If you're a fan of Joe Ely you have probably heard his versions of "Cool Rockin' Loretta", "(Don't Put A Lock) On My Heart" and "What's Shakin' Tonight". If you're like me you did not know or maybe you knew and forgot that they were written by Eddie Beethoven, Joe's longstanding running mate and partner in crime. Eddie recently released Blame It On The Wind featuring the Everydudes (Dan Yates, Alan Durham, Denzil Warner and Frank Kriege) with some additional help from Texas legends Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, Joe Ely, Lloyd Maines and Jon Dee Graham. I've listened to the disc a dozen times and it's hard to say who influenced whom. Eddie's vocals are similar in style to Joe Ely's or maybe it is really the other way around or perhaps you can blame it on the (Lubbock) wind that's given us so many talented singer/songwriters. Blame It On The Wind was a welcome surprise and any fan of West Texas rock and roll should give it and Eddie Beethoven a spin. Here are Eddie's versions of a couple of the aforementioned tracks followed by a brief interview with Eddie.
HB-You co-wrote two tracks with Joe Ely for his 1984 disc HiRes and he covered your "Don't Put A Lock On My Heart" on Lord Of The Highway. Could you talk a little bit about your relationship with Joe and how you've met?
EB-I met Joe Ely and DeForest White one evening in the year 1970 or so. Someone had told them something about me. When I answered the door I saw Groucho Marx and Charles Chaplin. They stayed for about an hour. It was an incredible invitation into a very powerful and loving Lubbock artistic community. In our boxcar travel days, Joe and I have been characterized as Cassidy and Kerouac, though I have always thought of us as an Arthur Rimbaud meets Jack London deal.
HB-Who inspired you to start playing and writing?
EB-My inspiration comes from God and circumstance. Heroes abound raising families and playing music with their friends, fixing cars, planting wheat, eating hot peppers, hanging sheetrock, saying hello to their dogs in the morning, tending to their businesses in a most charming and stark raving sane way.
HB-What's the story behind your name: Eddie Beethoven?
EB-The story behind the name: I was visiting a Taoist monk in a Lubbock alley apartment one cold winter. He was busy trying to teach a Siamese cat to hunt sparrows in the snow. During our conversation I recited the shortest poem I could think of (Samuel Johnson defined poetry as the violent roping together of disparate images).
"Eddie Beethoven", I said.
The monk said, " a brass bowl filled with snow".
HB-Americana listeners love genres and sub-genres. Eddie Beethoven plays .........
EB-The genre: I have been described as the custodian of high plains rock and roll. I suppose it is my own genre in a way because like me it is so simple. Rhythm touches the body.
Lyrics touch the mind. Melody touches the soul. Harmony lifts the spirit.
HB-Great disc Eddie and thanks for your time!