On My Radar: Cultural Highlights from Mark Oliver Everett | Eels

SSinger-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mark Oliver Everett, 58, is the frontman of alternative rock band Eels and is also known by the stage name E. Since 1996, Eels has released 13 studio albums, including the famous beautiful monster, Electro Shock Blues and Flashing lights and other revelations. Eels won Best International Breakthrough Act at the 1998 Brit Awards, while a 2007 BBC documentary about Everett and his father, physicist Hugh Everett III, won an award from the Royal Television Society. He lives in Los Angeles. The new album of Anguilles, Extreme Witchcraft, will be released on January 28 and they will be touring the UK from March.

Photography: Feral House

1. Book

Glamor Ghoul: The Passions and Pain of the Real Vampire, Maila Nurmi by Sandra Nurmi

I really like biographies, because I’m interested in the possibilities of human life and what people have gone through. Came across this book about America’s first horror animator, Vampira – she was portrayed in the Tim Burton movie Ed Wood. It was written by his niece and it’s fascinating and full of jaw-dropping moments. For example, she ends up getting pregnant with Orson Welles’ child, but never tells him and gives the child up for adoption. The child had no idea his father was Welles until Vampira’s niece contacted him when he was in his 50s or 60s.

2. Documentary

Come Back (Disney+)

The Beatles in the studio.
The Beatles in the studio. Photography: TCD/Prod.DB/Alamy

I was very skeptical about it, because of all the hype surrounding it – I’m an extreme Beatles nerd. There’s nothing I know more than The Beatles and I just thought this was going to be a slide on history. I’m happy to say that Peter Jackson proved me completely wrong – it’s unbelievable. I don’t know how no one else thought of doing this for 50 years. It was really interesting to me how sweet and nice John Lennon was throughout the story. And, of course, when Ringo admits to farting, it’s a highlight.

3.Movie

Coco (Pixar, 2017)

A scene from Coco.
A scene from Coco. Photography: Pixar/Disney/Allstar

One of the great things about To recover documentary was, as the father of a four-year-old, I was thrilled that there was finally something on Disney+ for dad to watch. One of the other things I discovered there was the movie coconut, to which I was late in coming. I’ve seen it now probably 100 times with my son and I still can’t get enough of it. It’s particularly in my wheelhouse because it’s about life and death and manages to connect the two in a beautiful and truly moving way. I honestly think it’s one of the best movies ever made.

4. Youtube

Brittany Howard NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

I knew Brittany Howard’s music and loved her songs that I had heard. And then I came across his Tiny Desk Concert and it’s breathtaking. It’s as good as the music gets, in my book. You gotta watch this and listen to the first song, stay high – it’s an incredible and breathtaking performance. He has this indescribable magic: it’s gospel, super moving and what he says is a beautiful feeling, said in a way that no one has really said before.

5. Graphic Novel

The loneliness of the long-term cartoonist by Adrian Tomine

Panels from The Loneliness of Long Distance cartoonist Adrian Tomine.
Panels from The Loneliness of Long Distance cartoonist Adrian Tomine. Photography: Adrian Tomine / Drawn & Quarterly

Graphic novels were a huge influence on me in the early days of Eels. It’s a very nice autobiographical book and it’s both very funny and wacky because Tomine portrays a lot of embarrassing stories about himself. It’s very open and honest, and it also has some really emotional parts and will probably bring you to tears at some point. My favorite genre: funny and heartbreaking. He’s really good at being completely honest about being an artist, having some fame, and navigating people knowing who he is or not knowing who he is.

6. Box together

The Girl from Chickasaw County: The Complete Capitol Masters by Bobbie Gentry

Bobbie Gentry.
Bobbie Gentry. Photograph: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy

Bobbie Gentry is an incredible, somewhat underrated artist. This box set contains his seven albums – the latest from 1971 – plus tons of unreleased stuff. She is one of the few people to have said, “I’m going to leave” and to mean it. She really knew what she was doing in all areas: singing, composing, choreography. She often produced her music but was not recognized by it. I think the reason she quit and disappeared was because she was a woman who wasn’t taken seriously in the music industry. She probably got fed up and said, “No, I don’t need it.”

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