The 2010 Vans Warped Tour has just finished a run of over forty show in less than two months on August 15th in Hillsboro, Oregon. The punk rock festival concluded its 16th year in a row, making it the longest running music festival in North America.
This year, fewer traditional punk rock bands were on the tour, while more screamo and post-hardcore groups were in the spotlight. Portland’s own Everclear was invited to play the final four shows on Warped Tour this year. We caught up with founder and frontman Art Alexakis just before the band went on to play the Legends Stage at the festival’s final stop. We asked him about his thoughts on the present state of the tour, as well as what’s new for Everclear.
dampfang.com: What’s your impression of the Warped Tour?
Art Alexakis: “I think the Warped Tour is Awesome. I came to it with my daughter several times when she was growing up… my oldest daughter; I have two daughters. I’ve got friends that have played in a lot of bands, so I’ve been to it, but I’ve never played it.
It changes every two or three years. It’s like all the screamo bands that are really prevalent now, they weren’t around and they were relegated to the small stages. Four or five years ago you just didn’t hear of them, but now they’re kind of the flavor of the week. We’ll see what happens three years from now. But it seems like there’s an undercurrent of a lot of younger bands who are writing songs and singing and have a kind of an old school punk rock spirit. It’s cool.”
Examiner: So here we end up in Hillsboro, right outside of where Everclear started…
Alexakis: “Don’t say winding up in Hillsboro. I don’t want to wind up in Hillsboro.” (smiles)
Examiner: (Laughing) Okay. Is it weird for you to play for a crowd that wasn’t even born yet when World of Noise came out?
Alexakis: “Part of it, but I’ve talked to about fifty people today who are like old school Everclear fans that came out specifically to see us play. So, I think it’s a mixed bag like most of our crowds are. It’s anywhere from fifteen to fifty. But there are a lot of kids that were in diapers when we were born, for sure.”
Examiner: We were proud to have you here in Oregon when you hit big, and we called you our own. What kept you here after you became successful?
Alexakis: “Raising my daughter, Anna. I love living here. The quality of life is wonderful here. I didn’t plan on moving anywhere else, and I never thought of it really until later. She’s going to college now. I had to be here for my kid. It could have been anywhere, it could have been Kentucky. Luckily, it was Portland. Portland’s an awesome place to be.”
Examiner: Many of your songs are very personal and honest. Do you get any feedback from people telling how your words resonate with them, with songs like Father of Mine or Wonderful?
Alexakis: “Yeah, I do. I get a lot of people who tell me some really nice things that they give me credit for, which isn’t really fair because the credit belongs to them. I was just sharing a story of mine, whether it’s autobiographical or not. In the case of Father of Mine it is, but not all my songs are autobiographical. But they all come from somewhere personal.”
Examiner: Did your own father ever try to contact you after you became famous?
Alexakis: “Oh yeah, of course. I talk to him every now and then. I’m not going to hang up on my dad. I mean, he keeps trying to have a relationship with me, and I don’t want a relationship with him. I’m just past it. I just don’t want a relationship with him. He tried to add me on Facebook. (laughs) True story. Funny.”
Examiner: Do you have any free time? I mean, you’ve been to Iraq to meet the troops, you did a solo tour supporting Musicians on Call, you’re acting…
Alexakis: “I’m constantly working, even when I’m at home.”
Examiner: Do you like acting a lot?
Alexakis: “Yeah, I like acting, but I like filmmaking better. I went to film school. I want to make films. It’s just a way in, so it’s just a foot in the door. But I like acting when I can pick my own roles, and I do. It’s fun. I like being creative, and it’s a creative process.”
Examiner: So what’s next with Everclear?
Alexakis: “Everclear are going to make a new record and put it out next year. It’s a rocker. It’s a guitar record. I’m excited to get it out, they’re great songs.”
Time will tell what the new album will sound like, but Alexakis hints at something that could resemble the band’s original full length release, World of Noise, which has a heavier and more straight forward sound than Sparkle and Fade, which put the group on the radar of mainstream America.
Despite lineup changes and side projects, fans can rest assured that Art Alexakis, the driving creative force that is Everclear, will deliver. In the meantime, we’ll just have to wait.
For more on Art Alexakis and Everclear, go to the official website at http://www.everclearonline.com