House Of Pain Built to Last An informational article on Erik Schrody (a.k.a. Everlast) ? With his group, House of Pain Erik Schrody made a name for himself Everlast and a mess of his life. Now, after a near fatal heart attack and with a new hit album, he climbs back into the ring. Erik Schrody has a thin, Abe Lincoln-like beard, a piercing stare, and a b-boy like swagger. Around his neck hangs a pendent that spells out Everlast in gold diamonds – a tag the 29 year old has answered to since before his days as the front MC of House Of Pain – the same moniker that now adorns his powerful solo departure, Whitey Ford sings the Blues. His arms and body are covered with his own personal graffiti of various tattoos. He is a large man who is both sharp and personable but also aware of his intimidating reputation. This beat began a year ago, the day Schrody completed Whitey Ford, the collection of hard-edged hip-hop and brooding blues and folk tunes that he knew would redefine him.
It was that very evening when Schrody’s chest began to tighten. After more than five hours of Schrody laboring to breathe, his co-producer and friend John Gamble asked him whether he needed to go to the hospital. Unaware that his aorta had torn and that his heart was drowning in blood, Schrody said no; Gamble called for an ambulance anyway. Miraculously Schrody didn’t suffer his massive heart attack until after he’d been wheeled into the emergency room. Schrody has had a heart condition since he was born. When he awoke three days later he had an artificial valve clicking in his chest.
Schrody saw his mother and father, who divorced bitterly when he was young, at his bedside and that’s when he realized how bad his condition was. It makes sense that Schrody’s music is as complex and contradictory as he is – able to draw from diverse genres without sacrificing any of their authority in the process. How else to explain the old school of “Money (Dollar Bill),” just a track away from the pensive, dark folk of the hit “What’s It’s Like”? or “Ends,”a guitar-strummed blues-and-rap morality play? It is for that track that Schrody will head to Las Vegas to shoot Whitey Ford’s second video. Two years ago Schrody had converted to Islam, so certainly, Schrody’s heart attack wasn’t his only life altering experience of the last few years. There was his transformation from Irish-Catholic punk to devout Muslim as he says “It makes me able to look at myself and say, ‘OK, I’m making progress in life,'” he says.
“I’ve had my heydays of debauchery.” Then there was the breakup of his long-time relationship, which he chronicles in Whitey Ford in “The Letter” and “Seven Days”. Not to mention the dismantling of House of Pain – with their drunken Irish frat-boy reputation – and Schrody’s decision two years ago to stop drinking. He now has a desire to settle down with an educated woman. It’s as if the posture he has struck all these years is in a standoff with the perspective that a near-death experience has given him, each waiting for the other to blink. His parents moved to San Fernando Valley from Hempstead, Long Island, when Schrody was a child, and has remained there to this day. His sister and her three children live a block away from where Schrody and his mother live.
“People always say, ‘You live with your mom?’ ” says Schrody. “I say, ‘No my mom lives with me.’ “. It was here in the Valley that Schrody, after a nasty spilt with his former label over handling of his first solo album, started with his pals Daniel “Danny Boy” O’Conner and Leor “DJ Lethal” DiMant. When House of Pain sent out the demo for “Jump Around”,” Schrody says, the group had a record deal within weeks. What followed on the heels of “Jump Around” was a platinum album, expensive spending and a variety of brushes with the law mostly weapons possession.
At one point when DJ Lethal was doing production on the debut of Everlast’s tour mate, Sugar Ray, Schrody wasn’t almost able to help because of the friction between the two. But it was less Schrody’s indiscretions than an ever-widening rift between him and O’Conner that began to drag the band under. “There was drug use I that I didn’t approve of,” says Schrody – and ultimately, Hose of Pain fell apart at the release party for their third and last record, 1996’s Truth Crushed to Earth Shall Rise Again. “That was probably the meanest thing I ever did,” says Schrody, “because I did it to be mean. And I regret that.
We were just about to do ‘Jump Around’ and I turned around and said, ‘Yo, enjoy it, because this is the last time we’re doing this.’ And then we finished the show and I just walked out.” Now Schrody is beginning a new life that began with Whitey Ford and was saved on the operating-room table in Los Angeles. Schrody has reconciled with O’Conner and is close with Lethal, who now does time in Limp Bizkit. There are, in fact, no peaces that Schrody feels a need to broker in this life chapter, he has a new album, new sound, new life, but the same locale. He recalls a time when he snatched a little boy of a second-story railing after an another kid had tried to balance him there. “For all I know, that’s the only reason I’m alive,” says Schrody. “I think about that all the time.
For the rest of the day, that kid on the rail would bring tears to my eyes. Something in me says that if I wasn’t there that day, I would have seen on the news that some little boy died in the mall.” “I’m not saying I saved his life,” he continues. “I’m just talking about timing. The timing of John’s calling the ambulance and then them finding what’s wrong with me. I use the word subtle a lot lately.
Life is so subtle.” Music Essays.