Photo Credit Lynda Buchanan

Interview with Eva Gardner by Jarett Cole of RocknRollParty. Video editing by Jarett and motion graphics by Ida-Eri Gencheva.

Eva Gardner is a self-described over-achiever. For the past 13 years she’s toured the world as Pink’s bass player and has somehow also found the time to work with the likes of Cher and Gwen Stefani among a long and incredibly diverse list of others. Aside from having her own signature Fender P-Bass, Eva has sponsorship deals with a host of top-notch gear companies including Ampeg, Dunlop, and Rotosound. If that weren’t enough she’s a solo artist as well and recently released a new single called Love & Drugs.

I met Eva when we were both in high school in Los Angeles. I went to a school in North Hollywood and she went to the much-cooler LACHSA (LA County High School For The Arts) where she studied music. I always knew Eva as a bass player, knew that her family owned and operated a Hollywood rock ‘n roll landmark and institution called the Cat and Fiddle Pub (that survived on Sunset Blvd. for 30 years and in 2017 moved to a new location on Highland Ave.) and  knew that her dad Kim had played bass in legendary 60s freakbeat band The Creation.

Aside from being friends on social media for years, Eva and I hadn’t had the chance to properly catch up since the high school days until this Zoom interview. With so much to talk about, from pandemic adjustments to her road to success, we couldn’t cover everything, but we got to a lot in this wide-ranging QooA exclusive!

Photo Credit Denise Nicolay

1. PANDEMIC CREATIVITY

Hello! Good to see you!

Good to see you too! It’s been a very long time!

What have you been up to since the quarantine? 

Photo Credit Lynda Buchanan

You’re a painter and a photographer as well?

Yeah. I also started out the pandemic doing a lot of painting. I was supposed to send some stuff over to Hong Kong for a show over there and that halted because of this whole thing. But yeah I was doing a lot of painting for a while. I was kind of like, “Ok maybe in the first part of the day I can just work on all the music stuff and the next part of the day I can just work on the art stuff.” It’s like your brain becomes silly putty and it’s being stretched in all these directions. I also have a habit of reading like seven books at a time (laughs). My new thing is, “Ok just read one book.” I just finished Tim Ferriss’ book the Four Hour Work Week and he suggests reading one book like his, an information book where you’re taking in stuff, and one book of fiction – just something you can get lost in for an hour that you read before bed. So that’s my new approach as of this week and so far it’s going pretty good.

Could you actually finish seven books at a time? Or you’d finish them but not know what happened in any of them?

Exactly. I would read them and be like, “Cool! I finished that book!” but then I wouldn’t have absorbed it very much because my attention was jumping so much. I’m trying to be more focused and intentional with things that I do – with my output and my input. When I had nothing to do and no gigs I was like,  “Well fuck I have to do everything! I gotta be so productive and of course I’m doing stuff! I have so much time to do everything!” I got really over-zealous. 

3. EVA’S MORNING ROUTINE 

What do you do to stay centered in all of this?

Of course you’ve also been working on some solo music – would you care to talk about Love & Drugs?

When I stepped the whole recording thing into a higher gear that’s one of the songs that I decided to do! I recorded everything on my own and after lots of studying and trial and error and making all these other songs I was like, “Cool this works, this doesn’t work, maybe I’ll try this,” and Love and Drugs was my guinea pig song. Basically it was just like saying OK I’m just going to do this on my own because you can do it on your own now. I had originally programmed the drums but I was talking to my friend Mark Schulman that I play in the Pink band with – we also play in the Cher band together – and he’s got a studio with drums setup so he just recorded drums out at his place and with the magic of technology we have a song! And I did a video on top of it!

Photo Credit Denise Nicolay

I saw the video! I saw the restaurant in the video!

Yes! I was very limited on locations and it was all social-distanced. Originally I was going to just do a video by myself on my Iphone, but I was talking to a friend of mine and she was down for the cause to help me out. We did what we could with what we had and it was a lot of fun to get back to collaborating with people. It was really nice.

