Artist Biography: Walter Egan
"I discovered Rock & Roll," says Walter Egan modestly, "it was when I was eight years old, you know, when Elvis was on the Ed Sullivan Show. Boy, it really snet chills down my spine!" Walter's statement belies the fact that his life and that of Rock & Roll have been running concurrently all these years. In fact, he sees a connection between those early days and today. "When I got my first transistor radio I used to lay awake under the blankets in New York listening to a show called "All Night Satellite," which I imagined hovering over Manhattan pumping out the sounds. Now I stay up all night watching MTV or something else pumped in by satellite. Pretty ironic, eh?"
Egan's music contains equal parts of melody and beat, something he calls "lyrical raunch," and his style incorporates a potent mix of familiarity and innovation. As the staying power of his first top 10 single, "Magnet and Steel" has shown, his songs are durable, clever and satisfying. The framework for Walter's work is the rock and pop song form, and on his Backstreet LP, Wild Exhibitions, he uses that form to display eleven original compositions, ten of which were written by him.
"Fool Moon Fire," his first single off of Wild Exhibitions, draws the listener in with an infectous beat to a song whose lyrics deal with something called "lycanthropy." Walter says "Let's just says it's about emotional were-wolfism." This cut as well as "Maybe Maybe" features solo work from Walter's friend, David Lindley, the Samurai of slide guitar. Lindsey Buckingham sings and plays guitar on "Star of My Heart" and "Animal Lover." The participation of Christine McVie singing vocals on "Such a Shame" and Nicky Hopkins playing the piano on "Stay All Night" and "Girl Next Door," combined with the aforementioned players has enabled Egan to sythesize his best influences as well as add new elements to his album.
Egan's career started in 1973 when Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris recorded his composition, "Hearts On Fire" for their Grevious Angel LP. This heady success prompted him to move to California from the East coast in 1974, but it wasn't until 1976 that he signed his first recording contract with Columbia Records, with Fundamental Roll being his first release in 1977. This work led to "Newcomer of the Year" nominations and his second LP, Not Shy, came in 1978 to establish him on the scene. "Magnet and Steel" sold over a million copies and demonstrated that new and old styles could work together. Another Egan composition, "Hot Summer Nights" from the Not Shy LP was a worldwide top ten smash for the group Night in 1979. It was in that year that he released Hi Fi, his third album and in the following year came the LP The Last Stroll. Both these LPs received widespread critical praise.
For the past two years Walter has been refining his mystique and a few new songs which brings us back to Wild Exhibitions, his latest release. Even though his "Magnet and Steel" has achieved something of a contemporary standard status, Egan has been trying for years to capture on a record the excitement which he has wildly exhibited live to many thousands on his tours. In Wild Exhibitions he feels that he has finally put all the elements together on matching 17 minute, 28 second sides.
Q: So, then why Wild Exhibitions, Walter?
A: "Well, in keeping with the ironic sense of humor that has always been in my work, it seems that off stage people seem as being too normal to do what I do. So when I get up on stage or do a record, I'm really getting a chance to let this wild, werewolf spirit that lives inside of me to get out and run around for everyone to see. So you see the Wild Exhibition is really me. Besides, it matches my initials."