A brief chat with the Eric Burdon of the Animals

March 12, 2014

Eric Burdon

So here’s the deal. We were offered an interview with Eric Burdon of the Animals fame (“House of the Rising Sun” and all that), and of course we leapt at the chance. However, we were then told that Mr. Burdon doesn’t do interviews with print publications face-to-face or on the phone, only via email. We hate this, because it makes follow-up questions impossible, but that didn’t stop us having a go. We very nearly decided not to do it at all but, you know, it is Eric Burdon after all. So here you have it: every word of these questions was written before we received any answers, our attempt at the tricky “email follow-up question.”

Hi Eric. We’re looking forward to having you here in Michigan. Is this a place that you’ve enjoyed performing at in the past? Do you have any particular memories of playing Detroit and/or Ann Arbor?
Thank you, Brett. I am looking forward to returning to Michigan. I always like playing the Detroit area. There is definitely something that connects my youth in Newcastle with Detroit. I grew up mystified by big American cars. And the music that drives the motor!!!! All Exported from Detroit. It’s a very musical city where so much of the greatest talent has emerged from, from Smokey Robinson to Iggy Pop. Let’s not forget Elmore Leonard.

Hahaha. That’s funny. Now, this show is being billed as “Eric Burdon & the Animals.” Who’s in the band nowadays?
Red Young on Hammond B3; Billy Watts and Eric McFadden on guitar; Tony Braunagel on drums; Teresa James on keyboards and vocals; Wally Ingram on percussion; Terry Wilson on bass. I’ve worked with Red, Tony and Terry since the ’80s. Tony has also produced my last few albums, My Secret Life, Soul of a Man and the latest, ‘Til Your River Runs Dry. It’s a great band and one of the best I’ve ever worked with. And all of them are Animals!

Oh come on – you don’t mean that. And in any case, you put out the Til Your River Runs Dry album last year. What has been the reaction from the fans to the new material?
It’s been uniformly excellent around the world. We had a great reaction form both critics and fans. We’ve been playing sold-out venues and the people have been very enthusiastic.

Well, what do they know? What can we expect from this set at the Michigan Theatre?
A mix of Animals along with material from my latest album.

We have to wrap this thing up – my editor’s tapping my shoulder. What’s next for you, after this tour?
Another one, and then another one, and then another one. I’m going to Europe in the space of three months and not really looking forward to the traveling, but I always look forward to performing there. I have a new book that I’m working on – or at least trying to do in the short periods of downtime I get.

Eric Burdon & the Animals play at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 13 at the Michigan Theater; 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-668-8463; $39.50-$86.75.

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