Art Alexikis Interview; Playing
House Of Blues
Everclear will be celebrating the release of their new album, Live At The Whisky A Go- Go, which comes out on September 8. This album includes new live versions of many of their hit songs including “Heroin Girl,” “Santa Monica” “Father Of Mine” as well as two new tracks.
We had the chance to chat with Everclear’s lead singer, Art Alexakis to discuss the new album, the Seahawks and Browns as well as his upcoming appearance in Cleveland.
GD: Hey Art, how have you been since we last spoke? The last time I saw you we were at the Football Hall of Fame last year.
Art Alexakis: That’s right man, that was a lot of fun! I remember we also went to Dr. Bob’s house, so we went to two different Hall’s of Fame. I’m good, how are you doing? I’m stoked for football season.
GD: For sure. Your Seahawks actually did better than you expected last year, do you think Geno (Smith) can do it again?
AA: I think so. I think he’s the real thing. I think we had a real good draft this year, putting some great people around him. We’ll see how that first draft pick does at corner. That was a dubious pick for me, but I think the other picks were great. I feel good, I think we will compete in the NFC West, I think we have a good chance to go deeper in the playoffs this year. I’m not sure we’re 100% there. I think we have the right people, but some of those kids need to be seasoned a little bit, you know? I’m excited, now are you a Browns fan?
GD: Of course! We almost made a bet on the Deshawn Watson suspension last year, wh!ich you would have won after they extended it.
AA: Oh, you’ll like this. I’m in LA International, traveling by myself and there’s this very big, strong, African American young man with this full ‘fro and he turns around, and I go “Hey man, are you Myles Garrett?” He go “yeah.” So I say, “I’m just a fan.” He says, “Are you a Browns fan?” I said, “Kinda, they are one of my favorite AFC teams but I’m a Seahawks fan.” He said, “The Seahawks are gonna be good this year.” I said, “What are you doing out in LA, you got some training?” He said, “Nah, friends birthday.” I said “Cool.” I didn’t bug him. He is SO big, and muscle! The way that guy moves. It’s stunning. You can tell, he’s just very intelligent. Wow. I don’t understand why he hasn’t been Defensive Player of the Year. He’s gotta be right on the edge of it.
GD: Hopefully this year. We got a new defensive coordinator and I think our D is going to be pretty sound.
AA: Who did you guys get?
GD: The old Lions head coach, Jim Schwartz.
AA: Schwartz is a great defensive mind. I like that a lot of these coaches are going back to being OC’s or what their speciality was. Like Pete Carrol, he’s a defensive guy. If he wasn’t so old, I could see him running a defense somewhere. Or running a NCAA Division III team, I could see him doing that! Something fun in his 70’s and 80’s. Yeah!
GD: We gotta talk about some music. So you have a new record coming out, why did you decide to record a live album?
AA: It wasn’t a plan of mine. Last year we did the 30th Anniversary of Everclear and we toured extensively. Our last show was going to be on December 4th at The Whisky A Go-Go. About three weeks before that, I get a call from this guy Tim who used to be an A&R guy at Capitol, not my A&R guy. He said I’m working for an indie label that would love to put out your new record. I was like, absolutely not, I have no urge to make a new record. Recording a new song or two songs every year, that sounds like fun to me. It serves the fanbase and it’s fun to play something new live. But to go in and make a new album for a year and to spend every waking moment to make a new album. That’s how obsessive I get. That doesn’t sound good to me. After eleven albums, I’m done!
So he was like, “how about a live album? You guys are playing The Whisky, we could record at The Whisky.” I said, “Cool, if you give me total creative control over it, I will give you a great album.” They gave us a very short contract. My management and I crossed out three lines and added three more and said, “This is a one record deal, you’re not getting an option.” He said, “Well, what if it works and we want to do another record?” Then we do another record. I’m not crazy, if you’re selling records, I’m gonna do another record.
We recorded it that night. Tweaked it a little in January, not too much. Finished it in early March, just as I was getting back from our Australian tour. Did the artwork in March/April and there you go! We shot the whole show on video and put out the song “Heroin Girl” as a teaser. We have a new single, it was actually on my solo record, called “Sing Away” and we just shot a video for it three days ago. We got a big tour coming up with The Pink Spiders and The Ataris when the record comes out on September 8th. The tour starts September 6. Busy boys!
GD: I read that there are two new songs on this record. Are they live tracks or studio versions?
AA: Yep, they are studio. There’s a song we put out last year called “Year Of The Tiger” that’s gonna be on there and a song called “Sing Away” which like I said was on my solo record. I did it in 2019 and it was more of an acoustic song. This is a full rock song. It’s a different arrangement and it came out really cool.
GD: Excellent. Now you said you are starting up your tour pretty soon. Did you choose The Ataris and The Pink Spiders to go on tour with you, and do you know those guys?
AA: I did. I don’t know them, I just like ‘em. We got a whole lot of submissions from bands and we just liked them a lot.
GD: Very cool. You guys are going to be playing in Cleveland, like we’ve talked about, you like coming here and we love having you. You are playing the House of Blues what can fans expect from the show?
AA: You can expect a rock show. It’s a full on rock show. You can hear in the record, the reality of what Everclear has always been, and you’ve seen Everclear before, right? We are much more intense, and faster and harder live then we’ve ever been on record. That’s just the way it is. And that’s the way rock bands are supposed to be.
GD: That sounds great. I have to ask you, I know that you are a big advocate of the AA program and last year you got to go to Dr. Bob’s house. Have you spoken to students, I know you’ve done some teaching as well, but have you spoken to students about your life and your life experiences?
AA: I have. We don’t use the term AA, that’s for people in the program. We say we’re on recovery.
GD: Oh, I apologize.
AA: That’s ok, you didn’t know. I speak with people all the time. I go to beginner meetings. I’m working through the steps for the third time, and when I’m done with that, I’m gonna start running meetings and getting more involved with my life coaching. Plus, I’m working on my book, I’m making some headway with that. I got everything worked out, that I’m gonna talk about this and this and this. I’m almost done with that. Then I just have to record and type all that stuff out. I’m working with an editor that’s gonna put it all together, but he’s not writing it, I’m writing it, it’s just me. It’s intense, dude. I’ve written pieces, I’ve written stories and I’ve written columns but I’ve never ever written a book. I don’t think I ever want to do it again.
GD: Yeah, a lot of other people have said that. It’s a lot of hard work, you're pouring your guts out and you have to decide what stories to tell. A lot of musicians have said that they are one and done, it’s a pretty tough thing to do.
AA: Well, I want to write another book, I want to write a fictional book. I don’t know, man. It’s a lot of work, and I’ve worked hard my whole life. I don’t want to work that hard. Going out and playing on stage is fun. Writing a book is not fun. I like to be in that fun place. If it doesn’t bring me joy, I don’t want to do it.
GD: Great, you’ve earned it! I don’t want to take up more of your time, I hope to catch you and The Ataris and The Pink Spiders when you will be rocking the House of Blues in Cleveland.
AA: Thanks brother, it was great seeing you again. I look forward to seeing you at The House of Blues, it’s gonna be a great show.
Be sure to check out Everclear along with The Ataris and The Pink Spiders at the House of Blues on September 11.