Twin Cities music legend Michael "Eyedea" Larson's gifts as a performer will be missed. Fortunately, several of his concerts were recorded, and some of the footage makes up the recently released Then and Now DVD.
Compiled by Eyedea's mother, Kathy Averill, and released on Eyedea's label, Crushkill Recordings, Then and Now boasts two discs. Then features four complete Eyedea performances, each from a different stage of his career, and Now contains performances from each Eyedea birthday memorial taking place in the years following his death.
Gimme Noise spoke to Averill about putting the DVDs together, and she revealed some previously never-before-heard Eyedea tidbits.
What was genesis of deciding to put together a DVD project?
Well, I have a lot of footage because I was out with Mike and Max [DJ Abilities] a lot in their younger days and in their later days. A lot of places, I'd have the club tape the show that I was at for me. I have all this stuff, VHS, tapes, hard drives full of stuff. [For Eyedea's birthday this year] I wasn't doing a big thing. The first year we had the memorial celebration and the next year we had the park dedication and last year we did the Big Shots.
So, I decided I wasn't going to put on an event, but I still wanted to do something because I decided when Mikey passed, for these first five years I was going to do something every year to keep Mikey's memory alive for my family. My parents are very old, so some of the things they wanted, I wanted to get done as soon as possible. That's kind of why this year I had two projects, I have another one coming out at Christmas time. I spent four months going through video and putting it together.
Most of it is shows that I was at and asked people to tape. It was more tape, not the way it works now. Nobody had cell cameras in the early 2000s. I have to put all this stuff somewhere, might as well share it with everybody.
Getting several largely unseen Eyedea shows at once on DVD is pretty incredible.
That's kind of my hope. I hope people enjoy it and get to see shows they never would have seen, like the show in Germany. And even if you didn't get to see him, you get to see something from him along with everybody who has seen him for the first time.
It's funny to me because I'm not a public person, but I've become a public person. I was always content just helping Mike accomplish whatever it is he wanted to do in whatever capacity that was. When MySpace first came out, I was the one taking care of all of that stuff. He shared so much of his publicness with everybody that I have to, so giving parts and pieces of things like shows to the rest of the public is my way of being in the public light.
Do you have any particular favorite moments on the disc?
I really like the L.A. show, but I think that has more to do with memories around the whole show. Mikey treated me that day to a spa, so I had a haircut and had a facial. We went out to dinner with his friend Janessa and he introduced me at the show. It's more that show because of all the things that went on that day. He was always very dynamic onstage and good at getting the audience to go along with him.
As far as the Now part, I'd say the First Ave part because of the freestyle at the very end. I put C-Rayz Walz doing "Black Rosaries" live for the first time on there too. I guess I can't pick.
It's been said that Eyedea's favorite song that he ever wrote was "Skinny." Do you have any favorite songs of his?
I have favorites on everything. "Sun Spots" is one of my favorites that Mikey wrote for a high school friend who was killed in the Iraq War. "Here For You" is a wonderful one that Mikey wrote for a friend who was contemplating suicide.
See, the other thing is is that most of the songs I know the backstory of, or where the idea came from. "Hay Fever" is one about how our dog died and we took her and put her to sleep, so that's really hard. The original version of "Weird Side" is my favorite and the reason is, and people haven't heard it but they will, the "Dee-dee-dah doo-doo-doo" was put in there so that me and my friend could dance to it. There are some words missing from the version that is on the Oliver Hart CD.
The words he took out were "that's the way my momma raised me." When he was recording it, he could say the words, but when he found out he was performing it on stage and couldn't say the words, he needed to take a breath in there. So, he was like "Mom, we got to take a drive" because all of our important conversations we had to do in the car because there was no phones, no distractions, nothing.
We got down to the corner and he said, "I got to take out 'because that's how my momma raised me.' I got to take a breath, I can't go that long on stage, I will pass out." I said "take a different word." "No, that's where the breath is going." The original version where he says, "that's how my momma raised me" is coming out. That's why the Weird Side shirt we put out had the original lyrics.
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