The Most Hated Musician in Portland

Art Alexakis Speaks


Bizarrely, Alexakis is the only musician who I'd never heard anything about from my typically starfucking group of friends, and the few times I'd met him he seemed the epitome of the amenable, middle-aged, Portlander.

Then again, the sob stories he told me about his post-fame life might've had a hand in his sudden apparently uncharacteristic humility.
A little harsh. Sounds like someone has an agenda...
Ok Man, First off, Your Interview sucked major cock!

Everclear is still very relevant in the world of music, and Art, who I have met like 20 times is the nicest guy in the world... He doesn't Bullshit, and he is a true professional when it comes to music and business! I saw them about 14 times last year (I follow them around tour), and some shows were pulling a thousand plus fans in. One in particular was Aquapalooza in Lake of the Ozarks, and it had about 4000 people there. It was intense!

Portland Mercury, I think you need to find some new, un-biased interviewers who actually have some sense of what the hell they are talking about, because, obviously this guy was a fucking moron and is sad because he cant afford to feed his 3 crack babies and slut of a transvestite girlfriend.

EC for life!
Who follows Everclear on tour? Holy crap. Would not have guessed anyone did that. Art is very L.A. It's a different take on the music business from a philosophical standpoint. That is why he doesn't go over well here with the local music scene, which embraces the DIY asthetic and/or originality. However, I bet there are a lot of people who dig Everclear around here, as there are probably people in the area that like Live, Collective Soul, and Bush. Music that pretended to be down to earth, but really wasn't. Like fake wood. Why would you even have fake wood?
"Why would you even have fake wood?"

So you could build siding for your basement/amateur porn studio.

What do you consider "Real" music then, Mr. stringer? Everclear and Art is as "real" as it gets. Art left capitol Record in 04 because he hated the was the record labels had so much control of what goes down, and they greatly limit real art and creativity. So I'd say since art left that in order to pursue a more indy plan, and make much less money, that's true loyalty and true pride in his music, and not his image, or profits.

I consider Everclears music to be just as real as Nirvana or the smashing pumpkins... Thats the best man, real, raw and true rock, from the heart and in your face!
Typical Northwest douchbaggery.

"Hey, they achieved national success so they must not embody the values of our scene!"

Here's a hint: your scene is boring and trite and full of talentless hipster shitheels. And none of that is Art Alexakis' fault.
Funny thing is, i had NO idea Everclear was a Portland band [apparently] until i read this article. Otherwise, i always thought they sucked terribly & were one of the WORST of the "Alternative" bands. It's awfully lame that they're attempting [yet another] come-back, & i can't imagine who'd actually pay money to see such an awful, mediocre band.

Didn't Everclear play a show for Jenna Bush once? FAIL!
I guess no one remembers Art punched his girlfriend in the face. Art slept around on his "ex" while she was pregnant. Art moved to Portland to capitalize on the fact that every Northwest band was getting signed by majors during the Nirvana craze. Art left his Major label when the band failed to recoup the money that was advanced. Hence the money woes.
Everclear is a perfect example of how to make it and break it in the music industry. County fairs, Indian casinos and benefit concerts. Your still rock'n but without the bank "roll".
Well the one time I met Art was in an elevator and he was really nice but Ezra you come off as a dick in this interview. If that's the way Art is usually treated by the music scene in Portland then I'm not surprised he acts like a dick.
Thank you for an awesome exploration of the stupidy of social envy.
I love "I Will Buy You a New Life."

Everclear's musical mediocrity is beside the point, since the article barely gives lip service to their music and instead focuses on the author's myopic personal view of one man's personality. And anyway, "Heroin Girl" was a good song, which gives Everclear one more good song than most of the bands in Portland. There's a reason the Northwest's musical heyday was never referred to as the "Portland Scene".

and really? you think it's valid to dislike a band because they got paid to play a gig for someone who's parents' politics you disagree with? I guess bands are only cool if they play free benefit shows for PETA or some such nonsense.
"and really? you think it's valid to dislike a band because they got paid to play a gig for someone who's parents' politics you disagree with?"

It goddamn does if the parents in question are BUSHES! Many despicable dumb-asses only voted for Bush. Everclear did a concert for his kid! For that alone, they should forever be discredited!
You guys can say all you want about Everclear, but I had the opportunity to interview Art via phone this past Monday. He's one of the nicest guys in the entertainment industry I've met. I spent half the time just letting him talk. It was like talking to a friend's dad or something. In other words, not a dick.

