By CRYSTAL SCHELLE
5:55 PM EST, December 5, 2012
CHARLES TOWN, W.Va.
The last time Eddie Money was at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town in West Virginia, he won $400.
“I like to play slots. I play ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ and occasionally Vanna White is really good to me,” Money said during a telephone from his Los Angeles home.
Friday night, he’ll return to the West Virginia casino for a free concert for his fans.
Money, whose real name is Edward Mahoney, started out as a New York City police officer in the late 1960s.
“It wasn’t a bad job, but being in uniform for 20 years of my life, I told myself I should have joined the Marine Corps and got it over with,” he said.
He was following his family’s tradition of wearing blue, including his father, grandfather and brother.
“I just didn’t want to work 8 to 4 and work around the clock,” he said.
It also didn’t help that he was starting to grow his hair long. His captain, he said, had a son who was in a rock band and didn’t mind the long locks.
“But my father was patrolman of the year and wanted to throw me out the window,” said the 63-year-old.
Instead of getting a haircut, Money decided to quit the department and followed his high school buddies to California to sing lead in a rock band.
“But none of those guys had their act together at all,” he said.
So Money moved to Berkeley, Calif., and went to University of California Berkeley.
After playing gigs, Money eventually landed himself a record deal in the late 1970s with Bill Graham of Columbia Records.
That first self-titled album in 1977 went double platinum and featured “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise.”
He said the first time he heard himself on the radio he was driving and decided to call home.
“I pulled over to the side of the road, because there weren’t cellphones in those days, and called my mother,” Money said. “And I said, ‘Mom, I can’t believe I’m on the radio.’ And she said to me, ‘I told you not to call me on mahjong night.’ That’s a true story.”
Money continued to crank out more hits including “Think I’m in Love” and “Shakin.’” In 1986 his duet with Ronnie Spector, “Take Me Home Tonight,” also garnered him a Grammy nomination.
His music, he said, has taken him all over the United States including playing at Madison Square Garden and around the world to Europe and Japan. He also shared the stage with other iconic acts like The Police and The Who.
Today, he’s still making the rounds, playing his music. He, in fact, is not running a travel agency like some have thought after seeing his stint on a Geico commercial with a tag of “happier than Eddie Money running a travel agency.”
Money said the commercial came about because his wife wanted to be on TV. Unfortunately, his wife ended up on the editing room floor.
His said doing the commercial was worth it because it helped him to raise money for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, an organization that is dedicated to prevent and to eliminate pediatric AIDS.
Continuing with his giving streak, Money’s newest single, “One More Solider Coming Home,” raises money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps U.S. military personnel and their families. The song tells the story of a soldier who doesn’t return from Afghanistan.
“I thought it was really fitting song to do,” he said.
Money said he’s looking forward to performing at Hollywood Casino.
“I like to play casinos because I can play the slots and have a lot of fun,” he said.
And where would Money go if he had two tickets to paradise?
“I’ve been around the world, and I’d just like to be at home on the couch watching football,” he said.
If you go ...
WHAT: Eddie Money in concert
WHEN: 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7
WHERE: H Lounge at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, 750 Hollywood Drive, Charles Town, W.Va.
COST: Free, no ticket required; $75 for VIP tickets
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