Sweet Sweet Music talked with Eytan Mirsky about funny songs on his new album, Funny Money. Eytan also shares his thoughts about the current state of the music industry and the thin line between ‘humor’ and ‘pathos’. If you don’t know Eytan’s music but you like, for example, Peter Wolf’s solo albums, you should start listening to Funny Money.
What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?
The most fun thing about making “Funny Money” was probably bringing in some of the “extra” musicians we needed to expand the arrangements beyond the usual guitar, bass drums. For example, we had Arno Hecht come in and play sax on “It’s a Jungle Out There.” Arno is legendary for his work with the Uptown Horns, and he’s played with Peter Wolf and Keith Richards, among others. We also had Robbie Kondor, who’s played keyboards with just about everyone, come in and play accordion on “My Dog Likes Your Dog.”
If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?
It’s hard to say that one song would be enough, but maybe “The Weed in Your Garden” from my album “The Year of the Mouse.” It walks the line between humor and pathos pretty well.
The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?
At my highest point, the music industry brought me the opportunity to do theme songs for a number of successful films. Or maybe that wasn’t the music industry – it was the film industry! Really, the music industry hasn’t brought me anything, when I think about it. I’m in the same situation everyone else is in: the internet makes it easy to reach people, but fewer people buy music.
It must be very hard to write a funny song that stays funny for a long while. At least … That’s what I have heard. You have a couple that are very funny! What’s the trick? Shel Silverstein comes to my mind, is he an inspiration?
I do like some of Shel Silverstein’s songs, particularly some of the songs he wrote for Dr. Hook, but I wouldn’t say he was an inspiration. The funny songs I’ve written are just a reflection of my personality. I don’t think you can sit down and write funny songs if you aren’t naturally a funny person. But beyond that, I think it’s important to write good songs that happen to be funny as opposed to songs that are just jokes. If a song is good all around and it’s based on something everyone can relate to, the humor won’t grow old.
She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?
Oh God, if only I knew what the secret to this was! I’ll just go with my first instincts here:
“Maybe Tomorrow” by Mink Deville
“All the Way” by Frank Sinatra
“Play Me” by Neil Diamond
“The Vulture of Love” by Eytan Mirsky
“Kiss Me Baby” by the Beach Boys
What’s up for the next couple of months?
I’m doing a show in Madrid on Friday June 24 at a club called Wharf 73. I’m also finishing up a new song called “Me in My Natural State.” It’s a long story, but the title was suggested by someone unknown to me. When I unveil the song I’ll find out who gave me the title.
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