E.G. Daily: Ruling the World for Twenty Years
Dance Diva! Hottie and Dottie! Buttercup and Tommy!
E.G. Daily has been everywhere for the last 20 years, whether you know it or not. She had important acting roles in some of the most beloved teen-oriented movies of the 1980s (Valley Girl, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Better Off Dead), and she had a Top 10 hit with “Say It, Say It” in 1986. But the 1990s have seen a whole new aspect to her career: her voice work has graced animated projects (The Powerpuff Girls, Rugrats) and movies (Babe II) that rule the world of kids. She’s continued to record and release great records, like 1999’s Tearing Down the Walls, and she isn’t done yet. We got the chance to catch up with this busy entertainer by phone and got the scoop.
Since this is mostly a music site, let’s start with your most recent record. Tearing Down the Walls is a very personal record, isn’t it?
All my records are. They’re like diaries, you know? Some of the songs on that record were written before I had kids, some after, and some were written during my marriage. I don’t know how to write songs that aren’t personal.
Is it cathartic for you to write about personal stuff?
I have to, otherwise my thoughts go swirling all around. When I feel certain things, I write them down right away. I have a lot of new material right now. A lot of themes and feelings are coming up, and the music is really interesting — hey, I’ve been through a divorce from someone I loved dearly, and I have two kids. I mean, do you keep all the movies and pictures from those times? What do you do? These are very new thoughts, and I’m putting it all down on paper.
It’s funny, but back when I wrote “Keep It Together,” I was frustrated about that area of my life [family], wanting to move forward, longing for more. My friends had car seats, you know? And I didn’t, then. And now I do, and I get to look back and reevaluate.
One theme I hear on the album is about control. Is that right?
I was very particular with that record. I produced and released it, and I needed someone with good chops to co-produce it. I found Brad Gilderman, who is a great engineer and mixer. He worked on “When Will I See You Again.” You know that song?
Oh, yeah, by The Three Degrees?
You know the one. [Singing:] “When will I see you again…” And he’s done mixes for Babyface. Anyway, he was the guy who had mixed that track, and I had a really awesome time making that. I’d already rehearsed the band, so he was able to just come right in.
What’s next for you musically?
I’m working on a lot of new songs, but I’m also trying to get Tearing Down the Walls back out there. My goal is to get it out in front of people again. And yeah, I’m writing some new stuff. I’m tracking with some new guys. Usually I tend to do everything on a record, and this time I just made the decision that they are in charge of the new material.
What’s your next movie or TV project?
Well, we’re working on a new series called All Growed Up, which is based on that episode of Rugrats when all the characters were teenagers.
My kids and I saw that one. We were all freaked out at the idea of a teenage Chuckie.
But yeah, this series is going to be all based on those characters.
That should be fun.
Yeah. And I’m working on a show with my production partner called Pets and Their Celebrities, which is kind of a reality show based on the book he wrote. It’s fun, it’s going to be sweet.
So: you’re Tommy Pickles, you’re Buttercup. How cool do your kids think you are?
I think they do. All the kids at school are real impressed. My younger daughter, Tyson, makes me do a voice for every object in the house. Everything she has she brings over and says, “Mommy, I want to talk to the bear,” or “I want to talk to my belly button,” so I do the voice. I do a voice for our dog Jake, a very cool and sexy voice. Tyson says “Hi, Jake!” and I say, “Hey, Tyse, can I smell your sandwich?” Just stuff like that.
You sound like a really cool mom. So what’s the deal with Babe III? I keep hearing rumors about it-
Really? What have you heard?
Oh, nothing in particular, just that they’re working on the script, stuff like that.
Well, I’m definitely contracted. If they do another one, I’m in it.
How much fun is it to be Buttercup in The Powerpuff Girls?
It’s very cool. She’s so feisty, in kind of a bee-yatchy way…she’s like a boy! A lot of bigger kids are into that show.
It must be so much fun to work on that show.
We just laugh our heads off. We’re the best of friends.
Well, you’re also number one in our house for playing Rudy in Chalkzone.
Oh, I know. Isn’t that show such a cool idea? I mean, the idea that he draws cartoons and they become this whole world… I first worked on that show a long time ago, and then suddenly it was on TV — who knew? I was like, “Really?” I just thought it was going to stay on the shelf. It was the same way with The Powerpuff Girls. I did my first voice for that show years before it came out. Craig McCracken, the creator of The Powerpuff Girls, looked fifteen years old at first. Seriously: he had no facial hair. But then I saw what the show was going to look like and I was blown away. He’s an absolute sweetheart.
You also got to play Leslie, Phoebe’s ex-musical partner, on Friends. How was that?
It was great! I got to sing, play guitar, got to be a guest star.
And you’re also a complete cult hero for playing Dottie in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.
Oh, yeah, there are a lot of classic Dottie lovers. I’ve been so lucky, with all the classic projects I’ve worked with: the most popular cartoon show [Rugrats], playing the most popular bad girl [Buttercup], movies like Pee-Wee; really lucky.
Well, and you were also in Valley Girl, which is so classic.
It was a great movie to get started with. Hey, I made 15 movies in the ’80s!
Yeah, I was going to ask, why not more movies? Was that your choice, or was it that you were typecast?
It was absolutely my choice. I’m getting back into it, but I wanted to wait until my kids were older, and really be a mommy to them. Now that I’m a single mommy, it’s especially important to be home. But I’m very blessed that I’m in a position to be able to do that, and that I don’t have to do all the day-to-day things all by myself. Thank God that I can afford help!
Thus ended the interview, because she had to talk to someone else. I forgot to ask her about her work with animals (check her Web site for more info), and I missed the chance to work in how she was robbed by not getting the Demi Moore role in One Crazy Summer even though she’d already been in Better Off Dead and played Wendy Elizabeth in Eek The Cat. Oh, and when she was being Jake the dog, her voice WAS extremely cool and sexy. Believe that.