Eels have plenty to talk about these days with a rich and personal new album, "The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett." But being part of a little rock 'n' roll history hasn't hurt the cause, either.
Everett and company were joined onstage by former Journey frontman Steve Perry on May 25 in St. Paul, Minn., making his first public concert appearance in two decades. Perry sang a pair of Journey songs ("Open Arms" and "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' ") as well as one of Eels', and the surprise performance became an instant viral sensation.
Everett says Perry's friendship with he and the band dates back many years and is part of "the secret inner life of the Eels." Introduced through mutual friends, he's been part of the musical collective's Sunday night croquet matches and attends the group's tour rehearsals, though only in recent years did he take the band members' bait and sing some Journey songs with them. As Eels prepared for this tour, however, things were different.
"He came the second day and walked in carrying his own microphone," says Everett, 50. "I thought, 'Something's up here. Something's changing.' He said, 'Maybe I'll fly out somewhere and we'll do this.' We all said, 'Yeah, yeah, we'll all believe it when we see it.'
"We agreed we weren't gonna get our hopes up." w
Everett says he didn't even believe the guest appearance in St. Paul was going to happen "until (Perry) walked on stage and started singing...And it was such a beautiful moment to see my friend out there, in his element, doing what he's made to be doing. He had a great time."
Everett isn't hedging bets on it happening again, though. "I don't try to press Steve on anything," he says. "Our relationship is Steve does what Steve does. I would love to do more and I hope he will, but that's all up to him. this may be enough for him,and if this is the only time it ever happens, I'm just glad it happened.
"And in the meantime, I'm going to not stop believing."
Eels and Chelsea Wolfe perform Tuesday, June 3, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $29.50-$35. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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