PORTLAND, Maine — With so many revisions and rebirths in a music career spanning four decades and about two years into its fifth, Eddie Money could rightfully call himself Eddie 5.0 or higher.
“I’ve had my day in the sun, making $1,000 a minute, and I’ve sold 27 million records, so that’s a big thing for me,” said Money in a phone interview last week. “These days, record sales for me are not as much as they used to be, but I am proud of the fact that my music is still popular with a new generation of fans, and I still like to sing.”
All generations of Maine fans will get a chance to see “The Money Man” in person on his 64th birthday Thursday at Asylum night club in Portland on Center Street. The 9 p.m. concert will be mostly acoustic. Tickets are $30 and available for purchase at portlandasylum.com/concerts/.
“We’ve got a lot of friends up there in Maine,” said the Brooklyn-born Money, whose birth name is Edward Mahoney. “Maine has always been a part of my life because when I was a kid I lived in Brooklyn with one car and five kids, and we used to go up to Bangor and Bar Harbor.”
Money said lobster and women were the two biggest draws for him when it came to Maine.
“There was this great lobster casserole, the best I’ve ever had, and I think it was in Bangor,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to get my ass up there. I’m married now, but I had a couple of cute girlfriends up there for awhile.”
The latest generation of fans to join those familiar with “The Money Man” joined thanks to a national ad by Geico Insurance in which Money stars. He plays himself as a travel agent singing about getting a family interested in a vacation package “two tickets to paradise” as two announcers talk about how Geico customers are as happy as Money being a travel agent.
“It wasn’t what they originally had for an idea though,” he said.
Money said the initial commercial pitch was for an old Broadway actress pushing the button on a CD player and Money was going to sing “Take Me Home Tonight” — his highest-charting Billboard single, at No. 4 in 1985, and one of five that peaked in the top 16 and one of 10 that peaked at No. 22 or higher.
“Laurie [Money’s wife] was approached first about the ad through my management company,” said Money, who added that Laurie appeared in the ad, but her part ended up on the cutting room floor.
The commercial went through a lot of edits before the finished copy, but has become one of the most popular among the well-liked Geico ads.
“It got commercial of the month and they were using it during the Super Bowl,” Money said. “That commercial took off like nothing. Everywhere I go I’m doing extra autographs. Being in the limelight is something.”
With 11 studio albums to his credit, Money is working on another, as well as a new venture.
“I’m very excited about a show I wrote called ‘Two Tickets to Paradise,’ which I’m trying to get on Broadway,” he said.
He’s also working on a new benefit studio album.
“I’ve got eight or nine songs written, and I’m doing ‘One More Soldier’s Coming Home’ to benefit a couple charitable organizations: Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.”
Not bad for a former New York Police Department cop who quit the force after two years and drove to the West Coast to become a rock star.
“I wasn’t a good cop. I told my pop I should have joined the Marines,” Money said. “Our band, Grapes of Wrath, moved to California and I didn’t want to stay in the department. I wanted to drink, smoke pot and date women who don’t wear bras.”
These days, Money has quit most of those vices.
“I’m trying to quit smoking, but the Nicorette gum is giving me the hiccups,” said the father of five children, ranging in age from 17 to 27. “I might have to go to smokers anonymous.”
Money says he has been officially sober for three years and used a 12-step program to kick drug addiction in 2001, but this is his third or fourth time quitting cigarettes.
“It’s biting me in the ass. The first thing I do is reach for a cig in the morning and my wife doesn’t let me smoke in the house,” he said with a chuckle.