Art Alexakis (Everclear)
By: Nicole Juliette Hetlyn
Everclear has been making our favorite rock songs for the past 30 years. What better way to celebrate summer than to reunite Everclear, Marcy Playground, and Local H?! We caught up with Art Alexakis to talk about the Summerland Tour, as well as life experiences, songwriting, being present, and the "next chapter."
You're gearing up for you Summerland Tour, we’re really excited to hear more about that!
This is our seventh year doing the Summerland Tour, and we’re really excited to have the bands that we have (Marcy Playground and Local H). We don’t use tracks, computers, or any kind of drum beats; you’d be amazed at what these bands can do. It’s just rock ‘n roll.
What led you to starting this as an annual 90’s rock n roll tour, instead of just a one time festival?
I feel that the need for this is what made it happen. I know that other people had been talking about it, and in 2011 I said, “it’s time for this.” I had people asking us all the time what’s going on out there, and there are so many great bands. It’s a great way for us to do what we do, while making people happy. No one is getting rich off of it, no one is getting poor off of it. We’re going out and playing music that is very valid and relevant still, and making people happy; ourselves included.
Your Summerland setlist typically includes fan favorite, such as “Santa Monica” or “Father of Mine,” as well as some of the deep cuts. With such a colossal discography, how do you choose what songs go into each set list? Are there any that are your personal favorites or “must have” choices?
There are definitely “must haves,” we have to play “Heroin Girl.” This year, we are digging even deeper, since a lot of fans asked for songs we enjoy playing but haven’t played in a while, such as “Summerland” and “The Twistnside” off of Sparkle and Fade; Learning How to Smile and songs from So Much for the Afterglow; “Rockstar.” We’re going deep.
Your album “Black is the New Black” hit it’s three year anniversary yesterday. It’s one of my favorite records of yours, I like it’s darker/heavier sound, and the honest, vulnerable lyrics. What led to this shift, and changing the dynamics?
The lyrics have always had vulnerability to it, I think that it’s just a little more seasoned. This is coming from a guy who was in his early 50’ when I made that record a few years ago. As you get older, you’re a lot less afraid and it’s easier to dig up the dark stuff. On that record, there’s a song called “You,” which is about me being abused as a kid. I don’t think I could’ve wrote that then, I wasn’t talking about that when I was younger. Writing “Father of Mine” was hard for me at the time. I think that things come when they are supposed to come. It is what it is. I was actually talking to someone about this earlier, a lot of it is just about being present. Being present is huge. I counsel people and life coach people with 12 steps. I always tell them to be present, be in the now. No bullshit to yourself, no bullshit to the world out there. You’d be amazed how simple the world gets. Not necessarily easier, just simpler and more straightforward. This will help you years down the line as well.
Looking back at the past 20 years of Everclear, what is something that current Art would tell 30 year old Art?
Lighten the fuck up! (laughs). I say that to myself all the time. Be present, be grateful, and enjoy things. I had put my “blinders on” so that I wouldn’t be distracted or paying attention to hoopla that was going on, but I did. I went through a couple of marriages, got caught up in all that crap. I would say don’t marry your first and third wife, marry your second, and end up with your fourth. Both of those wives gave me my daughters, so I can’t regret those. My fourth marriage is stronger than ever and the best friendship, best relationship I have ever had. I think that a lot of that is growing up as well.
What can we expect next from Everclear? Any new music or tours that you can talk about?
I’m actually in the process of making my first solo album, which will come out this fall (October/November release). I have about 7 or 8 songs completed, and a few more to finish. I’m hoping for 10 or 11 songs. It’s all me playing everything; mostly acoustic guitars, but there will also be drums and bass. It will be me on every instrument. I’m really excited.
[ You can get an access pass + exclusive content to Art’s solo album HERE ]
Summerland Tour 2018:
5/17 - Gas Monkey Live - Dallas, TX
5/18 - River Road Ice House - New Braunfels, TX
5/19 - Buck's Backyard - Buda, TX
5/23 - Topgolf - Nashville, TN
5/24 - Buckhead - Atlanta, GA
5/25 - Mavericks - Jacksonville, FL
5/26 - Abacoa Ampitheater - Jupiter, FL
5/31 - Electric Factory - Philadelphia, PA
6/02 - Dr. Pepper Park at the Bridges - Roanoke, VA
6/03 - The Paramount - Huntington, NY
6/05 - Irving Plaza - New York, NY
6/06 - Jergel's - Pittsburgh, PA
6/07 - Piere's - Fort Wayne, IN
6/11 - London Music Hall - London, ON
6/13 - House of Blues - Cleveland, OH
6/14 - The Intersection - Grand Rapids, MI
6/15 - Indian Crossing Casino - Waupaca, WI
6/16 - The Forge - Outside Street Fest - Joliet, IL
6/17 - Crossroads KC - Kansas City, MO
6/18 - Brenton Skate Plaza - Des Moines, IA
6/22 - Showbox Sodo - Seattle, WA
6/24 - Crystal Ballroom - Portland, OR
6/27 - Ace of Spades - Sacramento, CA
6/28 - Fonda - Los Angeles, CA
6/29 - House of Blues - Anaheim, CA
6/30 - Fremont Street Experience - Las Vegas, NV
7/01 - The Cave - Big Bear Lake, CA
For tickets, VIP, merch, and more information, visit the OFFICIAL WEBSITE.