The very first Flannel Nation is a month away and OC Music News is *tad* bit excited. The ‘90s event will feature some of our favorite artists: Sugar Ray, Everclear, Soul Asylum, Filter, Fastball, Sponge, Cracker, and Candlebox.
To get prepped, OC Music News caught Everclear’s 30th Anniversary Tour in Nashville, and the morning after the incredible performances by Everclear, Fastball, and The Nixons, we chatted with Everclear front-man/guitarist, Art Alexakis.
Alexakis, along with Freddy Herrera (bass), Davey French (guitar), and Brian Nolan (drums), is celebrating the 30-year career of the band, which includes 11 studio albums with more than six million records sold, multiple hit singles (“Santa Monica,” “Father of Mine,” “I Will Buy You A New Life,” “Wonderful” and “Everything To Everyone”), plus thousands of shows, including the Alexakis-created Summerland Tour.
In addition to discussing the milestone of a 30th anniversary tour, we talk about the release of the previously out-of-print full-length debut, 1993’s “World of Noise.”
Traci: Hey, Art. How are you?
Art: Awesome. I’m doing well. How are you this morning?
Traci: I’m tired because I was at a rock and roll show last night!
Art: Where are you? Nashville?
Traci: Yup, in Nashville right now.
Art: So you are interviewing me after the show? (laughing)
Traci: Yes and no (laughing). I’m actually getting ready for Flannel Nation in August in California.
Art: Oh, very cool.
Traci: First off, when we spoke last year, you gave me my new life motto. I’ve been following and repeating it all year: “If it is not fun, I don’t want to do it.”
Art: Absolutely. And it’s even stronger this year because I hit 60. I’ve always said this about older ladies, who are much older and their husbands have passed; these are women that grew up in the early part of the last century and grew up in the whole stay home mom thing. I just love the ladies. They just get to a place where they have been taking people’s shit their whole life, and it’s just like, “Done.” (laughing) I’m doing me. If I gotta pass gas, deal with it baby. (laughing) Grandma’s just not apologizing for anything, and I feel the same way. I’m just like, “No, you wouldn’t do this. No, don’t want to do that.” Why? “I don’t know. It doesn’t sound good.” That doesn’t spark joy, as Marie Kondo would say. It just doesn’t spark joy; that woman was right on, man. If you don’t like it, get rid of it. If you don’t love it, get rid of it. You don’t need it. Maybe it will spark joy for someone else. Maybe playing that show because I don’t want to play for a lot of money will spark joy for someone else. It’s not like I don’t need the money, because I do. (laughing) But if it ain’t fun, it’s going to make me unhappy. I’m going to make my family unhappy. I’m going to make everybody unhappy because I can’t be fake. I’m not a good faker. So I’m glad that connected with you. And have you been having fun?
Traci: I have. Absolutely!
Art: There you go.
Traci: I’ve learned how to say no to things I don’t want to do. I used to say yes out of courtesy, and now I say, “You know what? No.”
Art: It’s just that simple. You don’t have to be rude. It’s just politely, “No. Not going to do it.” It’s funny because I’m the father of daughters, and my daughter’s in the room with me, so I’ve got to make sure that I don’t say anything that will make her throw something at me. But it seems like we used to be raised to just be nice, in which being nice means being malleable and being agreeable, even if you don’t agree. And that’s such utter B.S. You don’t have to be a jerk about it, but if you don’t like something or don’t want something, “Thanks for the date. You want to see me again? I don’t think so.”
Traci: I’m proud of this younger generation because they’re saying no and standing up for themselves.
Art: Absolutely. Isn’t that great? I love the younger generation.
FLANNEL NATION FESTIVAL
Port of Los Angeles
Saturday, August 13, 2022
Traci: Going back to the motto of having fun, you guys were all doing that last night.
Art: We were having a blast. My daughter was over on the side jumping up and down, dancing too.
Traci: I know we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of the band.
Art: Yes, ma’am. We did a lot of songs. We did three songs from “World of Noise,” and we did a song from the bonus tracks. Last night was a really weird set because I wrote out a set, and I just didn’t do it. (laughing) Don’t give grandpa a whammy bar, he’s going to lose his mind! I just kept going over songs and I had “Wonderful” and “I Will Buy You a New Life,” which I can’t not play either of those songs. I can’t play them together because they’re similar, and I played them together. But there you go.
