Anatomy of a Song: Mark Oliver Everett, aka E of EELS, on “Last Stop: This Town”

EELS-Royal Albert Hall Concert Film and Live Album Out now via E Works/[PIAS]

Jul 16, 2015 By Mark Oliver Everett Web Exclusive
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A song is a chance overlapping of countless variables in an artist's life. Anatomy of a Song is a place where those variables can be dissected and examined. In this edition, Mark Oliver Everett, aka E of EELS, discusses the track "Last Stop: This Town." The song first appeared on EELS' 1998 released second album Electro-Shock Blues, but it's also featured on the band's new live album and film, EELSRoyal Albert Hall, which is out now via E Works and [PIAS]. Read on as Everett writes about how "Last Stop: This Town" was inspired by the passing of his sister.

"Last Stop: This Town" was originally on the EELS' Electro-Shock Blues album. We resurrected it on our 2014 tour and now it's part of our new Royal Albert Hall film and album. It's a tricky thing revisiting songs from that Electro-Shock Blues. I'm not always in the mood to go back to that part of my life, but playing this song last year felt good. It didn't feel mournful. It was healing.

It was written just after I'd returned from my sister's funeral in Hawaii. I lived in this weird little house in Echo Park, and my landlady, a very old woman named Francis, lived right next door. I had told her I was leaving town for a few days, but I didn't say anything about my sister dying or why I was going on the trip.

The day I returned, Francis saw me getting out of the taxi in front of my house and she came over to my door immediately after I'd walked in. "Um, E... I don't know if you know this about me, but I see apparitions." I didn't know this.

"And I thought you should know that while you were gone I saw a young woman walk into your house."

Initially this frightened me. Francis had no idea my sister had just committed suicide and she's telling me she saw the ghost of a young woman walk into my house. In an effort to get to sleep and feel less spooked that night I imagined that it was my sister coming by for a friendly goodbye, that it wasn't something to think of as scary. That my sister and I had a real connection and it didn't have to end. That I could still feel that connection by singing about her and from her point of view. And that I could give her an artistic voice and let people know what it was like for her. It worked. I wasn't spooked any more. I was inspired. Just thinking about it now gives me goosebumps.

We made a song about my sister stopping by to say goodbye, and I still like the song. The version we do on the Royal Albert Hall album is very different to the original version, but the bones of the song are still there. My sister's bones.

[A more detailed account of this and other tales can be found in Everett's book Things the Grandchildren Should Know.]

www.eelstheband.com



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Fussy Bitch
July 16th 2015
1:31pm

For a woman, the correct spelling is “Frances”. Francis is for a man. Now you know!

Andy
July 17th 2015
2:03am

Brilliant song. Electro-Shock Blues and Daisies of the Galaxy are, IMO, 2 of Eels best albums, and both feature on my all time favorite album list. Both deal with some pretty heavy subjects, but instead of being morbid, mawkish and depressing, I find them the opposite. They are uplifting and hopeful. Worth listening to..!!!!!!!

Kevin R
July 25th 2015
4:40pm

I’ve worked in a cemetery as a kid, was a crime scene investigator,and child abuse investigator and let me tell you, E and the Eels music has been therapeutic.  Death is an interesting subject; putting personal death experiences to music helps rub the sting and gives those inclined to look on the bright side of life. And death.

Dirty Cal
January 14th 2016
11:10am

Anatomy of a Song is a great initiative. it’s cool to know the inspiration for a song and the meanings of lyrics

Brayden Cole
February 8th 2017
10:50am

I love this song. Last Stop is one of the best catchiest, and smoothest song. He’s a great lyricist. Feel sad about his sister. The story behind this song is very painful and sad that’s why this song is so catchy.