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Two Tickets to Paradise

We chat with Eddie Money, get all Punjabi on you and fatwa all over Robert Downey Jr.

Like Bob Seger, only less rocklike, affable palooka Eddie Money struck gold with his airy rasp and exasperated everyman persona. In the '80s Money became the root of all sorts of evil, shocking fans with his booze binges, coke addiction and lite-rock girl-group duets. At 55 this cop-dropout-turned-paradise-ticket-scalper is no longer, to quote one of his tunes, "a man of no control." Answering uncouth questions in a thick "how ya doin'?" accent, the Brooklyn-born Edward Mahoney proved unflappable, though his static-smothered cell-phone connection chopped his game responses into bizarre non-sequiturs:

B-Sides: You've done two-night stays at several tour stops, including the December 3 and 4 gigs at the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles. Are people always receptive to your "I Wanna Go Back" demands?

Eddie Money:You know what's a great line from that song is "Hangin' out on a Friday night/The first slow dance, hoping that I'll get it right." [Lengthy indecipherable segment]...and if St. Louis had a rock hall of fame, I'd be in there. But Cleveland doesn't like me.

Really? What more do they want -- you didThe Drew Carey Show.

[Silence] I ended up playing Kevin James' wedding. I tell jokes onstage, too. Like, "My wife told me she wanted to go someplace she's never been before, and I said, 'Try the kitchen!'"

You made some goofy faces in that "Shakin'" video. Are those everyday expressions?

[Crackling] And this drunken Indian punched me, and it broke my jaw in several places, and to this day that side of my mouth is messed up. You can blame the Indian!

You're playing Ameristar Casino. Are you, to use a song from your first album, a "Gamblin' Man"?

What happened to the Cardinals? I lost a lot of money. Tony LaRussa is a good friend. I made $700 at that casino once. Don't tell my wife. [signal wavers]... [singing now] I'm a gamblin' man, I'm a gamblin' man.

You've played on some bizarre bills, alongside the likes of Cheap Trick and the B-52's. What's the strangest show you've played?

I did one gig with the Bangles and Pat Benatar, and I did my best to let the women outshine me, but sometimes I'm no good with women. [Dead air] There was this .38 Special backup singer, and the next thing I know, this guy comes up and decks me.

You've been aSaturday Night Live musical guest. Have you ever used backing tracks?

No, I did it live. I remember hanging out with John Belushi. We were so fucking drunk, and he kept saying, "Edward fucking Mahoney."

Where's the party, Eddie?

[Clatter] And I told these guys, I don't know how to ride a Harley. So I got on the thing and just smashed into a monitor. I was like Pee Wee on that bike...[fizz]...it's a good life, you know? I get out there and sing my skinny ass off until the cops come. -- Andrew Miller

Critical Fatwa
Hipsters bow down! Hail Captain Beefheart! Praise be unto Television!

Blasphemers against rock & roll are everywhere. Those aligned with the true rock will not stand for its glorious name to be sullied. A most true and serious critical fatwa must be proclaimed against one such defiler, Robert Downey Jr.

Must we list his horrible crimes? We must, so gird your loins against the stains of his sins.

1) He is an actor releasing a vain, fame-driven album that would never have seen the light of day had this man not appeared on Ally McBeal. He joins abominations such as Billy Bob Thornton and Kevin Bacon on the darkest lists of shame!

2) He has named his abortion The Futurist, even though it is made up of laid-back piano ditties.

3) He sings with a voice that sounds as if Dave Matthews and Bob Seger had an unholy spawn.

4) Most seriously, he waited until after he was clean of drugs and alcohol before recording the album! This is not the way of rock. Would Kurt Cobain (bow down!) smile at that? Would Jimi Hendrix? No, for it makes boring, uninspired "adult contemporary" music, not rock & roll.

Fatwa! True believers, you must hide his brie! Pinch his eyebrows! Leave heroin out in his view!

It is written. -- Ayatollah of Rock

More Bhangra for the Buck
Upon selling 200,000 copies of his deliciously titled Shaa Ra Ra Ra LP on its first day of release in mid-September, bhangra superstar Daler Mehndi embarked on (what else?) the Shaa Ra Ra Ra Tour to dazzle audiences worldwide with the contemporary song and dance of the Punjab. Mehndi comes to blow the roof off the Rickman Auditorium of the Fox C-6 School in Arnold on Sunday (tickets and more information are available from Seema Enterprises by calling 314-423-9990 or visiting www. seemaent.com). Last week the charismatic purveyor of butt-bouncing beats and robustly merry melodies took a few minutes from his busy schedule to clarify some things for us.

B-Sides: "Shaa ra ra ra" is not in my Punjabi phrasebook. Could you shed some light on the meaning of this phrase?

Daler Mehndi: "Shaa ra ra ra" is shouted during the kite movement in bhangra dance. You know, when you do that movement, you can say, "Shaa ra ra ra!"

I rather enjoy shouting it throughout the day. How have audiences responded to the new music on this tour?

Oh, excellent! All over the world, kids, boys, girls, man, woman, old and young -- they all do the action with me when I do the song "Shaa Ra Ra Ra," right away.

The song "#1 Papa" rocks my ass completely off, but I don't understand all the lyrics. Is it an autobiographical song about siring many children?

"#1 Papa" means bhangra music rhythm is always No. 1, that nothing can be better than bhangra music. You know, the papa is the head person of the house. Also, "papa" is the head of rhythm, and bhangra rhythm is the head rhythm of any other music -- Indian music, rock & roll, in India, Pakistan, all over the world.

Some tracks on the new album feature female backing vocals in English. Is this in an attempt to reach a whiter audience?

I want my music to play all over the world. That's why we used English.

There are a lot of similarities between bhangra and hip-hop. Do you enjoy American hip-hop?

Ah, yah-yah! I like hip-hop, also rock & roll music, soul and blue[s] and jazz.

What do you think of Nelly's new double record?

Nelly Furtado?

Nope, different Nelly. The Nelly I refer to is a hip-hop artist, dramatic actor, soft-drink entrepreneur and positive role model for children and adults alike.

I haven't heard of this Nelly. -- John Goddard

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