Eric Himan

New DVD, "Under the Ink", Out March 6

Eric Himan is a musician whose star is on the rise. The crooner of such popular songs as "Gonna Make It Work," "Little Boy Blue" and "Dust" is about to release a concert DVD "Under The Ink," which refers to amongst other things, Eric's many tattoos.

This writer had the pleasure of catching Mr. Himan in concert at Room 5 in Los Angeles, CA recently on what ended up being the evening of Whitney Houston's passing.

Are you ready, Eric? Let's go...!

MS: It was great to finally catch a show of yours at Room 5, I have heard about you for a while, it was a great gig!

EH: Thank you.

MS: How wild it happened to fall on the evening of Whitney Houston's death.

EH: Yeah, it was nice though to come on stage and do something in her honor considering it was something that was on everybody's mind.

MS: So, are you an actual fan of Whitney's?

EH: Oh, of course. The singers I grew up listening to, Etta James, Janis Joplin - they had big voices and Whitney's voice was bigger than anybody's. Even singing pop songs she seemed to rise above other people. She could take a cover song like "I Will Always Love You" and turn it into something that was completely her own.

MS: Speaking of Ms. Etta James, your cover of "At Last" was really great, you made it yours.

EH: I appreciate you saying that. In a world where everybody is covering everyone else, and it's now beyond ridiculous with "American Idol" and "The Voice" - even when money is tight and I know I would get more recognition from doing one of those shows the idea always seems cheap to me. There seems to be less songs being brought into the world as a result of them. It makes it kind of sad for the artist who writes their own stuff and is identified by that.

MS: Since you do write your own songs, let's talk about one I was taken with, "Little Boy Blue," tell me about that.

EH: "Little Boy Blue" came from an LGBT tour I was on, that I think I got way more out of than the kids did. (Laughs.) What I didn't expect on the tour was to meet so many kids that were transgender. There is a misconception that when you are gay, you immediately understand those who are transgender. People assume I know transgender issues, yet I am going through my own gay issues.

MS: Right.

EH: So, when I toured the LGBT centers it was really interesting to meet a lot of young transgender minors. They were just fantastic! They taught me a lot about it through their own experiences. One of them was this guy named Blue, that's what he went by. At first I took him for every spiky haired young lesbian, at the time that's what he reminded me of. Later on I was told that's a boy, not a girl, that's how he identifies. That really changed my perception. He wasn't the nicest to me in the beginning, because I was in his face, he pushed me away, but I am guessing in my non-threatening way I warmed him up to me.

We ended up being friends. When I was writing songs for my CD, "Resume," I thought: "That is an experience I want to talk about." You kind of get sick of writing about your own feelings and your own emotions. I felt like writing a song about someone else.

MS: Are you guys still friends?

EH: Years later I am still friends with him. He's a lot older and doing really well. He's way less guarded than he was once before.

MS: Out of all the songs I saw of yours on YouTube, this is the one that captured my imagination the most.

EH: Yeah, it's funny how people don't really get that it's about a transgender boy right off the bat.

MS: I'm not sure how much of that I picked up on or not. I knew it caught my attention and made me think.

EH: It's in the lyrics: "In your world I was lost in time, your body and your mind were living separate lives."

MS: Your explanation of this song is great! The lyrics are also not so specific that they could apply to other things in life, too. You have a DVD coming out.

EH: It's my very first DVD, "Under The Ink". In the age of YouTube, many people are like, "You don't even need a DVD." But I think there is still something to having a whole concert presentation; whereas YouTube is basically three minute clips, a whole concert on DVD is something complete.

MS: What was the concert for?

EH: It was a benefit I did that was recorded for The Arts of Humanities Council of Tulsa, that keeps music in the schools here, which we had a problem with at one point.

MS: That's awesome!

EH: A lot of the songs were from my CD, "Supposed Unknown." I also threw in a few extras including a cover of Patti Smith's "Because The Night".

MS: Love that song! It was written by her and Bruce Springsteen.

EH: It's great, I had to get permission from his publishing company to use it on the video.

MS: People who have dealt with Bruce tell me he is really great about not charging artists through the nose who use his material.

EH: Thank God. I have 1,000 copies of the DVD coming out and he made sure I only had to pay $150.00.

Eric Rules!

"Under the Ink" is on DVD March 6th.

Michael Shinafelt

Michael Shinafelt has covered pop & dance music since he first burst on to the writing scene, interviewing everyone from pop icon Olivia Newton-John to pop artist E.G. Daily. Not to mention the many dance divas (male and female) who he has crossed paths with. Other interviews of note are Pamela Anderson, Heidi Fleiss, as well as cover stories on Margaret Cho and Kathy Griffin. Peace.