Erik Francis Schrody, known by his stage name Everlast, is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter.
“I don’t do it for the wealth, I don’t do it for the fame
I do it for the health and I do it for the spirit
Don’t speak the lyric if you can’t hear it
If it ain’t from the heart then it can’t be art” “Whitey”
You can call him Everlast, Whitey Ford or even Erik Francis Schrody, but by any name, this singer-songwriter-rap legend’s remarkable music career has seen him reinvent himself several times over. From his first solo album, Forever Everlasting, under the auspices of Ice-T’s Rhyme Syndicate when he was barely out of his teens, to the “Jump Around” success with House of Pain, the multi-platinum Whitey Ford Sings the Blues (and its genre-bending hit single, “What It’s Like) and his Grammy-winning contribution to Carlos Santana’s Supernatural album (“Put Your Lights On”), Everlast has defied the naysayers. Along the way, he has forged a groundbreaking merger of hip-hop, rock, folk, funk and R&B, influencing everyone from Kid Rock and Colt Ford to acolytes like Yelawolf, JellyRoll and Lil Wyte, even if he’s too modest to say it himself. Everlast’s newest album, Whitey Ford’s House of Pain, once again on his own indie Martyr-Inc label, is his seventh solo studio effort overall, and first since 2011’s Songs of the Ungrateful Living (The Life Acoustic, re-recorded solo guitar versions of previously released songs, came out in 2013). The 12-track release offers an eclectic stylistic sampling from throughout Everlast’s nearly-three-decade-long journey. The doomy, apocalyptic rap of the first single, “The Culling,” which Everlast describes as one of his “chain-of-thought songs like ‘Black Jesus’,” offers a chilling dystopian vision that blasts “lying politicians,” while warning about threats to our freedom: “Living on your knees/[is] much worse than dying.” There’s the self-analytical “The Climb,” a song which in part references his own defenses as well as his eight-year-old’s ongoing battle with cystic fibrosis, one of the chief reasons behind the long gap between records (“To pay for my daughter’s medication/I’mma sell you a piece of my salvation”). Watching her suffer fuels his anger and challenging of God’s existence in “One of Us,” while the dirty delta blues of “Show Your Roll” suggests a dark glimpse of a world with the chilling Boyz N’ The Hood refrain, “You wanna see a dead body?” and a growling vocal hook provided by Aloe Blacc, taking us back to his underground hip-hop roots. The album’s centerpiece, “Summer Rain,” is a sprawling, cinematic, Beatles-meets-Tom Waits-meets Neil Young glimpse into the horrors of drug addiction, with “Dream State,” featuring Alchemist, a sly stab at the back-stabbing treachery and Faustian pacts of the music business. There’s even a pair of tributes to the late Tom Petty, both lyrical (in “It Ain’t Easy,” Everlast sings, “Sometimes waiting is the hardest part”) and musical (check the bridge in “Break It Down”), as well as a “Jump Around”-style party song in the rousing “Smokin’ & Drinkin’. “I just used everything in the tool box,” Everlast says humbly about Whitey Ford’s House of Pain, adding that his family’s ordeal managing his daughter’s illness has given him “a whole different license to learn how to live.”