I’ve been obsessed with the band Eve6 ever since I first taped “Inside Out” from the radio in eighth grade. Max Collins, the band’s lead singer and songwriter, recently started a Pledge Music campaign to launch a solo album. My friend Suzanne Horwitz pledged for “20 Questions via Skype” with Max and offered to sit back as I did the asking. I was even more excited than I was in 10th grade when my mom dropped us off at the Avalon for our first Eve6 concert, or when we drove to Providence to see Eve6 for my 18th birthday! I asked Max all about sex and relationships in his life and his music. Here’s a taste of what he shared with us.
What advice do you have for young adults who want to date a rock star?
It depends on their motives. If it’s a fun dalliance, if it’s a fantasy of being with someone, great. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that kind of fantasizing. But it could be less healthy to just want to be with someone because of some kind of status. I would caution to manage expectations if you actually do end up dating a rock star. It is a very strange kind of roller coaster when you’re in the machine whirring at its highest velocity. It can be pretty wild and difficult to have real relationships.
Not seeing someone for really long periods of time…there’s more temptation with that line of work, undoubtedly. It’s hard, but I’ve been in a relationship with my wife since early 2002. And we’re good! We make it work. But I was able to kind of get a lot of things out of my system before she came along.
For me, the experience of being with a lot of different people was fun for a time, but then it’s like, OK, I want a real friend and companion and a transparent relationship. Although, to be honest, I don’t even know if it was that premeditated. It was more like I met her and didn’t want to be without her.
We talked regularly enough, we liked each other enough, we loved each other enough to want to talk to each other and put in that time. I hadn’t had that desire before. And I stopped drinking in 2006, which has helped me become a better husband. It made me more present, less reckless, more thoughtful. It made the relationship more real, if we’re using that term. It went a little deeper.
I wrote that song years ago. She’d gone to Mexico with a couple girlfriends, and I was having a paranoid fantasy. The narrator is aware that his thoughts are not necessarily founded, but it’s kind of about embracing that worst-case scenario that your head is cooking up.
“Promise.” What makes that song so awesome? Where did that come from?
That came from this really weird night, one of the first times I ever got drunk. A friend of mine was house-sitting. I think a couple girls were over. I forget exactly what happened, but I got mad and left, and then walked home. It was a long walk home, uphill. I was just in this weird, belligerent state of mind. I remember seeing my parents really quickly and then going straight into my room. I guess the song is about other people’s expectations of you, and your own expectations of yourself.
I continued to list songs and ask about them. Here are a few more.
“Enemy”: I had this, at times, paralyzing fear of contracting HIV. So that song is about getting tested. Then the thing that distracts me from this thought, this fear, and makes me feel better, is reckless behavior that then gives me a reason to have the thought. So the verses are about going to get tested and about that feeling, and then the choruses are, “I just wanna feel better, so let’s have sex with each other….”
“Arch Drive Goodbye”: In the song, I was talking to the person I was with at the time. She had some self-destructive tendencies, as did I, and the song is about that kind of haphazard, dangerous, unhealthy relationship that is fun but screwed up too. Like once we got in a fight and she left, and I got on the roof of her car and she didn’t stop driving. She was just driving around with me clinging to the roof of her car.
“Moon”: My wife pointed at the moon and said, “Look at the moon; it’s like a fingernail clipping.” And I thought that was beautiful. It’s about the fleeting nature of everything. My mom was diagnosed with cancer a couple years ago, which is definitely there: “Flowers bloom in brilliant light, and fade into the night.” Things are here, and then they’re gone. It plays with that a little bit. It plays with loneliness and uncertainty.
I was at a concert in the summer of 2008, and right before you played “Inside Out” you said, “I wrote this song when I was an ass.” What do you hear when you hear that song now?
I just hear a little kid. I just hear a teenager, you know, taking it all really, really seriously. I was 17 when I wrote it, so I hear the 17-year-old me singing it. “I wanna put my tender heart in a blender?!” It’s just the way I’ve stated it. I mean, that song’s been very good to me, so no complaints!
How do you think about sex and relationships in your life these days?
Being in a committed relationship is a deeper experience for me. There’s a song on my new solo album, “Honey From the Ice Box,” called “909.” It’s a narrative song about a couple that moves from the Midwest to Southern California, but to Riverside, which is industrial, a little bit of a wasteland. One of the lines in the chorus is: “People keep saying that love is dead, that’s a sacrilegious lie. I’ll never have another stranger in my bed, from here on out it’s you and I, as we start this brand new life in the 909.” There is this sincere and earnest love between these two people. There is beauty in the fact that it’s going to be just them forever. There is also sadness in that too. There is definitely a sadness that they’re going to some place that’s advertised as something that it isn’t. The good and the bad. The darkness and the light.