Portland, Ore., rockers Everclear stormed Pontiac’s Clutch
Cargo’s last Tuesday, cranking out a blistering hour-and-a-half set
of raw, unadorned rock and roll. Although touring in support of
their latest release, Slow Motion Daydream, their most
favorably-reviewed album to date, the band performed an eclectic
set containing songs from each of their six records.

Todd Weiser
Courtesy of Capitol Records

Everclear lead singer/guitarist Art Alexakis and drummer Greg
Eklund took some time before the show to speak with The Michigan
Daily.

The Michigan Daily: Your new album sounds really natural as a
follow up to the two American Movie discs. What was the process of
writing and recording it like?

Art Alexakis: Well, to be honest with you, from our perspective,
it combines all the records. There’s definitely a more guitar
immediacy there than what we had in Volume 1 and even in Volume 2.
I think Volume 2 had a more riff rock feel to it; this has more of
a classic Everclear, if you can call it that, kind of feel.
Lyrically, I think it’s the most mature record that we’ve made.
It’s definitely the most sociopolitical. It’s going to piss some
people off. But it’s also got more sense of humor, I think, than
any of our records. I mean, we’re all kind of smartasses. We’re
older than the average band and what we keep saying is you have to
be able to laugh at yourself and the world around you.

TMD: The first half has a little more irony, and it’s more
pessimistic. Then somewhere around “Science Fiction” things start
to get more optimistic, more hopeful. Intentional or a happy
accident?

AA: It’s a happy accident. I think the characters go from very
narcissistic and nihilistic with songs like “I Want to Die a
Beautiful Death.” That’s just pure fuck you, fuck your politics – I
want to get high, get laid and go out with a bright flash. The
character in “How to Win Friends,” is so battered and brutalized
emotionally that he can’t even trust the blue sky. I do think it
seemed natural for songs with a little bit more light to be at the
end.

TMD: What do you guys think is the best song on the album and
what is your personal favorite? Any difference?

Greg Eklund: I think “New York Times” is my favorite. I don’t
think of it in terms of intellectual and favorite, it’s one in the
same for me.

AA: I think the best song on the record is probably “New York
Times.” I feel like when I wrote that song and we recorded it, it
tied everything together. I gotta say “TV Show” is really a strong
song to me – there’s a lot of power there.

TMD: What’s your lineup for this tour? I’ve seen you guys with
an extra guitarist, extra percussionist.

AA: Keyboard player. On this tour we just have another guitar
player, Jeff Trapp. This is the best crew we’ve ever had. Everyone
gets along well, and we just have a good time.

GE: We also tried to strip it down, to make it more about the
songs rather than trying to duplicate all the other stuff in the
studio. Our records have always been way more produced than we are
live and we just want to go out and be a four piece rock and roll
band again.

TMD: You guys are touring in support of your new album, but what
kind of sets are you playing?

GE: We’re doing songs from every record. We have so many records
now that if we did all the songs that everyone wanted us to do, it
would be like a Bruce Springsteen show.

AA: Yeah, and no one wants to see that.

GE: We are doing a lot of stuff that even hardcore fans haven’t
seen.

AA: We’re doing “Fire Maple Song” off our first album, (and)
“Learning How to Smile,” Craig’s playing keyboards and Jeff’s
playing guitar and Greg’s taking a piss break.

GE: That’s my piss break.

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