It looks like you’ve been fairly busy doing virtual things

Yeah, I’m just staying engaged and doing some Master classes and some teaching.

Your degree is in Enthnomusicology?

That’s right.

What exactly is Ethnomusicology?

It’s a cross between musicology and anthropology. It basically examines music and how it relates to culture and how it influences and is influenced by culture. It’s basically a non-Western perspective. What I was doing in high school was more of a conservatorial, Western-style approach to music traditions and Ethnomusicology examined everything else – from Eskimo singing to Mongolian throat singing to Balinese Gamelan, and just really examined how all these different cultures relate to music. It was so eye-opening and just really broadened my world.

How’s that served you as a professional musician?

3. PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE

Photo Credit Denise Nicolay

I was actually getting tour offers while I was in college and for some reason I felt like I just I wanted to finish school. I knew I needed to finish, I knew I needed to incubate just a little bit longer, and I’m glad I did. I’m glad I have a degree in a useless subject. (laughs)

I don’t know how useless it is if you’re playing music all around the world. It probably makes a fair amount of sense

Yeah but I’ve never had to show my degree, so…

How did your first major offers come about?

There was a show that was on called Rockstar INXS and they were looking for a new singer for INXS. It was one of those shows back in 2005. So I auditioned to be in the house band and I got a few call backs but in the end I didn’t end up getting the gig.

4. THE BIG BREAK

Photo Credit Denise Nicolay

5. FULL CIRCLE MOMENT

Do you have a most moving experience playing giant shows

What band did your Dad play in at the Isle Of Wight?

You know I’m not really sure that he even did the Isle of Wight But I’m thinking that he would have been there because all of his friends were there. Maybe the promoter told me because our UK promoter remembers my dad. He remembers the band, they worked together. So being around that energy – especially with people who knew him and used to see his bands just made it even more special.

I also Met Paul McCartney at that show too because we were opening up for Paul McCartney that night.

Kim Gardner playing a ‘62 Fiesta Red Precision bass, playing live with the Creation in 1967

Photo Credit Lynda Buchanan

6. MEETING PAUL MCCARTNEY

That’s incredible. Of course I know your dad was in The Creation – did he play on Making Time?

Yeah I think that was him. There were a couple of incarnations of the Creation. The earlier stuff wasn’t him – it wasn’t Painter Man, he wasn’t on that – but when dad was tracking down his royalties many years ago the guys basically said, “You know we don’t remember who played on what because it was so long ago,” so they just split all the royalties up between all of them – So I don’t know exactly what he played on but I think he was on Making Time.

That song was everywhere. Was your dad super psyched about it?

Oh when Rushmore came out. When was that? The 90’s?”

7. TEENAGE RE-CREATION

How did you start playing with Tim Burgess? Do you still play with him at all?

Tim lives in London now but he used to come into the Cat and Fiddle all the time. He was a massive Creation fan so he used to come and hang out with my pop. When Tim decided to do his solo thing, because he normally was in the Charlatans (UK), he was living in L.A and asked if I wanted to be his bass player and go on tour with him in the UK and play some shows opening for The Rolling Stones.

8. ALL I EVER WANTED TO DO IS TOUR

Do you have more solo stuff on the horizon?

Yeah, I have lots of songs. I decided to do a single so I could just focus on one thing and get that out. Also I feel like that the way people consume music these days too, right? The single’s back, that’s where we’re at! Or EP’s! EP’s are where it’s at too – so I might do an EP next. We’ll see what happens.

9. FUTURE PREDICTION

Did you just take up Tarot cards as well or is that something that you’ve done?

I started studying the Tarot – gosh, it must have been like 2006 now and I had a tarot teacher and I was taking classes and I got super into it. I’ve always loved the Tarot. I’ve always loved getting readings and doing readings.

So what’s future going to bring?

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