Saturday, May 20, 2006

Art Alexakis: Rock and Roll Greatness

Just before I crash at night I like to listen to the AM radio. Sounds like an Everclear song, doesn’t it? I check out a little talk, but not much, and then I go to the oldies on KISN. Something about hearing a classic early rock or soul song puts me in the perfect place for a blissful sleep – it’s like saying goodnight to your favorite stuff. And when a song comes on the radio that you love it’s like winning a contest. You might be within feet of the same tune in your own collection, but to hear it seemingly by chance, is still a rush.
Now the downside of KISN: Some nights they get into a lame era of pop music where record companies took their leftover schmaltzy orchestras from before and tried to get them to rock. While an eclectic play list is admirable, KISN can sometimes drift into the teenage angel/loser zone. It was during one such recent foray that I switched to FM and perused the dial.
Who should pop up but the familiar voice of Art Alexakis and Everclear doing, “Wonderful”:
“Go to my room and I close my eyes, 
I make believe that I have a new life, 
I don't believe you when you say, 
Everything will be wonderful someday”
The song jumped out of my tiny radio and filled the room. I tried to place the voice in the grand pantheon of rock greatness, and it charted extremely well. The emotional pain in the soul was undeniable. I continue to believe that Art Alexakis is as legitimate a rock and roll force as we’ve heard in the last 20 years. There’s no way he could ever pry himself into the rarified company of the Who or the Stones or the Kinks, but for those few minutes the other night, he had me convinced that this song was every bit as great.
I know Art is going through some nasty economic times right now, and I just hope Portland realizes what we’ve got here. This is rock and roll greatness. So Art, I hope everything is better someday.

Willamette Week Online | News | NEWS STORY | Starving Art (5/17/2006)


At 9:15 AM, Blogger YonderMan said...

Hearing a song you like on the radio is such a rush. Especially when you've listened to all the CD's in your car a million times and just out of curiosity turned on the radio to see if there is anything interesting. Out of nowehere you hear a tune that you havent heard since you were a kid and it just makes your day a whole lot better. The best feeling!
But I dissagree on what you consider "great" rock and roll. I agree that they were great, but what makes that so much greater then the rock of today?

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

I didn't say it was so much greater than the rock of today or any other era. I just find it weird that a guy I run into around town has done this well. Art's songs accomplish for me everything that great rock and roll is supposed to accomplish.
Thanks for writing in, Gimly.

At 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Art had the wrong kind of management. He should have been prepped from day one that someday his income would fall from $1.2 million/year to $100,000 per year. That's the nature of the business. Expect it. Maybe you'll get lucky and get beyond that trend, but when you're signed with a package deal and thrown on a bandwagon (90's grunge rock/pop, in this case), you (or at least your manager) should know the score. A good manager would meet you at the Ringside for dinner and tell you all about the virtues of Prenup Agreements before you marry as a pop star. He/she would also document well advice to save for a rainy day, just to avoid the kind of Aerosmith-Krebbs lawsuits that may come to pass, if for no other reason. I'm sorry Art is dealing with bankruptcy when he should be set for life.

I did a contentious interview with Gene Simmons from Kiss once and he said, "Time is the ultimate judge." He is right. The Who, the Stones, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Aerosmith, The Doors... Time alone will decide where Everclear belong in rock history.

At 3:54 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Everclear might have been in that company if they had come along much earlier. I thought the same thing when I used to see Robert Cray in a tavern on Stark. The tendency is to feel bad about what might have been with regards to career moves, etc...but let's not forget the incredible aspects of what really did happen.
And I don't count Art out going forward, either.
Thanks for writing in Ted.


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