There has never been a question about where Everlast’s passions lie. From his “Jump Around” days with House Of Pain to his acclaimed solo career as ‘Whitey Ford,’ Erik Schrody has always had a clear purpose: music.
That purpose was redefined two years ago with the birth of his daughter. Shortly after birth, she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects the lungs and digestive system of nearly 30,000 children in the U.S. Now two years old, Everlast’s daughter requires regular medication.
In an interview with CBS Local, Everlast gave some insight into the disease, and what he’s doing to help find a cure.
“It’s a lifetime battle. This organization [Cystic Fibrosis Foundation] is doing a lot of really good work. They’re on the verge of a few big breakthroughs right now. It’s a genetic disorder so there’s not really a way they can cure it but they can treat it to where it’s irrelevant, that’s the goal. They’re getting close to a few big drug breakthroughs but there’s no government help. There no kind of funding from the government, it’s all private.”
Everlast goes on the explain that because the disease affects a relatively low number of people, it’s not high on the government’s priority list. “These little boutique companies make the drugs because there’s a need for it, but it ends up being really expensive.”
“We’re very fortunate. My wife happens to be an amazing mother. Anybody’s that’s got kids knows they get colds all the time. And knock on wood, my daughter, she hasn’t had the sniffles since she was born.”
Although Everlast jokes about being a protective parent, it’s clear that in this case, it could mean life or death.
“She has friends and plays in the park. It’s just a matter of keeping her from getting colds. We just have to have friends that we trust and that understand how serious it is not to let her get sick. There’s all these weird little things we have to know about that… It’s a level of almost Felix Unger (1970′s TV sitcom character and compulsive neat freak) germaphobe, Nazi kinda of thing.. When we go out in public we look like those nuts. We’re scrubbing down the whole table. I see people looking at us like we’re crazy but we do what we gotta do.”
In an effort to raise awareness for the disease, Everlast has teamed up with fellow musicians and comedians. With a recent appearance on comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast, former pro skateboarder Jason Ellis’ radio show and some help from Twitter, he raised over $9,000.
“That was people giving one or two dollars. I was blown away by the charitable nature of people… complete strangers.” he says proudly.
Everlast has also donated his time to this weekend’s Great Strides Walk For Cystic Fibrosis in Los Angeles, for which he’s already received over $20,000 in commitments.
The singer-songwriter is also taking a few other approaches to raising awareness and charitable contributions. Beginning May 8th and lasting two weeks, fans can go to iTunes and download “Long Time,” the latest single from Songs of the Ungrateful Living. “65¢ from each download, which is all of mine and EMI’s proceeds, will be donated directly to the CF Foundation. Even if you bought the album, maybe go back and download the track again. Everything makes a difference.”
When asked where he is musically, Everlast feels as though he’s just entering the prime of his life.
“With everything I’ve learned in my life, it’s just all now starting to come together and be like OK, this is who you are as a musician. I like to have fun. It’s not work to me, it’s fun. Playing on stage is where I can forget for an hour that my daughter has Cystic Fibrosis or the bills are due.”
Everlast’s sixth studio album, Songs of the Ungrateful Living, is available now on iTunes.
Since 1955, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has been the driving force behind the pursuit of a cure. For more info, visit CFF.org.
–Jay Tilles, CBS Local