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The day I bought this, I started to read it and sat unable to put it down until I'd finished. It is gripping. This is the autobiography of Mark Oliver Everett (aka Mr E, or just E), the brains behind American band Eels. I'd heard great things about this book (for instance it's endorsed by Pete Townshend as "One of the best books ever written by a contemporary artist"), and having only just got into Eels' music, I wanted to know more about Mr E. It is an amazing read, pretty unbelievable at times. The things that have happened to him even so far in his life would be enough to finish off several people, never mind one - a tear-away at an early age, he was the son the quantum physicist who invented the parallel universe theory. Amongst many things that are recounted, a plane crashed near their house when he'd been left home alone, and he writes of how he went out in the dark to see what had happened, only to find wreckage and body parts everywhere - not one of everyone's formative experiences! He experimented with drink and drugs early under the eye of his older sister, but turned his back on them quite soon after he was caught for one crime and accused of another - in his case the deterrent worked. In his teens,he found his father dead one morning, and had to cope with this on his own; meanwhile his sister was suffering increasingly poor mental health.
When he left home to pursue his own path, he slowly became established as a recording artist, but every time he achieved success he was hit by some sort of tragedy, either family or friends. He lost both his mother and sister within a short space of time. Somehow, amazingly, he has always carried on though - at one point he describes how his life's events were so surreal that he felt more like an observer. As his career went on, he released two solo albums, and went on to form the band Eels, releasing albums on a regular basis and incidentally providing soundtrack songs for the Shrek films, amongst others. E is a fascinating man, and despite writing such a revealing autobiography he is very protective of his own privacy and solitude when the pressures of success are wearing him out - but a solitude of a humble kind, back home with the dog, and keeping a watch on the birds in the garden, and working on more songs when inspiration comes. Eels are still very much with us, with an album (Hombre Lobo) released this year and another (End Times) due out in January 2010.
This really is a terrific, human, story - not the sort of thing you expect to find when you pick up a rock biog. I can't recommend this book highly enough!
A few years ago my mate turned around to me with his I-Pod when we were on a coach in the middle of Belgium somewhere. As he shoved one of the ear phones into my left ear he said 'listen to this song.'
That was first time I had ever listened to (now my favourite band) EELS and was absolutely taken back by the emotion filled lyrics and avant-garde music. The only member who has been in the band from the very start is
Mr E or Mark Oliver Everett has been in music for a long time now, starting EELS in 1995. He has 6 (will be 7 in June) studio albums under his belt as well as his music being used in films such as Shrek, Hot Fuzz and Yes Man.
Apart from all of this he has had an emotional rollercoaster of a ride in life. He and his older sister Elizabeth Everett were born in Virginia to mother Nancy Everett and father Hugh Everett III (one of the most famous quantum theorists the world has ever known).
Sadly everything went downhill for Mr E when his father died of a heart attack in 1982, his sister commited suicide in 1996 and his mother died of lung cancer in 1998, however his family were a massive inspiration to his music and live on in the lyrics.
Things the Grandchildren should know (named after a song about his relationship with his dad) is a brilliant book which talks about subjects like death and love in a subtle but genius way.
The book is hard covered 256 pages of brilliant reading. This is by far one of the best books out there to read, even if you aren't a fan of EELS.