The musical group Everclear formed in 1992 and pumped out such hits as "Santa Monica" and "Father of Mine." While the line-up has changed over the years the one consistent member has been the lead singer, Art Alexakis. With a Chicago tour date coming up, it was time for the "Wonderful" singer to talk with Windy City Tmes.
Windy City Times: Hello, Art. I saw you at the Weber Grill restaurant downtown Chicago years ago.
Art Alexakis: Oh my God, The Weber Grillwhere you cook on Webers! I'm a guy. You got a Weber Grill and meat, then I am happy.
WCT: I waited tables there for four years. What part of your tour is Chicago?
Art Alexakis: It is toward the end of the tour. We go to the southwest and Texas then hit the Midwest. This is one of our shorter tours for this record we did the East and West [ coasts ] . Then at the end we go back in the studio and record a new record.
WCT: This is promoting the last album.
Art Alexakis: Last October we put an album called In A Different Light.
WCT: Tell our readers about that.
Art Alexakis: It is acoustic version of old Everclear songs and a couple of new songs.
WCT: This is your third lineup with Everclear?
Art Alexakis: Actually, no. It is probably the fifth, but it is probably the third that most people would know of. The original Everclear lineup was before the guys that showed up in the videos. Then there was a version with Craig, Greg and my old drummer, Scott. Craig and Greg left the band in 2003. I had four new guys in the band after that and now three of them have left. The guitar player is still there and we have three new guys. One of the new guys I have been trying to get in the band since 2001, Freddy Herrera, our bass player. He's a great guy and bass player. He gave me a call when his last band broke up and it happened to work out.
WCT: It has been a rocky road to your success, correct? I watched VH1's Behind the Music.
Art Alexakis: [ Laughs ] Well, that was interesting to watch. I haven't seen that since it came out. I don't know anyone who is in a band that doesn't have a rocky road. We have had some rocky roads and some really great times. In the end we are doing really well.
WCT: What is the new album going to be like?
Art Alexakis: The next one we are going to record I have been writing for the last year or two. It's pretty rock n' roll, alternative rock. It sounds like our older stuff in some ways but some ways different. It will have the piano, organs and stuff. It will be one of the most aggressive records that I have written in years.
WCT: What do you think about the music business, currently?
Art Alexakis: What music biz? There is no music business. Everyone is running for the hills. I think it is getting back to where it should be. It is getting back to fans. People have to get out and tour to support themselves with their music. They get heard through the internet and selling mix tapes behind the gigs. It's still just as legit, cool and indie, sounds better and the fan gets more value. Music is emerging into something totally different.
WCT: I agree with that.
Art Alexakis: People who were built up in the business now have to find real jobs. That will probably be me in a couple of years but until then I am making records and having a blast.
WCT: How do you feel about your LGBT fans?
Art Alexakis: I don't care what people's orientations are. It's great that we have gay fans and all sorts of fans, if I was at church that would be a more appropriate question. I kind of wonder about gay Republicans, don't you?
WCT: It can be a conflict of interest.
Art Alexakis: I think so. I think it's like you are walking slowly towards the chopping block.
WCT: You guys have always put politics into your music.
Art Alexakis: Absolutely. I am definitely political. To be honest with you, I don't think Prop 8, gay marriage or the things your community lobbies for are political issues. We are Americans; that's where it ends. If Lady Justice is supposed to be blind, then why not towards your community? It is going to happen; it's happening, and I think it is a great thing.
WCT: It is heading towards being more legal all the time.
Art Alexakis: I went to San Francisco to see the Sex Pistols in 1978. I was barely 16 and I went with this neighbor of mine, who my mom didn't know was gay, but I knew was gay. I went to Castro with a whole group of gay guys and saw a side of the culture that I had never seen before. I was aware of Harvey Milk before most people were. It was a great experience.
WCT: Sounds like a party. Well, I have been a fan of your work for a long time and look forward to your upcoming concert.
Art Alexakis: If you can get people to come out to the show that would be great. We will have the record there and we always sign after the show. Come out and say hi!
Everclear rocks Chicago at the House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, Wed., Jan. 27. Visit TicketMaster.com or hob.com to purchase tickets.