BioAlthough marketed as a band, the leader and focus of alt-rockers Eels is undeniably singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist E (real name Mark Oliver Everett). Born April 9, 1963, in Virginia, Everett became interested in rock music at an early age via his sister's record collection, and began playing drums at the age of six (as well as tinkering on his family's piano). After his father's passing just a few years later, Everett began leading a troubled teenage life, being arrested and expelled from school. But the turmoil led to an even stronger interest in music for Everett, as he taught himself how to play his sister's guitar, and shortly thereafter wrote his own original compositions. Due to the fact that several of his friends also were called Mark, it was also around this time that Everett began going by just his initials, and eventually, solely by the letter "E." By his early 20s, E was demoing countless songs on a used four-track cassette recorder, eventually deciding to pursue his rock & roll dreams by relocating to Los Angeles. Due to his prolific songwriting, the quality of his songs naturally began to improve, which prompted a recording contract as a solo artist for Polydor Records. A pair of underappreciated releases soon followed, 1992's A Man Called E (which was supported with a tour opening for Tori Amos) and 1993's Broken Toy Shop, before E left the label and formed Eels along with bassist Tommy Walter and drummer Butch Norton. The trio inked a deal with the then-newly formed DreamWorks label, and issued their debut, 1996's Beautiful Freak, as the group's sound was often compared to Beck. The album spawned a sizeable MTV/alternative radio hit with "Novocaine for the Soul," as its promo clip received three MTV Video Music Award nominations the following year, and the group's popularity rose in England (resulting in a Brit Award, presented to the group by goof metallists Spinal Tap).