“The sound is totally different than anything I’ve ever done before,” says
Everlast aka Erik Schrody, the Irish-American rapper and singer/songwriter
about his new album, Love, War and the Ghost of Whitey Ford and that’s
saying something for the Grammy-winning artist who has broken ground and
sold millions of albums for mixing hip-hop and acoustic-based folk-rock.
“I didn’t approach it differently, I just kind of used a greater variety of
instruments, and denser arrangements,” he explains. “Of course, hip-hop
remains an important influence on my music, but not everything I do fits
under that category.”
The new album, his first since 2004’s Island/Def Jam release White Trash
Beautiful, was co-produced by Everlast with his longtime partner Keefus
Ciancia (“He’s a real brainiac when it comes to vintage grooves”). Love, War
and the Ghost of Whitey Ford is the logical sequel to his 1998 breakthrough,
the multi-platinum Whitey Ford Sings the Blues, an eclectic mix of rock,
blues, country, pop and hip-hop, which cracked the Billboard Top 20 and sold
more than 3 million copies on the strength of its crossover hit, “What It’s
The following year, Everlast earned a Best Rock Performance by a Duo or
Group With Vocal Grammy for his collaboration with Carlos Santana, “Put Your
Lights On.” Among the many artists with whom he’s collaborated are Madonna,
Nice & Smooth, Dilated Peoples, Run DMC, Kurupt, Limp Bizkit, X-Ecutioners,
Cypress Hill, Prince Paul, Cee-Lo, Daz Dillinger, KRS-One, Mack 10, KoRn,
Prodigy, Mobb Deep and Swollen Members.
Love, War and the Ghost of Whitey Ford will come out via management company
Three Ring Projects’ innovative deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing,
allowing Everlast unprecedented artistic freedom in the creating and
distribution of his music.
“I get to do what I want, how I want,” he says. “Now I have the chance to
promote the albums the way I see fit. I’m much more adaptable as an
individual than a label would be. I don’t want to follow the same old
cookie-cutter ways of getting people’s attention.”
The Valley Stream, LI-born rapper emerged as a member of Ice-T’s Rhyme
Syndicate for his 1990 solo album, Forever Everlasting, then formed the
pioneering rap group House of Pain with friends DJ Lethal and Danny Boy.
Signed to legendary dance and hip-hop label Tommy Boy Records, the group
went multi-platinum with their self-titled 1992 debut which produced the rap
anthem, “Jump Around.”
Upon the demise of House of Pain, Everlast pursued a solo career, creating
the alter ego Whitey Ford for the first album on his own.
“That’s my hip-hop alias,” he explains. “There’s no connection to [pitcher]
Whitey Ford other than the fact he’s Irish and I’m a Yankee fan. It’s a
description, a color of a crayon more than anything, a persona I use to
speak through. It enables me to say things about myself I might not
ordinarily. Still, after the success of that album, there were a lot of
people who actually thought I was Whitey Ford.”
Everlast revisits the Ford character for the first time since his critically
acclaimed 2000 platinum solo album Eat at Whitey’s.
“This record is about love and war, which is why I called it that,” he says.
“I’ve really changed the sound on what I do. It’s not so acoustic-based
anymore. There are different textures and it rocks a lot harder.
“People are hungry for good music and I believe this is a really good album.
I’ve been making albums long enough to know nothing is guaranteed, but I’ve
got a feeling in my bones that I don’t get very often and I like it. I know
I made a better album than I imagined I could have made…and I’m a hard
person to please.”
More recently, Everlast was recruited by Nancy Miller, creator and executive
producer for the TNT series Saving Grace, starring Holly Hunter, to create
the theme song for the show.
“The second I heard his voice, I went crazy over it,” she says. “He has such
a sexy, interesting vocal. I feel in love with his music. His lyrics speak
so much to the struggle of Grace-her pain, her heroic nature-that I
immediately connected to them.”
Everlast is similarly enthusiastic about expanding his creative palette, and
now will begin to score the show.
“I’d love to be Danny Elfman and sit in the studio all day,” he says.
“There’s a lot less pressure than having to write lyrics and songs. And I’m
such a movie fan, to see what the music really does, before and after, is
Now fully recovered from the torn heart valve, which necessitated a
replacement in 1998, Everlast is raring to hit the road and play for old
fans and make new ones while promoting the new album. He has already
undertaken some “mash-up” performances with his producer Ciancia and
longtime collaborator, Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs, which have audiences
enthusiastic for more.
“I just want to go out and play to as many people as I can,” he says.
“That’s what this album’s for. I don’t care if it sells a million records,
but if I can get a million people to come out and see me live, that’s even