Art Alexakis

from Ultimate Classic Rock:

Rock band Everclear include a cover of the Steve Miller Band song “The Joker” on their recently released Return to Santa Monica album.

It’s never a good sign when a band includes the name of their biggest hit in an album title over a decade later — raise your hand if bought Golden Earring’s “The Continuing Story of Radar Love” — but the ’90s rockers plunge even deeper by including what many will feel is a disrespectful recreation of a classic.

Lead singer Art Alexakis takes a William Shatner approach to the song, turning the lyrics into a spoken word essay on what’s good and not-so-good in his life. Among the poetic gems he works around Miller’s original lyrics:

  • “I almost love you more than I love food, and I really love food.”
  • “I like to eat, I like to have sex and I like to hang out with my friends.”
  • “I am a middle aged man with bleach blonde hair, a lot of tattoos, one nipple piercing because the cat took out the other one, I’ve got a baby and kid and college … “
  • “Who are they anyway? They are the people from high school that made all of our lives miserable. The football players, the head of the cheerleaders who’s now 42 years old and she works at Hooters.”
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Brian Boone: Can this guy go 10 minutes without talking about high school?

I’m from Portland, where we have a saying: “Fuck Art Alexakis.”

Jeff Giles: I assumed Return to Santa Monica was a repackaged version of the last album of re-recordings they did. This sounds even worse.

Michael Parr: It makes me sad that I ever liked them.

Dave Steed: I’m simply amazed that Everclear released a new album and I had no clue at all. Not even one inkling it was coming out.

And wow, that’s just terrible. I mean, the spoken part is kind of funny — I’m more appalled at all the layering in the chorus. That’s really, really bad.

Boone: Art is forever trying to re-grab that small modicum of commercial success, which in his brain translates to Everclear being as big as Nirvana, or at the least the Foo Fighters. That said, their first album, World of Noise is fantastic; the major-label Sparkle and Fade holds up as a pretty solid ’90s rock album, too. He’s just so…ugh, with the not aging gracefully, the awful treatment of his peers, the neverending issues, the cheesy covers of far too popular songs, etc.

Giles: From Art’s Wikipedia page:

On January 4, 2005, Alexakis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California. According to the filing, Alexakis owed a federal tax bill for the years 1999, 2001 and 2002 of $2.75 million, as well as nearly $230,000 to the Oregon Department of Revenue and more than $120,000 in credit card debt spread over several accounts. As a result of the bankruptcy, he sold all his rights to the previous Everclear catalogue in order to pay some off.

To his credit, I guess, he’s never made any bones about the fact that he felt like he’d served his time in the trenches by the time Everclear hit, and once he honed in on the sound that got them on the radio, he was very open about wanting to keep them there.

Boone: Nothing more depressing than when a guy sells out and fails at it. Staying on the radio is fine, but you have to tweak your sound as the years go on. He cynically remains stunted, stuck in 1995 forever.

Dw. Dunphy: Strangely, most of Everclear’s greatest hits already sound like “The Joker.”

Dave Lifton: No, that’s Sheryl Crow’s “Leaving Las Vegas.”

Dunphy: I will buy you Las Vegas, some people call me Maurice. It’s all relative.

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