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He has traveled to Canada, China, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, England (a London label put out one of his albums), France, Guatemala, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Portugal and Spain, visiting some of those places many times.
His home office, on the second floor of a gorgeous brick Victorian on the city's West Side, overflows with popular best-sellers as well as obscure, difficult literature.
"I read a ton of stuff. I listen to a ton of music — all kinds of music. That's what's bouncing around in my head, at least on a subconscious level. You put enough of that stuff in the stew, let it submerge there, then it just pops out."
When that happens, he applies himself to the craft of songwriting.
"I'm very pure about it. I don't approach it to write what's popular or what someone wants to hear." But he might write about a topic that's in the news or in response to something that an acquaintance is going through. He'll be inspired after hearing another song's odd chord change or a cool drum riff.
"The reason that my songwriting hits in a lot of different areas is because I write different songs for different reasons. Sometimes I'll settle for a trite lyric because that song isn't about the lyric — it's because I wanted to write this song in a minor key with 3/4 waltz time."
If a song speaks the truth, he says, it will contain some level of universality. "I try to put stuff in there that most people will say, 'I know just what that feels like' or 'I know just what he means' — whether it's in a funny way, quirky or poetic. I'm not just rhyming spaghetti and confetti because they rhyme. I want there to be some underlying thought or emotion there. I want to entertain myself and other people. I'm trying to connect with other people."
It's obviously working. But Iceberg is humble.
"I've been lucky enough that people who are better musicians than I am have seen something in my songs and come along for the ride and offer their services."
When they do, singers with prettier voices carefully wrap harmonies around Iceberg's voice, making the whole thing beautiful. And with so many area musicians contributing, the recordings sound uniquely of Kansas City.
"It's turned out to be such a blast working with these musicians," Iceberg says, "that I feel like I've captured a moment in time in Kansas City."
It's a remarkable accomplishment considering that Iceberg's main focus for most of his life has been on something other than music.
Iceberg was born Howard Eisberg in May 1947, to a housekeeper mother and a salesman father. They lived near 20th Street and Prospect, then moved south. The family always had enough, he says, but still seemed to struggle. He went to junior high and high school in the Center School District, back when that part of town felt like distant suburbs.
Paredes remembers sitting in the school lunchroom and seeing Howard, two years older, walking down the hallways. Even then his hair was distinctively fuzzy. (Paredes says his high school relationship with Eisberg has been "overblown"; they recognized each other around the city's live-music clubs in the mid-1970s and didn't start playing together until a few years after that.)
Eisberg hit college during the Vietnam War years. On a full-ride scholarship to Washington University in St. Louis, he earned extra money by loading trucks and playing poker. And like many of his fellow students, he thought about changing the world.