Tattooed, out musician Eric Himan is no stranger to touring. Eric is currently wrapping up touring in support of his first-ever live DVDUnder the Ink  as well as playing cuts from his forthcoming album Formal. Himan will make a stop in Knoxville April 19. We caught up with Eric to find out exactly who the man under the ink is.

Eric, you’ve found success by doing everything yourself. Would you ever seek a major-label record deal?

I started my own record label, Thumbcrown Records, back in 2000 after being inspired to do so by independent thinking musicians like Ani DiFranco who saw a shift in the music biz where you didn’t have to be tied to a label to have your music heard.

I have had offers from labels but the outcome always seemed to be stacked against my favor. There was even a time where I turned down a record deal because they just wanted me to sit on my butt and wait for something to happen. I decided to go my own way and have been quite content. A record label these days would have to be willing to offer me opportunities that I cannot do on my own, opportunities with integrity.

What’s your favorite song that you’ve recorded?

I actually  recorded my very first kid’s song, “Get Your Raincoat” that will be featured on an upcoming charity CD. I recorded it with just my producer, Mike Gilliland and my drummer, Erin Nelson. It wasn’t overthought like I can get with most of my songs- just fun and includes some great animal noises added to the mix (the character of the song goes to the zoo).

One of my favorites is “Frozen in the Sun” a song you did as a side project under Eric and the Adams. Any chance you guys are heading back into the studio?

Thank you but sadly, no. We all went on to do different projects but we’re still good friends.

You pay homage to your favorite songs/artists with Free Cover Mondays in August, random lyrics postings in blogs and playing these in your shows? Any artists/song right now you want to cover but haven’t?

That is a great question. I have covered so many different artists but one that I love dearly that I have never attempted is Bjork. Her style is so much her own that she makes it difficult to perform a song of hers in a different style without feeling the need to imitate her. Jason Mraz actually did an amazing cover of her song, “Unravel”.

If you could collaborate with anyone right now, who would it be?

Man, there are so many people I would love to guest sing for if they would have me:
Ani DiFranco, Beth Hart, Jason Mraz, Sade, Natalie Merchant, Adele, the former members of Jellyfish, Rihanna, and the list goes on ...

You have several CD’s under your belt, now a live DVD and your cooking show—what’s next for Eric Himan?

I think that myself sometimes. When I think about music styles, I always go back to soul/blues. I would love to put together a soul record from beginning to end to pay homage to those blues artists that keep me going with their voices and style.

I’d assume with Trial and Eric, your online cooking show, you’re a homebody but you’re out on the road on the time- so what’s your idea of a perfect date?

I do love to cook, but being on the road makes that a bit difficult (which is why I am cooking in other people’s kitchens for the show) but my idea of a perfect date is to find something time consuming to cook (making my own pasta, baking a cake) and talk while preparing something, then sitting down to eat while watching a funny movie. Being a traveling musician, the best dates are at home.

If you could write a letter to 13-year-old Eric what would it say?

I would say RELAX!!!! I find in life that if things are meant to be, they will come to fruition. I have worried parts of my life away and I feel you carry that worry with you wherever you go and that is not healthy.

Finally, before bullying and acceptance was a front and center topic you wrote “Little Boy Blue,” an amazing track from your Resonate album- can you share with our readers the story behind that song?

I did a tour back in 2004, where I played a bunch of LGBT youth centers around the west coast. Many of the young people I met that either lived at or visited the center were very gracious to have a songwriter stop by. At one though, I was met with a lot of hostility from a particular transgendered boy who was very protective of his new family and space. I have to say by the end of the day we were pals but I really had to earn his trust because he was bullied in ways that made him uncomfortable with new folks. We are still friends to this day and he is the reason I wrote, “Little Boy Blue”.

You can download Eric's latest single "Running" on iTunes now and catch him when he plays EDGE Knoxville.

For more information on Eric visit him on his website

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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