Eddie Money has brought us some great timeless songs, including “Baby Hold On,” “Two Tickets to Paradise,” “Think I’m in Love,” “Shakin’” and “Take Me Home Tonight.” And at 66 years young, he’s still out there touring.

If his upcoming concert at the Santa Barbara County Fair in Santa Maria this Wednesday, July 15, is even half as energetic as his mile-a-minute phone interview with Noozhawk, excerpted below, we’re in for a real treat. His show is at 8 p.m., and is free with paid admission to the fair — which, believe it or not, is only $1 because it’s opening day.

Yep, you can see and hear a lot of Money for not a lot of money!

Here’s what Money had to say about touring with three of his kids, plus a bit about the old times and what’s in the works. The full interview is available by clicking here.

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Jeff Moehlis: Hi, Eddie! This is Jeff calling from Santa Barbara. Thanks for taking the time to do this interview for the preview article.

Eddie Money: Just make sure you use a good picture, for God’s sake. That’s all I ask. Don’t use one of these pictures where I’m fat and I look like Stephen Stills [both laugh]. My wife’s got me on the treadmill. I feel pretty good, though. I quit smoking cigarettes about six months ago. I’m OK. I’d like to lose 10 pounds — who wouldn’t?

I’m working with the kids now, which is kind of crazy. My son [Julian] was taking drum lessons for about eight or nine years. He just graduated from high school. And Desmond’s got a record out. I never knew that he was as talented as he was. I was on the road all the time. He started working with my old bass player, and he came up with some really gorgeous songs. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree — not to blow my own horn, but the kid is a good writer.

Of course Jessica, my daughter, she just turned 27. She could’ve been famous five or six years ago. She loves Etta James — I introduced her to Etta James. She met Gregg Allman — she did “Midnight Rider” by Gregg Allman. She just did a show with Joan Jett about a week and a half ago. She’s been doing a lot of good songs with me. She does high harmony on a lot of the songs, and she covers the stage like a pro.

JM: One of my favorites of your songs is “Two Tickets to Paradise.” What’s the story behind that song?

EM: I used to go with a girl in college. She was in Alpha Phi, which is a sorority, at UC Berkeley. Her parents didn’t like the fact that she was dating a musician, whether I was on my way up or not, they didn’t know. I had long hair, which really wasn’t acceptable. She went home every weekend, and I just wanted to take her someplace, some sort of vacation. Eventually I think she married a lawyer. “Two Tickets to Paradise,” I just wanted to take her on a Greyhound bus ride to the redwood forest up there in Northern California.

Eddie Money

Eddie Money will be performing at the Santa Barbara County Fair on Wednesday night. (EddieMoney.com photo)

It’s a state of mind — it’s anywhere you want to go. It doesn’t have to be tickets to Hawaii. You give me two tickets to your brother-in-law’s house. It’s not the state, it’s the state of mind.

JM: I grew up on MTV, and I remember loving your videos — both the music and the videos.

EM: We were one of the first ones. That was MTV when they didn’t even show commercials on MTV. It was free! Everything was free, and there were no commercials. Nina Blackwood, J.J. Jackson, you had all these really great VJs. Martha Quinn. I did two videos — “Think I’m in Love” and “Shakin’.” The “Shakin’” video, I did with Apollonia. That was before Purple Rain. The first thing she ever did was my “Shakin’” video. “Think I’m in Love,” my first wife’s in it. Anyway, we did two videos for $88,000. That’s amazing. You couldn’t even do a chorus for that kind of money today. And it was, like, me and Huey Lewis. There wasn’t a lot of people on MTV in those days, you know?

Flock of Seagulls came out, Thomas Dolby. Those were the good old days.

JM: What are your plans, musical or otherwise, for the near future? Obviously you’re touring with the kids right now, but are you thinking about releasing new music at some point?

EM: I’ve got a record that I’m getting ready to put out with a song called “One More Soldier Coming Home,” and a lot of the proceeds go to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which is a nonprofit, nonpolitical organization. They have two facilities — one in San Antonio, with about 120 beds, and they just built another facility in Maryland. They’re for these veterans coming back with head trauma injuries, from Afghanistan, from Iraq. We’ve still got people dying. It’s a “police action,” but it doesn’t make any difference. And you hear about these veterans coming back from over there that are contemplating suicide. I do everything that I can for people that are serving our country. My brother was in Vietnam, my father served in World War II.

I went on the police department, but I couldn’t stay on the police department. I couldn’t see myself in a uniform working around the clock for 25 years like my old man, who was always in a ****ing horrible mood because I was waking him up playing rock ‘n’ roll. If I stayed on the police department I wouldn’t have become Eddie Money.

And I wanted to grow my hair long. I wanted my hair looking really good in the back. When I was in high school my old man wouldn’t let me have long hair. I looked like a surfer playing in a rock band, you know? [laughs]

— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.