Eels Looking Ahead To Next 'Masterpiece'

Without short-changing the recently released Eels album "Shootenanny!," band visionary Mark Everett (known as E) tells Billboard.com he's already looking forward to the group's next studio disc as bei

Without short-changing the recently released Eels album "Shootenanny!," band visionary Mark Everett (known as E) tells Billboard.com he's already looking forward to the group's next studio disc as being nothing short of aural perfection.

"I'm sifting through a lot of the stuff that I've recorded already and I'm just starting to plant seeds for other stuff I want to record for the next album," says Everett. "My standards are going to be very high. I feel the need to drop a masterpiece. Nothing less. This one is much more complicated." Unlike "Shootenanny!," which was recorded in 10 days, Everett says he will take his time with the next disc.

Since the band will be on the road in the U.S. through the middle of August and plans on touring internationally through the end of the year, odds are Everett won't begin recording until sometime in 2004.

Luckily, Eels are a rare group, which despite the lack of platinum success, hasn't been dropped from its major label, DreamWorks. Everett has a theory pertaining to the band's good fortune.

"In this day and age, it is sadly a rare thing for somebody to stick around this long at a major label," he says. "The same guys that run DreamWorks used to run Warner Bros. during its artistic heyday, before it all went down the crapper. They had Randy Newman, who was someone they called a 'prestige artist,' who they kind of keep around to attract other artists to the label. I might have assumed that role in their modern incarnation now, which is fine with me. I'm happy to serve whatever purpose keeps me making records, because that's all I ever want to do."

Eels play tomorrow (July 25) in Cleveland.