Traci: See! It’s time to have fun!
Art: There you go. No one died. We did okay.
Traci: Thank goodness no one died. (laughing)
Art: I know. That would be bad!
Traci: You just released “World of Noise” for the first time digitally. How did that come about?
Art: Well, I had been wanting to release it digitally. I mean, I own it, and it reverted back to me from Capital. We had signed with them before, and they put it out on CD and cassette. But in ‘99, there was no such thing as a digital platform, not for another 10 years, really. When the digital platforms came on, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, I wanted to put it out, but I didn’t really like the way it sounded, the version; that mastering was really high end and kind of brittle and just not great. I knew I was going to get around to doing it sooner or later. But earlier this year, in January, me and Freddy, my bassist, were going through stuff in the back, and there was this big box that had been traveling around and moved with me for years and years, and I thought it was my mother-in-law’s. I’m like, you know what, let’s just get in there and figure out what the hell is in there now. Just deal with it, because I have been not dealing with it. (laughing) We opened it up, and it was full of tapes, just full of tapes, a full trunk.
Art continued: The Everclear original masters, four-track masters and the mix masters, the band before it, Colorfinger had all that stuff. The band before that, Easy Hoes had all that. And I went and had all those tapes transferred to digital, but they had to clean them and bake them. Archivists had to deal with all of them because they’re so old. And then I listened to what I had, and the original mixed masters for “World of Noise,” (compared to the) Capital masters, and it was just night day. I’m like, “We have got to put this out.” And that’s what it came from. I started doing that in March and got it done, and it came out in June. The vinyl is going to come out probably early next year. Vinyl is backlogged anywhere from six months. Everybody wants a vinyl!
Traci: In addition to “World of Noise,” you’ve got the anniversary tour with Fastball and The Nixons, which, by the way, I was so stoked to see! I loved The Nixons big time in the ‘90s, but kinda lost touch with following them. They sounded so good last night, as did Fastball. Both of those bands sounded great.
Art: Zac (The Nixon’s front-man) lives in Nashville; he’s a big-time songwriter. He’s running a bunch of hits, and he’s had a lot of tracks cut and stuff. So that’s a day job, and we never toured with him. We played radio shows back in the day, and me and Zac have always been friendly, and we’ve been friends on Facebook for like, 10 years, and I’ve wanted to bring them out on tour. It’s just never the right time until this year. And Fastball, the guys in Fastball I’ve known for years and years and years. We’ve taken them on tour several times, and they’re just good friends. I love all three of these bands together because none of us use tracks. We don’t use Auto-Tune, we don’t use any Pro Tools, any of that stuff that most bands do. Even country bands are all super digital now, and it’s kind of crazy, but we’re rock and roll bands, and we go out and play. You get what you get. Play a couple of songs. You can’t do that with tracks because it’s all in order. We’ve never played with tracks. In theory, I know how it works, but I’m not interested. We did have fun, and what’s the mantra? “If it ain’t fun, I don’t want to do it!” Playing tethered to a beat and tracks and stuff like that, that doesn’t sound like fun. It doesn’t sound rock and roll at all. You can’t get away from it.
Traci: I will continue to live for fun.
Art: There you go. And I love what you said and I agree; young people are just not putting up with a lot of stuff that we put up with, and I think that’s great.
Traci: I know one of those strong young women, your daughter, is there with you, so I won’t keep you. I will see you next month in California!
Art: Awesome. That’s going to be a great show!
Thank you to Art for always being so “Wonderful” (I am so sorry) every time we chat. Get your copy of “World of Noise” – for the first time digitally! – and look for the Everclear 30th Anniversary Tour with Fastball and The Nixons across North America. They also have a commemorative video, “Everclear – 30 Years Gone: A Retrospective,” hosted by the legendary Matt Pinfield. And of course, Everclear and Flannel Nation, which will invade the Port of Los Angeles on August 13th. We expect it to become one of our favorite new annual festivals, so get your tickets now!