with Mutt, but there’s probably a side that doesn’t want to re-hash old things. Also, everyone knows that Mutt Lange is a taskmaster and put Def Leppard through a lot. At this point in their career, I’m not sure they’d want to endure that.
The Weeklings: Van Halen and Michael Anthony.
ET: I think that would be wonderful. I don’t say this as any knock on Wolfie, who is a talented kid, but it’s silly when you think about it. You’ve got the original Van Halen together except for Michael Anthony? The most loveable, regular dude in the world? It’s ridiculous that he’s not part of it. I know there’s always politics and things behind the scenes but I don’t see why they can’t make that happen. But whatever Eddie decides to do, I think it’ll be with his son.
The Weeklings: In my opinion, he was Van Halen’s secret of success. With all of Dave and Eddie’s flash and pyrotechnics, someone had to keep it grounded. Mike Anthony was the solid rock.
ET: Absolutely right. I don’t think people every realized how important Mike’s vocals were until they heard the band without them.
The Weeklings: Last one. Slash and Axl in 2016.
ET: I don’t know about 2016, but I believe it will happen. Slash is a friend and I’ve done a few things with Axl — but when I say that, it’s strictly me speaking as a fan. I don’t have insider information. But, I have had conversations with people in the Guns camp and I think there’s an underlying feeling that it could be gradually moving towards a day when that will happen. I think a lot of people got really excited when Slash tweeted happy birthday to Axl. Sounds silly and harmless, but people took it as a huge olive branch.
But yes, I think it’s too big not to happen and those guys are still young enough to make it happen. If you think about it, the only thing to prevent it from happening is Axl and Slash talking. Duff has already played with them. Both drummers want to do it and Izzy floats between camps, totally neutral. So really, it comes down to Slash and Axl coming together.
Read Eddie’s entire interview with The Weeklings, here.