I am a student at a small east coast university. We don't have the largest budget, but the band flew all the way from Portland to play at our school last night, and it was packed. He even dedicated a couple songs to the victims of a pretty devastating fire we had a couple weeks ago.

I really think, at least on the level of being a professional entertainer, he is top notch. They actually had to fly somewhere else a few hours after the concert (at like 4 a.m.), but Art still stuck around to talk to every single person who wanted to speak to him.

I've been a fan of the band for quite some time. The lyrics and melodies stick with me and in some cases, have a personal meaning for me. Not only that, Art may be 47 (not saying that's old, just not very young), but he can still rock.

On another note, I really think the Portland scene is top-notch in a lot of ways, whether hipster or not. The Decemberists and Band of Horses are excellent, as well as the Brooklyn-based, Portland-born band ZaZa who I had a chance to see in New York City last month.

^^^ Well maybe Art gives pleasent interviews, but apparently he's beat up his g/f before & he's an adulerter. So i don't see how he's that damned nice.
The most hated musician in Portland? What exactly did he do to deserve this hate? He wasn't caught with kiddie porn, didn't tell Portland to collectively fuck themselves, and doesn't give Kanye West-style "I'm a music god" interviews. If its because he "sold out" I say congrats. You were able to do that. I think local artists are just jealous and know they can't sell out because the opportunity will never be available to them. If you think you're "keeping it real" your actually doing anything but that.
"Some bands make the same record after record... that would be boring to me."

And his new album is re-recorded old songs. That to me seems very very close to making the same record.
Actually, i thought Storm Large was the most hated "musician" in Portland.
@DamosA -

Please explain to me what a muscian's politics have to do with what their music sounds like or what kind of person they are.

Actually, since we don't know Alexakis' politics, please explain to me how what PAYING gigs they choose to accept has anything to do with, well, anything.

I'm guessing you're one of those sad little people who's sole source of identity is which political party they identify with, which is even sadder given that they're all bought and paid for by the same interests.

Grow up.

All I'm saying is that he is very pleasant to speak to. The questions presented in this interview already assume he's a dick (see the first sentence). Art's responses actually make the interviewer look like a dick because he's a little more than nice and reasonable about the whole thing.

To be honest, it wouldn't surprise me that he cheated and beat his girlfriend. He's a troubled man, but an honest songwriter. If you listen to his music, which is very autobiographical, he says that's what happened to his mother. He had a really crappy childhood, a heroin addiction and a girlfriend who killed herself ("Santa Monica"). None of this justifies any alleged actions he may have taken, but if you can get through all that and not seem bitter all the time, that's gotta count for something.

Your comment doesn't change my opinion, and I don't see why you would care either. I already know all this stuff about him, as do many other listeners because it's in his songwriting. I just want it thrown out there: He's a nice guy in person and over the phone.

There are better ways to tackle an interview like this. There's no need to be as abrasive as this interviewer was toward Art. You'd think this was the Frost/Nixon interview by the way this interview was conducted.


Now I dont have to say it. Ugh, stories to back it up... deep.

Met Art several times, was very decent to me. I ran into him in London years back (95?) at a show and he was most gracious. They were all happy to see some Portlanders.
Having played in "cover," "alternative" and "classic rock" clubs, as well as bands, myself over the years, I have found absolutely zero difference in the ethics of hipsters, alterna-dweebs, heavy metallers, classic rockers, blah, blah, blah. A lot of people screw you over whether they were inspired by "Hard Day's Night" "Never Mind the Bollocks," etc. The bottom line is do you make good music as a musicians, and do you treat musicians well that you book at your venue? All other questions are basically masturbatory nonsense. If you don't want to "sell out" don't charge for your shows, give it away, give it away, give it away now. Art seems like a levelheaded guy who made mistakes but is still working hard. If he's alienated some people, so what? Like the Mercury never alienated anyone?
What a snarkgasm by Ezra Ace Caraeff (if that is your real name).
Are you kidding me, we don't know about Art's politics? He released a song last year called Jesus was a Democrat! He has played at the Democratic National convention twice and an inauguration party this year. He is and has always been very active and vocal about his political views. He has never played for Jenna Bush! If your gonna talk sh** at least know something about whom you are talking.
Where are some of you getting this information? Punched his girlfriend in the face?! Cheated on her when she was pregnant?!
Art does so much for Portland and what do you do for him? Spit in his face! Ezra I hope someday someone writes an article like this about you. Jerk.
I thought courtney-courtney-taylor-james-taylor or whatever his douchey name is, is the most hated musician in Portland? Or maybe courtney moved to LA?
yeah the interview is kind of standoffish to say the least.

