For 12 years, Eva Gardner has been bassist and backing vocalist for the global phenomenon that is P!nk, an artist renowned for her amazing live shows, vocal range, and formidable stage presence. So being part of this band is quite an undertaking: a fusion of aerial performers and dancers, as well as moving sets and stages, means you must have your wits about you the whole time; and being so high octane, looking after yourself on tour is also a must, which Eva does through a healthy diet of yoga, qigong, plenty of sleep, and a juicer. She is also an artist in her own right; remarkably, in between arena shows, she’s found time to put out an EP, Chasing Ghosts, which she’s written and recorded largely while on the road. We chat about her musical beginnings, favourite kit, and the challenges touring life can bring.
Despite touring with P!nk for 12 years, Eva is actually one of the newest members of her band, which speaks volumes.
“It really is an amazing family vibe, and a special thing to be in something like this,” Eva says, adding that she auditioned for the role. “I’d actually auditioned two years prior for the house band for Rockstar INXS, and that didn’t work out - but the MD remembered me, and when P!nk was looking for a bass player, he called me up. So I tried out, and after getting the phone call informing me that I got the gig, he said ‘we’ll send you a few albums of material to learn, so pack for three months, and we’ll see you in three days!’ [laughs]”
Wow. No pressure, then?
“[smiles] Yeah, a very quick changeover! My first show was in Ireland at Malahide Castle, so I was thrown into the fire right away,” Eva explains. “I had one rehearsal with the band, and didn’t meet P!nk until the soundcheck before the show. She gave me a big hug, and said ‘welcome to the family’, and the rest is history.”
Sounds like a great setup, for sure. And the calibre of musicians in P!nk’s ‘family’ is quite formidable.
“Yeah, I feel fortunate to be in the mix with this calibre of human and musician! And the crew is great, too. It’s a big crew, and they have all been here for a long time - many have worked for her longer than I have, so there is definitely a loyalty there, also.”
Eva knew she wanted to be a bassist as a young girl. Her father, Kim Gardner, was part of the whole British Invasion scene in the ‘60s, and was in his first band with Stones’ guitarist Ronnie Wood. The two of them grew up in West Drayton, so knew each other from age 15.
“Dad was in The Birds with Ron, and he was close with The Who – particularly [Who bassist] John Entwhistle - so that was my childhood, growing up with all these guys, and hearing my dad’s stories,” Eva reflects. “So before I knew what it even meant, I would tell my school friends ‘I am gonna be a bass player!’ And here I am!”
It’s never easy following in your parents’ footsteps – particularly when they’re musical ones. Would Eva agree?
“Yeah, it was slow going at the beginning,” she admits. “Dad wasn’t that into the idea at the start, so it took him a while to come around; and it was only when his best friend [Led Zep/Stones producer, Andy Johns] came over one day with a bass and a little amp, and Dad thought Andy was going to show him some cool new gear, but he said ‘actually, this is for Eva – it’s about time we give her a bass lesson’ that he accepted it! [laughs]
“So that was it, no turning back - and since then, my family have been absolutely amazing. Dad was my first roadie! And looking back, it really was a very special time. I had to work for it too, though - I was told ‘no’ a few times, and I didn’t like the way that ‘no’ sounded! At that point, I realised I really, really wanted it.”