An Exclusive Interview with Art Alexakis of Everclear: Their 76th Show of 2021 @ Pappy & Harriet’s

By Tricia Witkower

When Art Alexakis of Everclear plays his show at Pappy + Harriet’s on November 20, it will be the 76 th show the band has played this year. 2021 was a rough year for him – he caught Covid-19 and, exacerbated by his MS, spent two weeks in the hospital. But he’s back to doing what he loves in front of the fans who love him. “I’ve never actually been to Pappy & Harriet’s!” Alexakis tells me. “I’ve seen it in videos when McCartney played there or some of the Coachella after shows.” He has heard nothing but wonderful things. Despite never having been to the venue, he’s spent time in Joshua Tree. “Back in the 70s and 80s, I’d go camping there. I spent a lot of time up there and it’s a very spiritual place. I love the vibe over there.”

I shared with Alexakis that when I told my friend I was interviewing him, she immediately launched into the song, “Father of Mine”, and went on about how it related to her life, and how much it meant to her. I asked him if he got a ton of that: people wanting to tell him their stories and how they relate to his music. “Damn near every day!” he chuckles. Just that morning, he had been noticed at Starbucks (even with a mask, glasses, and hat) and the man thanked him for writing “Father of Mine” and told him his story. Instances like this happen all the time to him, not that he minds. “I feel very humble and grateful. A lot of people are apathetic about their hits. I think they’re embarrassed by them. To be hip, they feel they need to be embarrassed. I’ve never felt like that. I’ve been blessed and I’m grateful. I always have to be present when I perform that song. Most of my songs you can’t phone in. Those are the type of songs I try to always write.”

This humility and gratitude are crucial to who Alexakis is as an artist and a person.

He says, “It makes me feel happy that I’m of service to people. I’m 32 years sober and being of service to people is a huge part of my 12-step program.” The gratitude continues when I ask him what his favorite aspect of being an artist is. “I am 59 years old, and I get to play guitar and sing in a rock band. Most people dream about it. It was a dream for me, and I made it happen. I’ve been doing it most of my adult life. I’m proud of that, and at the same time, very grateful for it. I’m my own boss. I don’t sit in a room every day or have deadlines. I get to spend a lot of time with my family and friends. I’m blessed – so blessed. The best thing is I get to play guitar for a living.”

This magical desert has a burgeoning music scene for up-and-coming artists. Alexakis’ advice for them? “The one thing I tell people is always be your own worst critic, but always be your own biggest cheerleader, too. It may sound like a platitude, but don’t give up. If you do, someone else who won’t give up will make it happen. It might not happen for you, but it for sure won’t if you give up.”

For those who are vaccinated or have a negative covid test (you’ll need one or the other to attend the show per Pappy + Harriet’s protocol), Alexakis promises, “It’s gonna be a fun rock n roll show. People singing the words, just a lot of people who grew up with Everclear.”According to Alexakis, they are getting a lot of teens and 20-year-olds at their shows, making up roughly 20% of the audience. Why? “People gravitate to good music whether they grew up with it or not. I like to think that’s true. People are fascinated with rock n roll and there’s not a lot out there. So, they’re going back to 90s music. We’re all in our 50s, I think we’re in pretty great shape. I’ve stopped dyeing my hair – I’m rocking the silver fox, my wife loves it.”

Everclear performs at Pappy & Harriet’s, Saturday, November 20th, along with Wheatus, of “Teenage Dirtbag” fame. Please go to https://pappyandharriets.com/event/everclear/ for tickets and be sure to read the covid protocol requirements.

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