The one and only Even Stevens shared an interview with the Tennessean (part of the USA Today network) this week sharing his thoughts on his life, his music, and his latest memoir “Someday I’m Gonna Rent This Town.” You can read the full article below:
Fresh out of the Coast Guard in 1970, Ohio boy Even Stevens headed for Nashville and sold a song to Webb Pierce his first night in town. It would be three years before he had a tune recorded.
He soon began writing with then unknown singer Eddie Rabbitt, and in 1977, their tunes turned to gold with Rabbitt hits such as “Drivin’ My Life Away,” “I Love a Rainy Night” and “Suspicions.”
Stevens also wrote “When You’re in Love With a Beautiful Woman” for Dr. Hook and co-wrote “Crazy in Love” for Conway Twitty and “Love Will Turn You Around” for Kenny Rogers, as well as dozens of hits for other artists.
Recently inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, he shares the stories behind other tunesmiths’ hits on his “The Originals” Sunday night radio show.
About his new memoir, “Someday I’m Gonna Rent This Town,” Stevens says, “I wanted to acknowledge all of the great people who helped me with my journey through the music business quagmire. Many of them added so much to the experience, and a few taught me the hard lessons to be learned.”
What was the scene like for aspiring young songwriters when you came to Nashville in 1970?
It was a songwriter’s heaven on earth! The songwriting community was so concentrated on Music Row, everyone got together to share their songs and ideas, and every day, there was a “guitar pull” (the original in-the-round) at somebody’s house or at the Country Corner bar or Linebaugh’s Restaurant downtown.
Many a time, I would write a song and call up a producer at RCA or another label, excited about the tune and they’d say, “Come on over and play it for me, I’ve got an artist sittin’ here right now that’s cutting a session in the morning.” Quite often, I’d be in the studio the next day watching that artist record my song. Wonderful times!
Describe a low moment when you were ready to throw in the towel and give up on your songwriting dreams?
Well, to tell the truth, there were some nights, sleeping in the back of my International Scout, that I lost faith in ever getting somewhere with my songs, broke as hell and wondering if I had made a big mistake with the gamble I was making with my young years. But, as Nashville has a way of doing, a glimmer of hope by a song being held would spring up and I was back on track, dreamin’ my life away again for another few months.
How do you explain the super success you and Eddie Rabbitt had as co-writers of so many hit tunes?
The word “sympatico” comes to mind. He was a likable fellow and funny as hell, in a sarcastic sort of way.
When you find the perfect co-writer, you come up with something that probably neither one of you would have written on your own, songs that have a unique magic, the best of both worlds. Writing with Eddie was just plain fun, and, on top of that, he was a super singer and artist.
At what moment did you realize you had made it as a Nashville tunesmith?
When I play a new song for an A&R person or producer and they pass on it, I still wonder if I’ve made it.
What would be your best piece of advice for a budding country songwriter?
Get the heck out of town. We don’t need any more songwriters here. Whoops, maybe that was a little too revealing. Seriously, I guess I would suggest that out of quantity comes quality. Just write, write, write. You learn what not to do.
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the business of songwriting on Music Row?
High-rises and cranes
What is your Hippie Radio show, “The Originals,” about?
I play the original demos of big hit songs, country, pop and otherwise. Occasionally, I do short interviews about the song with the top songwriters of the world. Currently playing each Sunday night at 8 p.m. on Hippie Radio 94.5 FM. Online, go to Hippie Radio Nashville and click on the Listen to it Live button anywhere on the planet.
If you go
What: Even Stevens will discuss and sign his new memoir, “Someday I’m Gonna Rent This Town.”
When: 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30
Where: Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, 222 Fifth Ave. S., in the museum store