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Music Q&A: Everclear

Cult American alt-rock bands Soul Asylum and Everclear are arriving at The Waterloo on 13th November during their co-headline tour.

Marking their 30th anniversary as a band this year, Everclear have kicked things up a notch in 2022 as they celebrate the major milestone amidst a career already filled with huge achievements. After forming in Portland in 1992, The band released their full-length debut World of Noise a year later.

Amassing a range of fan favourite hits with the likes of Santa Monica and Father Of Mine, Everclear have sold over six million records, achieved four gold or platinum albums, and twelve Top 40 Singles alongside a 1998 Grammy nomination.

The current tour rounds off nearly a full year spent touring and the band will be celebrating their enduring legacy and ongoing appeal as a live band.
Singer, songwriter and guitarist Art Alexakis caught up with Blackpool Social Club ahead of their show.

What inspires your music and songwriting?
Well, a lot of things inspire my music and songwriting depending on where I’m at, where my head’s at, where my life is at. A lot of people think my songs are primarily autobiographical, but they’re not. I’d say about a third of them are, then for another third, I take different things from my life and from things I process and read and hear about. I create characters and different situations from that. And then the other third of the songs, I just make up stories, and write stories. So my inspiration lately has been political and social, with what’s going on back in the States. That’s kind of where I’m at right now.

How did the pandemic impact your music and how does it feel to be back on the road?
Well, as far as the pandemic impacting my music, I was home a lot and I was writing but I wasn’t really in a writing place, because I’d just finished a solo record the year before. And I usually write when I feel like I need to write, I don’t constantly write. I’m not one of those kinds of people that can just sit there and write on demand. That’s just not what I do. So I think it didn’t really impact my music so much.
But it feels great to be back on the road. We went back on the road in 2021 and it was fun. It was great to get back out again, and see people in the States, but there was still people that weren’t coming out because it was too soon. And I think now it feels like it’s getting back to normal.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
Well, funny, you should ask, we have a brand new Everclear song that just went to social media and we just released a lyric video, it’s called Year of the Tiger. And it’s had a lot of really favourable response. Like I said earlier, I’ve been writing politically, it’s kind of an angry political song. Musically it sounds like old school Everclear, melodic punk rock and it’s just a fun song. And it’s fun to play.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
That is a really interesting question. As far as being embarrassed, I’ll have to think about that one, I’m not really sure. I don’t know how to answer that one. Surreal experience? I haven’t really had surreal experiences since I stopped doing drugs 33 years ago. So, I don’t know how to answer that one either.

If you weren’t a musician what would you be doing with your life?
I’d be working with music or arts in some way, for sure. Or at least in the past I would. Recently I went back to college and took classes online. I’m a certified life coach in three different areas. And I’m almost done with my alcohol and drug studies, so I can work with people in recovery. I’ve been in recovery for 33 years and it’s something that’s near and dear to my heart. But coaching people who are creatives, that work in the creative industry as I have for pretty much most of my adult life, that’s important to me. And I’m going to be working with creatives as a counsellor and as an advisor and mentor and coach, and I’m looking forward to doing that. So, if I wasn’t doing music I’d probably be doing that.

What’s on your rider?
Okay, here’s a silly question. I’m from California and I’m just gonna own this. There is oat milk on our rider, yep you heard me say right now, there’s oat milk. There’s meat and cheese and all sorts of good stuff like that, pretty normal rider. But there’s oat milk. Be prepared.

What song do you wish you’d written?
Oh man, there’s so many of them. There’s so many of them. I’m gonna go obscure on this one. There’s a song by an Americana artist by the name Iris DeMent, and that song came out in the 90s.
There’s a lot of songs that I wish I’d written, from some that came way back in the day to even some more obscure artists, some famous artists. I will never tell. Nice try. You know, I think as an artist, we take those songs that we’d wish we’d written and we try not to copy them, because that’s lame and that’s not songwriting. I don’t know what that is, but that’s not songwriting. We let it sink in but we don’t tell anybody, that’d be too embarrassing. There you go. That’s my embarrassing experience. It’s people finding out that I wish I’d written everybody else’s songs.

What’s your worst lyric?
I write a bunch of bad lyrics, but people never hear them. I throw them away. I write them, I walk away from them, I come back and go: “Nope, this is not going anywhere”. I actually throw them away. So my worst lyrics are in the garbage heap. I stand by all my lyrics, pretty much, and I can’t think of any right now that gives me that cringe factor.

Are you looking forward to playing Blackpool and what else would you like to check out while you’re here?
I am looking forward to playing Blackpool, I’ve never been to that part of the coast north of Liverpool before. There’s so much history, I’m a big time anglophile when it comes to History. That goes from a rock point of view – there’s so many legendary musicians with punk rock cred from the area.
But, I’m a kid that grew up in the ’70s and I grew up as a big fan, and still am, of old school rock’n’roll like Jethro Tull too, so that’s a big deal.

What can we expect from your live show?
You’re gonna hear a rock show. We’re really grateful for being a part of this tour with Soul Asylum, and we’re not used to being the opening band, but we’re gonna go out and do our best to put on a great show and raise the bar. And I’m sure they will raise the bar as well. And you guys are just gonna get a great show. We’re gonna play a bunch of the hits, we’re gonna play all the hits. One thing that’s going to be different is we’re going to play some deeper songs, some ‘Songs From an American Movie: Volume One: Learning How To Smile’, which is our fourth album. Which was a hit in the States, but not to the extent that it was here. It was much more critically accepted here and sold better than a lot of the even bigger records that we put out. So we’ll be doing some deeper songs from that.

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
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