as far as most hated, yeah he kind of is, but not because he is successful. art has burned a lot of bridges over time, including former band members who are beloved in the eyes of other local musicians (cough, Craig Montoya, cough)

i just think he seems like any other over forty dude with a mortgage and kids, only instead of insurance he sells rock and roll, which you are not supposed to be 'selling'.

whatevs, sparkle and fade was a great record when i was in middle school
I guess its "un-portland" to contribute to the pop-music canon instead of languishing in obscurity. Everclear was huge for me (and many many others) as a young person, though they don't hold the same draw now. That fact doesn't mean that Art Alexakis should be so disrespectfully berated in their home town rag. Check here for a more balanced take.…
@mel123 - calm down, dude. I didn't know (or care about) his politics, which was kind of the point. Also I was defending him, so I'm not sure why you're yelling at me about Jesus and Democrats. Go make some Ativan tea or something.
Twistinside: it's cool if you're an Everclear fan, but how can you call them relevant? That term sort of implies that they have made an impact on popular culture in the last year or two.

That said, I'll agree with what you said about Art being a nice guy. I've met him a couple times, and he really is. In fact, about ten years ago (when I was in high-school) I ran into him at the Ben & Jerry's on Hawthorne and tried to sell him a ticket to my band's upcoming show at the Paris Theater. He leaned against his Stingray alongside his wife and shot the shit with me for a good ten minutes while they ate their ice cream. He ended up buying two tickets to the show (but he didn't end up going). I think he was so nice partly because I didn't act like I recognized him.
I've hung out with Art a few times & he has always been nice. I have also hung out Craig Montoya & he was a real ass. Whiskey Dick. I saw him get knocked out by Smoochknob's lead singer for hitting his wife. Now I saw this with my own eyes so not a fake hit his wife story. The fact that we are all here writing about him says a lot. Haters you fuck yourselves!
The interviewer sounds like they need a little maturity to conduct an interview without a lot of misplaced attitude or perspective. Or maybe they just need to do a little more homework. Or maybe it's just another typical mandate from the Mercury Masters to sensationalize, be superficial and flat out ignorant on the subject matter.
Most hated musician in Portland? Really? Why? I am sure there are better people to HATE. Art is a really nice guy, in tune with his fans, and still makes time to do benefits? Why is he so hated? What did he do to you? Or the town of Portland in general?
Give me a break!!!!!!!! Seriously!!!!!!!!! Your story was written based on "hear say" and rumors (THIS IS THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY!!!) and your ingnorance to even post something like this without checking the facts just portraits your stupidity. Art is one of the sweetest most humbling entertainers in the industry. His heart is made of gold and he has the soul of an angel. You should be sued for this suck!!!!!!!!!!
I meet him in 92 and again in 98. 92 he had stars in his eyes and was no more a D-Bag than anyone else at the time. (back in 87-92 Portland scene was heroin and D-Bags) 98 he had $$ in his eyes and acting like a D-Bag. I heard him say - "I can write a bigger check than you can" I was like what?....... A D-BAG! (Money makes you who you really are and sometimes that person is ugly) But, not him! He was D-Bag then and is a D-Bag now.
Art is just another guy struggling to do the only thing he knows how to do. He's a nice guy that has a real a-hole side because of fucked up baggage. That was his excuse for a time. Now it's just reality that he'll admit to. He's weaker than many and stronger than many. He's a db to those he's screwed over and an angel to those he's helped. Sound familiar? Pretty much like humanity.
I saw Art in concert at the Summerland tour recently, and the meanest he ever got was joking at his drummer. Just because Art and Everclear got famous and have fans across the country, (because they actually are a very good band!!) and go on tours and perform shows outside of Portland, or was bankrupt temporarily, or is able to perform at larger or different stages and venues, is no reason to hate him! Admittedly, he is not a great role model for children, but have you heard his life story? He's been through a lot and pulled out more successful than the asshole writer. I respect Art Alexakis at a horrendous level, and if you don't, that's fine, but if you want to be a hater, piss off!
Saw Art at the Hardrock in Denver last spring. He may not have always been a man of principals but he is now! Threw a dick off the stage for worshiping Sheen's "winning" philosophy... was great!
After the show Art stayed around to talk and take pictures with everyone!! Like him or not his music will live forever and it ignited across this country like very few bands have!