Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I’ve spent many hours with the savant cellist/showman/Tornado Rider frontman Rushad Eggleston over the years and can therefore testify that his eccentricity is the real deal. Akin to personalities like Lil Wayne and Jack White, Eggleston doesn’t put on a gimmicky front for spectators – he always lives a life of wackiness like the one he embodies on stage, which usually involves a pair of multi-colored spandex and his signature elf hat.
I caught up with the goofily engaging musician as he and his band members – bassist Graham Terry and drummer Scott Manke – left Austin, Texas, where they performed the previous night, and headed to Los Angeles for another gig. The trio has been on the road since October and played more than 20 shows from Florida and Boston to Wyoming.
“It’s really been a fun time,” Eggleston says. “We kicked a lot of ass and made a lot of money.”
Though the tour has been a fun-filled adventure stocked with plenty of intrigue (at one point a disgruntled redneck shot out one of the tires of their van), the band looks forward to returning to Monterey on Friday for its annual two-performance Thanksgiving weekend at Planet Gemini. Eggleston promises handfuls of new songs and fresh costumes to accompany his punk rock athletic riffage on cello.
“I Am the Giant Tree Man,” inspired by Eggleston’s decade-long quest to find a pair of large trees on a mountain in Carmel Valley visible from Carmel High, is one of more than a dozen new tunes. Eggleston describes the song as a sing-a-long comparable to other audience favorites like “I’m a Falcon” and “Golden Apple Dance.” Tornado Rider will be hitting the studio in December and Eggleston assures “I Am the Giant Tree Man” will make the cut.
The cellist’s excitement about his new catalog of songs quickly (and predictably) veers into a discussion of recently acquired apparel.
“I’ve been sporting a pair of pink and black tights,” he says. “I also have lightning bolts for my elf hat now.”