University welcomes Eric Bazilian



Alexandra Nahl

On Thursday, Feb. 12, the ICE Center, Marketing Society and Business in Entertainment Society came together to host an event featuring Eric Bazilian. Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Bazilian is best known as a founding member of the band “The Hooters,” which gained a massive following in the 1980s. Bazilian is also a talented producer, arranger, writer and musician. He came to Villanova last week to talk with both business and musically-inclined students about his personal experience with the industry and how it has changed and evolved throughout the years.

With a relaxed posture and a casual manner, Bazilian began his discussion by telling students about his own life. Before music, Bazilian was most interested in science and pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Physics at the University of Pennsylvania. Music was always in his genes, however, for his mother was a concert pianist and his uncle played the guitar.

He soon discovered his own passion for music, which he credits in large part to the Beatles. Bazilian recounted the day the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show with deep admiration, calling it the “most significant event in human history.” It certainly seemed to be a significant one in his own life, for he followed in the footsteps of his British role models and helped to found several bands in hopes of creating and preforming his own music.

Like many artists, Bazilian faced various hardships during his early career, but he persevered and eventually gained a record deal with his band “The Hooters” in 1984. The hit single “All You Zombies” was the first major success for the band, reaching No. 1 in Australia and No. 57 in the United States. Bazilian played this song for the crowd in Bartley, and though he called his singing “embarrassing as hell,” he was very easy to listen to. Bazilian is a gifted musician and songwriter, and it is clear that he has come a long way since booking his first childhood gig playing for a sixth grade graduation.

Throughout the discussion, Bazilian welcomed questions with humility and stopped frequently to play bits of songs on his guitar. Some segments of songs he played included “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” which he helped create in the 80s. According to Bazilian, Cyndi Lauper was initially adamant that she would not sing the song, Bazilian picked up his guitar, played a fresh new riff, and “the rest is, as they say, history,” he explained.

Bazilian continued to triumph as a songwriter and arranger throughout his career. He wrote the hit song “One of Us” for the Hooters while sitting beside his sleeping wife on a couch. Though he claims that the song “wrote itself,” and that he was something of a vessel for the creation (Bazilian actually referred to himself as “the Virgin Mary for the song”), he credits his wife in large part with helping during the creative process.

He was thrilled to see how successful the single would become both in the United States and in the international community. Bazilian sang bits of the German rendition, as well as the entire English version for the Bartley crowd, highlighting the song’s global success. When asked about the success of the song, Bazilian responded, “what it comes down to is having an undeniable idea– having a song that makes the whole world want to sing.” Bazilian would later call the creation of this song the proudest moment of his career.

Bazilian’s music is influenced by folk, jazz, classical and electric guitar, and the music he creates is as unique as his style. He finished the event with an open discussion about the nature of the music industry. Bazilian discussed modern music and its relative staying power, and implored students to purchase Spotify out of respect for the many artists and their creative and intellectual property which are currently being exploited in our modern world. At the end of the event, the three host societies presented Bazilian with a Villanova T-shirt which he accepted proudly, and promised to wear during his next workout.

When asked what advice he has for young aspiring musicians, Bazilian told The Villanovan that a career in the music industry is “a calling,” and is “something you do because you have to do it.” He then referenced Malcoln Gladwell’s “10,000 hours” theory, explaining that people must first realize what they want to do and then put in the time to become truly proficient. “Put your 10,000 hours in and master something,” he said. “Whether it’s writing, coming up with social media strategies, or coming up with marketing strategies, get great at it, and pray for good luck.”