Mark Oliver Everett, the hirsute frontman of Eels, was once mistaken as a terrorist on a visit to London. Now he’s been handed the keys to the city.
The artist and producer, also known as E, was honored with the Freedom of the City of London during a ceremony Thursday at London’s Guildhall.
Everett’s alternative rock group has always maintained a loyal fanbase in Britain, but his relations with London’s Metropolitan Police hasn’t been quite as warm. In 2010, “Bobbies” questioned Everett on suspicions of terrorism while taking a stroll through Hyde Park.
E can laugh about it now. "To go from being a suspected terrorist, to having the Freedom of the City is quite amazing,” he says in a comment posted on his Facebook page. “It shows that anything is possible in London. I love this place." E wore a grey suit and black hat at the ceremony, and shared his big moment on his social networks.
U.S.-born Everett joins the likes of Winston Churchill, Princess Diana, Nelson Mandela and fellow musicians Bob Geldof, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarott as recipients of the prestigious award. He was reportedly nominated by two of the City of London Corporation's senior officers. The Freedom is one of the oldest surviving traditional ceremonies in existence, with the first ceremony dating back to 1237. The honor was only opened-up to non-British citizens in 1996.
Eels' 11th studio album "The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett" was released earlier this year.