Under pressure to deliver the follow-up to his major label hit debut, the writing sessions for what would become Electro Shock Blues were spun on their head as E was enveloped in tragedy and turmoil.
First by the loss of his mother to lung cancer and then by the suicide of his sister. The resulting pain is clear to hear on this bonafide classic album.
“When I look back on the recording of Electro Shock Blues I look back at it fondly even though it was the worst time in my life. That was the good part of it.
"It was such a sanctuary for me to go down to the basement and write and record those songs. It felt so good. It was like wrapping a warm blanket around yourself in the middle of the worst hurricane.
“It is a comforting feeling to know that people are comforted by the album, particularly because I was met with so much adversity when trying to put that record out. It was a big risk for me and was against the advice of everyone that was working with me at the time. I took the chance because I believed in it.
“The people around me were rooting for Beautiful Freak Volume II. I knew that would be a mistake, I didn’t see any point in doing that. I needed to write about the stuff that was going on in my life at that time.
“What people get out of it is outside of me so I don’t have a good handle on it. You can only treat yourself as the audience and try to impress yourself. That can be hard because I’m not a typical audience member, maybe that’s why we never get too big, because I don’t have the most typical taste in what I want to hear on a record and see at a concert.
"It’s interesting though that on a record like this; your entire family dying in a short period of time is not something most people can relate to, but people really embrace that record. Maybe it’s because they’ve had a taste of tragedy.”