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Anywhere He Lays His Hat Is His Home: Chillin With EVERLAST  by Debbie Seagle

Trying to figure out a label or a genre to put on Everlast is a task I have not succeeded in, so I’m going to need a little help from you all in the cyber music world.  I was first asked to check in with the irrepressible “Whitey Ford” after he won the “Eclectic Album of the Year” in the Best of Y2K wind up here at Rocknworld.  Okay, I thought, when I received his latest CD “Eat At Whitey’s,” will I like this?  For better of worse, I have tried the latest crop of white boy rappers and can usually get into the beat, but as soon as they get to the “bitch-this and ho-that” part of the song, I get my female ire up, decide I’d rather break my foot off in their ass, and turn the stuff off.  So the first question I asked myself is, are all rappers created equal?  After doing my homework on Erik Schrody (a.k.a. Everlast), I found out that the answer was a definite NO.

To understand the Everlast of today, it is necessary to know the rounds the man has fought to earn him the title of Grammy winner, rapper, musician, writer and survivor.  His story reads like a Hollywood novel that is filled with life and death drama, determination, faith and triumph.  He is respected by the many factions of the music world that consider him their peer; rappers, blues men, hip-hoppers and rockers.  To call him any one of these things without the others would be to sell him short. 

Schrody was born on Long Island, NY but has lived most of his life in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California.  There he began showing his artistic side as a graffiti artist and learned elementary street rap from friends.  In the late 80s, with an uncanny knack for rhyming, he laid down a few tracks that came to the attention of rap king pin Ice-T.  He liked what he heard and Everlast became one of the few white members of the Rhyme Syndicate posse.  Round one found him releasing his first solo project; an album called “Forever Everlasting,” in 1990.  It was filled with characteristic expletives, violence and gratuitous descriptions of the female anatomy.  This early incarnation of the Everlast we know today prompted him to remark, “I thank God every day that record flopped.  I could have been Vanilla Ice, dude.  Then it really would’ve been over.”  But, as I said, this was only the beginning.  Many gut wrenching changes were to take place in Schrody’s life that shaped the “Eclectic” artist he is today.

Round two finds our man in the black satin trunks leaving his label and joining with friends Danny Boy (Danny O’Connor) and DJ Lethal (Leor Dimant) to found the Irish Hip Hop group House of Pain.  In 1992 their self titled debut went platinum, due in part to the huge success of their #3 single, “Jump Around.”  A second album, “Same As It Ever Was,” was released in 1994 and went gold.  On the release date of the group’s third album, “Truth Crushed To Earth Shall Rise AgainEverlast stunned the rap/hip-hop world by quitting the group and bowing out of the lime light for several years.  He didn’t know what he was going to do with his life, but knew he had to move on.

The next round was the worst for Everlast.  Dwindling funds and broken romances had him against the mat, but in these blue times he found his inspiration again and his confidence to write.  Born a good Irish Catholic boy, he converted to Islam in 1997 and donning the character of “Whitey Ford,” he chronicled his struggles in such songs as “The Letter” and “Seven Years.”  Now came the true test of Everlast’s metal.  On the last day of recording “Whitey Ford Sings The Blues” he collapsed to the floor of the recording studio and was rush to the hospital, hanging on to life by a thread.  This near fatal experience was due to a torn aorta, the result of a heart defect he never knew he had. 

Not down for the count, Schrody earned his “Everlast” moniker by springing back immediately to promote the album.  “As soon as I was done making the record, I was out there supporting it,” Erik recalls.  “That was like my rehab.  It kept my mind off all the drama and just allowed my body to start getting better.”  His body wasn’t the only thing getting better.  His efforts on “Whitey Ford Sings The Blues” were rewarded with a Grammy nomination for the single “What Its Like” and his collaboration with rock legend Carlos Santana on “Put Your Lights On,” a song which he wrote and performed, garnered him the gold statuette and the respect he had earned. 
 

Continue


Photos by Debbie Seagle. Copyright 2000 Groove Quest Productions. May not be used without permission all rights reserved. 

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