Passport: 'The bus would, in rock 'n' roll style, break down'

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The Independent Travel
IT MAY BE a hard act, following in the footsteps of his famous father, jazzman Don Cherry, and sister, singer Neneh Cherry, but it is not a new one for singer-songwriter Eagle-Eye Cherry.

He loves being on the road, especially as he used to travel with his family so much as a child. They toured with their father through Europe and also in Japan and the States. "We had our own bus which we shared with all the musicians. They used to take it in turns to drive, and my Mum would cook. Sometimes we would stay in hotels and sometimes we'd sleep on the bus. One Christmas Eve, we were in Italy and I don't know why but no hotel would give us a room. We could see all these available keys but they all said they were full. Maybe it was because my parents were freakily dressed and bohemian-looking. We ended up spending Christmas in some mountains in Italy in the freezing cold."

The bus would, in true rock'n'roll style, always break down. "It was a Volkswagen, usually laden with gear. The Italians were always so helpful, we'd break down and suddenly 20 guys would appear and start pushing it. In other countries, they'd just leave us."

Eagle-Eye - yes, it is his real name - spent 10 days in Rome over this New Year. "It's amazing how certain sounds and smells bring things back. I have a very vivid memory of the time I spent there as a child. We went there a lot as Dad was very popular in Italy. I find the food culture so amazing as well as the people. One day, I'd like to try to buy a house there."

So, time to make some mortgage money. Twenty-seven-year-old Eagle-Eye is currently touring and promoting his debut album which was launched in Sweden last year and reached platinum sales of 125,000. "The record has done really, really well. The first big gig that we played outside of Scandinavia was in Amsterdam and the concert was sold out - about 900 people who were all really getting into it. I thought 'Wow! This is actually happening'. It was very exciting."

The tour route through Europe may be similar to his father's, but this time he is "travelling on his own terms" rather than being the kid in the back. Last week he played at London's Ronnie Scotts. "I was trying to figure out when Dad had played there - he must have played there in some form or another."

His tour has also taken him through the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany where his Swedish passport has come in handy at border patrols. His mother is Swedish and his late father was American and he has spent his life living between both countries. "I grew up in the south of Sweden and was quite a country boy, but my Mum encouraged me to go to the School of Performing Arts in New York. I'm so happy that I got to have my teens in New York. We had a lot of fun with all the clubs and music. There is just nothing for young people to do in Sweden."

The irony is that now, Eagle-Eye enjoys the slower Scandinavian pace and, with nothing else to do, he can just sit around and write songs.

Eagle-Eye Cherry's debut album 'Desireless' is released on Polydor on 13 July.