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What up with Everclear?

Once considered 'neo-Nirvana,' group to headline downtown

Once considered 'neo-Nirvana,' group to headline downtown

October 23, 2008|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

We were hoping frontman Art Alexakis could fill us in on what Everclear has been up to because the band is getting top billing at this year's Downtown Live! 2008 Music and Arts Festival in downtown Hagerstown on Saturday.

And he did -- kind of.

Though Alexakis is a known fan of politics, there was little politicking about what he thinks is on the minds of Gen X'ers in a historical election year. And not much more on why Everclear just put out a new single called "Jesus is a Democrat."

The interview devolved after an awkward line of questioning -- from his end.

But despite his abbreviated phone interview with a lowly feature reporter, there were some things we can say for sure about Alexakis and Everclear.

Alexakis has kept the attitude. But his approach to music has changed.

"Right now I'm looking out more," Alexakis said.

Alexakis, a 46-year-old father of a teenager and a toddler, said he's turning his attention to what's going on in the world.

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"I think we're in the most divisive year of our lifetime," Alexakis said. "I think it's more divisive since 1968."

This is a shift from the band's earlier recordings, which reverberated themes of growing up with an absentee dad (see "Father of Mine") and battles with drug use (see "Heroin Girl") -- things Alexakis experienced in his personal life.

The band's fanbase still seems to connect with Alexakis -- whether he's looking outward are inward. As one fan posted on the band's homepage in May: "fact is, i still cant find my mom. but every time i think about the good that can come of finding her. i think about the good songs you wrote about livin with and without the things that can make huge impacts on your life."

Everclear started off as a West Coast trio during the early 1990s. The original lineup built up a fan base on alternative radio and eventually got the attention of major media outlets like MTV. Early on, music critics acknowledged the band's ability to connect with Gen X'ers in heady days of grunge. A Rolling Stone reviewer called Everclear a "neo-Nirvana trio" that filled the void created after death of Kurt Cobain.

Everclear's latest album, "The Vegas Years," is an album of covers the band recorded before. The album is a collaboration between the band and its former label, Capitol Records.

The band, still unattached, split with Capitol before putting out "Welcome to The Drama Club" in 2006, which was pegged as a break-up album. Two of the bandmates split. There was also drama in Alexakis's personal life. Just before the record, his mother died, he got divorced and declared bankruptcy.

During the phone interview, Alexakis said "Welcome to The Drama Club" was a flop, but Everclear has bounced back.

As of late, Alexakis has been coming up with new material and has plans to get back in the studio. If the band's most recent single "Jesus is a Democrat" is any indication, it seems his musical energies are focused on going after The Man.




If you go ...



WHAT: Downtown Live! 2008 Music and Arts Festival

WHERE: Hagerstown Square, at the intersection of Washington and Potomac streets

WHEN: 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25

COST: $29. Go to www.downtownlivehagerstown.com for tickets.

MORE: All ages welcome; must be 21 or older to drink. Lounge chairs, coolers and pets are prohibited. More than 60 arts and crafts vendors and a free children's area. The festival will benefit Washington County Historical Society.

o Click here for information on street closings for Downtown Live!

Schedule

1 p.m. -- The Fox Hunt

2 p.m. -- Vs The Earth

3 p.m. -- Jimmie's Chicken Shack

4 p.m. -- Soja

5:30 p.m. -- Carbon Leaf

7 p.m. -- Sister Hazel

8:30 p.m. -- Everclear

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