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Interview: ART ALEXAKIS (EVERCLEAR)

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Two decades after the release of their best-selling album ‘So Much For the Afterglow’, U.S. rockers Everclear are touring Australia once more to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the highly acclaimed album, performing the record in its entirety along with a few other favourite Everclear songs that audiences will love.

To the band’s lead singer and founding member, Art Alexakis, it’s a very special album. “I have always wanted there to be a natural evolution with each album but one thing I never wanted to do was make the same album twice,” he explains in our recent interview on the eve of their upcoming Australian tour. “A lot of people say that’s the safe way to go but I think that it’s the dangerous way to go if you’re going to have a career. I want to evolve with each album. That’s what I want to achieve.”

He recalls the process of creating the album had its share of challenges. “In ’96, I began mixing the new record, thinking it was going to sound a certain way and I already had a title for it: Pure White Evil. We recorded about fifteen or sixteen songs and then I went to mix them and it wasn’t great. My A & R guy knew I had control so he couldn’t tell me not to do that record so he said ‘You can do what you want to do. We’re going to put it out but this record is not going to do for your career what you want it to do. This is not the best record you can make,’ so I spent a couple of weeks in New York just walking around, writing songs in my hotel room and just making notes in notebooks, like how I could change the songs to make them better and, after two weeks of that, I knew that I had a new record just waiting to be created. I said ‘OK we’re going to do this, this, this and this. We’re going to get rid of these songs. I’ve got four more songs we’re going to write. And we’re going into the studio.’ We spent three months doing that and we finished the record in June of ‘97 and it came out in October ’97 and even with the imperfections that are on the record, I wouldn’t change a thing; nothing! It’s warts and all. I’m very, very proud of that.”

On this tour, Everclear will showcase the album from start to finish, playing every song including those that have never been played live before. “We’re going to perform the whole album in its entirety. It has a bunch of hit songs on it that we play a lot but there’s a few songs that we haven’t played much since the album came out and there’s one or two songs that we’ve never played until this tour started. There’s a song on there, called ‘Why I Don’t Believe in God’ and it’s a different kind of song for our set and it’s fun to play that one. There’s a lot of songs we haven’t played on this album for a long, long time. It was Everclear’s third album and, all in all, I’d say Everclear has got about two hundred and twenty songs recorded so it’s been quite a career for sure. I’ve been very blessed to be able to make music my whole life. Both my daughters have never known me to do anything else. This is all that Daddy’s ever done.”

Art started the band in 1992 and he says that “It’s just evolved over the years and I’m still doing it.” But he also has plans to release a solo record which is something he says he has never done before. “But I’ve always wanted to do a solo record where it’s just me playing the tunes. It will be different (to Everclear) in some ways but they are still my songs and it’s still my voice so it’s not going to be that different but there won’t be big guitars so it’s probably going to have a different vibe than Everclear.”

His love of music goes way back to his childhood and The Beatles were an early inspiration. Art says he knew, from the time he was four years old, that this was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.  “I wrote a letter to Santa when I was four and I asked for a guitar, a microphone, a drum set, an organ. Even then, I was a control freak. I wanted to do it all! And it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do with my life; make music. It had a lot to do with The Beatles, seeing The Beatles on TV when I was a kid. There was nothing like it. It was like an electric shock.”  He says that his whole family was very musical and that rubbed off on him as a small child. “Everybody was always singing or doing something and my brother was playing in rock bands from the time he was about thirteen and I was a little kid so from the time I was about three or four, it was the thing that I wanted to do. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to play music. I’m very blessed.”

Everclear tour Australia in September/October.

Get full tour details here: https://www.everclearmusic.com/tour/

 

 

by Sharyn Hamey

 

Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2017.  All rights reserved

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