Rock fans will get a shot of Everclear when the band plays the DeJoria Center
‘Live at the Whiskey a Go Go’ was released earlier this month
Everclear with The Ataris and The Pink Spiders
- When: 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 29
- Where: The DeJoria Center, 268 Spring Drive in Kamas
- Web: highstarranch.com/dejoria-center
Art Alexakis, founder, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter of Everclear, didn’t mince words when he thought about celebrating his band’s 30th anniversary last year.
“It means that I’m really, really old,” he said with a laugh. “I started the band when I was 30, and it means I’m 61 now.”
Alexakis also looks at the band as a thing of pride.
“To do something for 30 years and still do it, I think you could call it your life’s work, right?” he said. “It’s what I wanted to do ever since I was 4 years old and saw The Beatles on TV. And while it’s had some ups and downs, like anything in life that matters, overall (it’s) been one of the most gratifying, satisfying and fun things to do. I’m 61 and I still play guitar and sing in a rock ‘n’ roll band that people pay money to see. I’m so blessed for sure.”
Everclear fans will be able to share Alexakis’ excitement when the band, which also features guitarist Davey French, bassist Freddy Herrera and drummer Brian Nolan, plays Friday, Sept. 29, at the DeJoria Center at High Star Ranch in Kamas. The Ataris and the Pink Spiders will open the show at 7 p.m.
“We just started the tour a week ago, and we’re about six shows in,” Alexakis told The Park Record last week. “It’s going really well, and the shows are phenomenal. When we get done in December, we will have done 97 dates, and we might get more.”
Playing live is the reward for the traveling, which, Alexakis says, is taxing.
“We play big places and little places,” he said. “I remember doing a private solo gig in a bar like eight or 10 years ago. It was just a bunch of bored convention people, but halfway through I had people just rocking out to it, even with just me on the acoustic guitar.”
The songwriter says the words are inspired by his own experiences, his friends’ experiences, his thoughts and views on life.
“I love storytelling, and I love people who tell stories — singer-songwriters, movie makers,” he said. “Since I tend to write from a first-person point of view, some people will get the idea sometimes that all my songs are autobiographical. But the truth is that one-third of my songs are autobiographical. Another third is inspired by things that I’ve heard about or things that I’ve talked with people about. And the other third are songs where I come up with a story and a narrative, and just write it. If I can do all three and you, as a listener, can’t tell the difference, then I’m doing my job.”
Alexakis was able to create two new stories for Everclear’s new album, “Live at the Whiskey a Go Go,” which was released on Sept. 8.
The album, composed of 15 tracks from the band’s live show recorded Dec. 1 at the iconic Sunset Strip venue in Los Angeles, features two new original songs — “Year Of The Tiger” and a new single, “Sing Away.”
“We recorded 19 tracks during the live show, and we did the studio tracks a few weeks after,” he said.
The idea for the live album came after Everclear had booked the show at the Whiskey, where bands such as The Doors and Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention caught the attention of record labels, according to Alexakis.
“I grew up in L.A. and I remember going to the Whiskey and hanging with bands and friends,” he said. “I’ve been there literally hundreds of times. But none of the bands I was in, that I can remember, have played there. So, when we got offered to do shows at the end of the 30th anniversary tour last year, I didn’t care about the money. I just wanted to play there.”
Three weeks before the show, Alexakis got a call.
“It was from a friend of mine who is now working for a big independent record label called Boulevard Records, and he asked if I wanted to record an all-original record,” he said. “I said I wasn’t interested, because at this point of my life, in my career, spending a year making a record just doesn’t sound fun to me. And after COVID, if something doesn’t give me joy, I don’t want to do it.”
Then the friend asked Alexakis to consider recording a live album.
“He said, ‘You’re playing the Whiskey, and they are all set up for recording,'” Alexakis said. “I was like, ‘That is not a bad idea.'”
So, Alexakis reached out to producer Jim Kaufman.
“Jim and I have a great working relationship, and the band loves him,” he said. “I told him to bring his stuff down to the Whiskey to record this.”
As a precaution, Alexakis wouldn’t let the record label commit any money to the recording.
“I did that because I wasn’t going to release it if I didn’t like it,” he said. “But we recorded everything, and I liked what we got.”
The label asked for 15 live tracks.
“We delivered those and then went to Australia where we worked on the studio tracks,” Alexakis said. “It came out really great.”
Alexakis has learned how to hold on to appreciate the good things throughout his life. And he says a big part of that is thanks to his two daughters and wife who have been his rock.
Alexakis leaned into that support in 2016 when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“I had been in a car accident after my brakes froze up in the rain,” he said. “I went into the back of a parked car, and thankfully no one got hurt.”
Two weeks after the accident, Alexakis began to feel what he thought was a pinched nerve in the back of his neck.
“I got an MRI and showed up at my doctor’s office, which is a little room that gets crowded with two people,” he said. “There were five people in there when I walked in. And when they saw me, they all stopped talking. So I knew something was pretty serious.”
The doctors had looked at his MRI and told him they were pretty certain he had M.S., and after going through more tests, the diagnosis was confirmed.
“I was told I had it and probably had it for the past 20 years,” he said. “So I called my wife and we both started bawling, because most people don’t know what M.S. is and what it entails. So it’s pretty scary.”
By the time Alexakis got home, his wife had done some research.
“It looked like she tried to hack into Fort Knox,” he said, laughing. “She had my computer, her computer and our daughter’s iPad out. And she told me, ‘Babe, we got this. We’re going to be OK.'”
The diagnosis, along with contracting COVID-19 and pneumonia within the past few years, has given Alexakis a deeper perspective of life.
“I’ve had adversity for most of my existence, and I honestly believe adversity is what keeps us human,” he said. “We don’t necessarily enjoy it when we’re going through it, but it’s something that keeps us present and focused and keeps us trying.”
BalletNext opens the curtain on “Nutcracker’s Greatest Hits,” which features a Park City twist, on Wednesday.
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