“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.”