The Eels are largely driven by E (Mark Everitt), who writes both music and lyrics, and has played almost all the instruments apart from the drums, manned by Butch (Jonathon Norton), at some point.
Despite the somewhat flippant quotes below, the subject matter for the albums is intensely deep and personal, and yet even Electro-shock Blues is ultimately upbeat - with a message that, to oversimplify, is that life is worth celebrating, no matter how tough it seems at the time.
Notable E quotes on the albums
My apologies if these aren't word perfect... /msg me if so...
(on Beautiful Freak): "This is our greeting card to the world"
(on Electro-shock Blues): "If Beautiful Freak was our greeting card to the world, this is our phone call in the middle of the night that the world doesn't want to pick up"
(on Daisies of the Galaxy):"If Electro-shock Blues was the phone call in the middle of the night that the world doesn't want to answer, then Daisies of the Galaxy is the hotel wake-up call that says your lovely breakfast is ready."
"This record has two songs with the word 'daisies' in the title, and neither of them has the words 'pushing up' before it."
The band has also embraced the web, releasing two live albums through
their website, http://www.eelstheband.com - where they also champion obscure music, and have occasional polls to decide the fate of Butch's beard and hair (with somewhat bizarre results). E has also followed the path of non-shaving, with a unabomber-style mountain of facial hair that he claims has got him stopped at airports. He claims this is entirely for the benefit of his partner...
More recently, the website featured an online competition allowing fans to compete to create a title for a new Eels track. Eventually, the band declined to pick a winner - instead creating the song 'Hidden Track' by stringing the entries together into a strangely compelling lyric.
Discography (albums only)
Revised 12/12/02 to include the new live album and website details, and 2/3/03 to include the new album listing (originally posted on said website)
Hastily re-edited to hardlink all the songs on the advice of wharfinger...