In Residence: Eels perform a Brian Wilson classic and songs from their new recording ‘Earth To Dora’

By Ariana Morgenstern

Mark Oliver Everett. Photo by Gus Black.

One of the million reasons that Mark Oliver Everett — aka eels, aka e — has been on Morning Becomes Eclectic so many times is because you can count on him for two things. He always brings his A-game, armed with brand new songs and he offers wit and humor that so dryly surfaces when we talk with him. Underneath his smart, funny curmudgeonly exterior is a big mushy heart. And just to prove it, we came up with some kooky questions for him to answer for this latest session of In Residence.  

In this session, he’s joined by bandmates The Chet and Koool G Murder, plus e shares the reason why he loves the song “Love & Mercy” so much. Let’s go! 

Mark Oliver Everett. Photo by Gus Black. 

What's the last album you listened to?  

Mark Oliver Everett: “The new Bob Dylan album. He’s almost 80 and still making amazing music. Just the opening song, ‘I Contain Multitudes’ alone is a masterpiece. It gives me hope. Like…if he’s this good at nearly 80, then I’m a young man with a bright future ahead of me! Also, I heard Anne Litt play Bettye LaVette’s cover of The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’ and it’s just amazing. And she’s only a young 74 year old.” 

How many times do you have to listen to a song before you know the lyrics?  

Everett: “Apparently a lot. The other day I heard ‘Back in the USSR’ on the radio and I suddenly realized he was saying ‘the paper bag was on my knee.’ All these years I was under the assumption it was ‘the paperback was on my knee.’ Of course, it makes more sense that the sick bag was at the ready during a dreadful flight. I must have been mashing it up with ‘Paperback Writer’ in my head all those years.” 

On a bad day, where would you turn for a dose of humor?  

Everett: There are a few stone, cold comedic geniuses of our times I can always count on: Sasha Baron Cohen, Nathan Fielder, Dave Chappelle.

What's the best compliment you ever received? 

Everett: “I still pinch myself that Pete Townshend said he got more out of my book than books about Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, or David Bowie. As a kid from Virginia who grew up obsessing over Pete’s music… I mean, come on. It’s surreal.” 

Cake or pie?

Everett: This is the hardest question I’ve ever tried to answer. I want to say pie, but there are some amazing cakes out there. Do I have to choose? Fine, then. Pie. But don’t show me that chocolate cake.

Check out more In Residence sessions:
Jungle Fire
Fabiano Do Nascimento
Nana Adjoa
Raphael Saadiq
Perfume Genius 
Norah Jones
Jensen McRae
Peter CottonTale
Rufus Wainwright
Rocky Dawuni
Lianne La Havas
Blake Mills
Laura Marling
Aloe Blacc
Devon Gilfillian
Jonathan Wilson
Juana Molina





Ariana Morgenstern