Alexakis on Success, Solo Efforts
The Oregonian, February 12, 1999
Art Alexakis is Portland's resident rock star. As Mr. Everclear -- singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer for the chart-busting trio -- he has created one of the more powerful voices on modern radio.
Which, as you might expect, keeps him busy. The recent success of the song "One Hit Wonder" has prolonged the life of the already double-platinum album "So Much for the Afterglow" and sent the band back on the road. That road leads to a sold-out show Sunday in the Salem Armory Auditorium, so it seemed a good time to check in with Alexakis. Calling last week from an In-N-Out Burgers in Las Vegas ("Vegas is always fun in small doses," he says), he spoke about the band's first Grammy nomination and other career developments. Some excerpts:
Q: "Father of Mine" is still strong on modern-rock radio. Why is "One Hit Wonder" grabbing the baton?
A: "One Hit Wonder" is our fourth single off the record. I wanted to leave it at three, but it made sense to do one more. "Father of Mine" was a much more successful single than I thought it would be. It crossed over to pop in such a big way and appealed to a wider audience. What we wanted to do with "One Hit Wonder" was come back to our core audience and the core radio stations. This is basically for alternative radio. The video was a lot of fun to do, and I thought that visually it showed more of the band. "Father of Mine" was kind of a personal story, so it showed a lot of me. Now we agreed to do something a little sexier and more fun.
Q: You've been working on a solo album. Were you reluctant to delay that to support "Afterglow" some more?
A: No, this is the kind of problem you hope for: Your record is still selling 30,000 copies a week 70 weeks after it came out. I'm not going to argue with that.
I'm in no rush on this solo thing. This is just something I wanted to do. Capitol's been supportive, and now that they've heard some of the songs on it they're thinking, "This might sell some records, too." I just told them, "Don't give me any pressure. I'm going to give you what I think is a great record when it's done, and life will be good." So, it'll probably come out in the fall.
Q: Were you surprised by the Grammy nomination for "El Distorto de Melodica" in the rock instrumental category?
A: I was surprised by that particular nomination.
Q: What were you hoping for?
A: "God of the Universe." But they don't have that one. I thought one of the singles would get nominated, which is traditionally what happens. But I really don't care. Just to get nominated is kind of cool. We're going to go with our wives; it's going to be a lot of fun.
Q: Do you want to take the opportunity to officially dispel the rumors that circulated last summer about rancor threatening to split up the band?
A: We're getting along better than we ever have. There were a couple of shows where we just went to each other and said, "We're touring too much. This is crazy. We need some time off." And we blew off a couple of dates. But it wasn't the evil showdown people want to make it out to be. It was just that for the mental health and survival of this band, we had to take a break. Now we're back.