CCM had the opportunity to sit down with Art Alexakis, lead singer of the 1990s rock band, Everclear, to talk about the music business, touring and even a little bit of food.
You’ve been in the music industry for more than 20 years, in your opinion how has the industry changed over time and do you like where it’s headed?
A: Well it’s changed so much in the time that I’ve been involved in the music industry; I don’t really think it’s an industry anymore it’s a business.
A lot of the major labels are owned by huge multinational corporations that don’t really care about art or anything, or really making money in a big way, they don’t invest in to bands they don’t develop bands.
I felt a lot of bands including Everclear, Aerosmith — There’s thousands of bands that wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for being developed over a series of albums.
Making better albums that were different, just honing to the point where they made a Joshua Tree or a Sparkle and Fade. I made two or three indie albums with different bands and one with Everclear before I made Sparkle and Fade or before I made Afterglow. It was development and that’s exciting — it’s the evolution of an artist.
Do I like where it’s going? Yes and No. I like the do-it-yourself aspect of social media and the internet and being able to use that. I look forward to people developing and making it more user and band and artist friendly as time goes on.
I don’t like where it’s going to the point of that no one throws money into it anymore. It’s just the way our society is, run by the one percent of the one percent.
Your music has impacted a lot of people, what song or album of yours has been the most inspiring to you?
A: You’re asking me to choose between my children, but I’d have to say “So Much for the Afterglow” or the one that came right after it.
Our new record is probably one of my favorite records we’ve made. It’s a rocker; it’s so much fun to play.
What inspires you to keep making music?
A: I don’t know, life, it’s what I do. I’m really not good at anything else, but I think I’m good at writing songs. I teach songwriting at small school in Los Angeles.
What I teach is the creative passion part of it, how to pull that creative passion within you, if you have it. A lot of people just don’t have it and I don’t think you can learn that.
I just love the business love what I do, and if I wasn’t doing this I’d be a manager or running a label or something.
I love the fact that I’m 52 and still playing in a rock band -- it’s awesome, why would you stop?
Do you miss the 90s?
I had a good time in the ‘90s, but no. I’m not really one of those people that, like reminisces. There’s a healthy dose of nostalgia, you know, I’ll hear a song an old Beatles song, that will take me back to an image of where I was at that time. A lot of my music will do that and music from the 90s will do that.
What was your inspiration for having formed the Summerland Tour?
A: Two things, really. I wanted to showcase all these bands that have huge hits in the 90s and were great bands but that were still bands, you know?
They were still playing, still making records. Not because they were getting played on the radio and making so much money, they do it because they had to — because it was what was inside of them and they couldn’t do anything else.
Secondly, I wanted to give a tour to the fans that would have a lot of hits, a lot of new songs by cool bands and a lot of value.
What's your favorite thing about touring?
A: Sleeping in my bunk. Anyone will tell you, they look claustrophobic but it’s like a womb. I sleep better on tour than I do at home.
What makes your tour unique compared to others?
A: I think the criteria that I impose on it. A lot of the other tours with 70s, 80s, 90s bands (I call them ‘Mothball Bands’) they don’t really play very often. They sit at home, wait for their royalty checks and come out in summertime and just play their hits.
All these bands, including us, are still bands that write songs and record them and still chase the carrot and still have the fire in our belly, and that’s different.
What’s next for you?
A: I’m going to go get dinner.
No, we’re got the new record coming out, so I’ve got to put some finishing touches on the record; we’ve got 10-11 shows for the rest of the year, maybe more. I’m working on a book, working on a radio show, just staying busy.