Art Alexakis Visits Carson Daly
Everclear frontman Art Alexakis was on Last Call with Carson Daly on the Tuesday early morning show. Art performed from his solo work and discussed his battles with heroin in the past, as well as the new Everclear album, which he says will be out in the fall. Read on for a transcript.
Carson: And welcome back. We are rejoined now by everclear’s a a alexakis.
Dude, the first time i met — tell them the story. In San Jose, remember
that? This is back in, like, ’95, I think.
Art: Back in ’95, when we were playing a christmas show for the radio
station that you worked at as a deejay then.
Art: And we were on stage, and it was one of those revolving stages,
so basiclyly, if you weren’t done by the time your time was up, it was
like a big hook. They just threw it out there.
Carson: It was one of those crazy christmas shows where ten bands play,
and everclear was, like, my favorite, and the minute you went into the
opening chords of “heroin girl,” something triggered inside me, the alcohol,
[ Light laughter ]
Carson: Me and no-name and all the deejays there.
Art: Jumped onstage and tackled us dressed in, like, santa claus pajamas,
Carson: Yeah, for no real reason.
Art: Yeah, well, you got more than you bargained for ’cause we started
[ Ligh laughter ]
Art: We were, like, hey, you wanna jump up onstage with us? That’s fine,
but, you know, but you get what you pay for.
Carson: And the point of the story is that i saw art — i don’t know
if you remember this part. The next day in the airport, very early.
Art: You were very hung over.
Carson: Yeah, and you were on your way to l.A., And you were conducting
business, and in getting to know you, one of the things that i find sinintriguing
about you is how smart you are and how you do conduct your business so
well. And I wanna talk a little bit about your childhood. A lot of artists
talk about having a rough childhood. Yours might take the cake. Let’s go
through it a little bit. I mean, it was pretty rough, starting at 5 when
your dad left.
Art: Well, my dad — back then, when people got divorced -this dates
how old I am. I turned 40 in april. So this was, like, ’67, ’68. I was
about 5 or 6, and back then, people didn’t really know how toetet divorced
and still stay friends or at least stay friendly.
Art: So my dad — my mom left my dad because he was not a very nice
person to her and — in many ways. And she left him, so he got back at
her by leaving us. And he split to the other side of the country. And you
know, started raising someone else’s kids. But basically, they kind of
left us out in the cold, but my mom did a great job of raising us.
Carson: You started drinking when you were 8?
Art: 8 or 9, yeah
Carson: Because of that?
Art: I grew up in the housing projects. It was everybody — you know,
I just wanted to get high and make things go away.
Carson: Right. Now, how did it eslate to the actual heroin use, and
what a horrible drug that we’ve lost so many friends to, especially the
music business. But you’ve lost a brother to it. When you were shooting
up, how did that not play a pivotal role in you quitting? How could you
Art: Well, i started so young. My brother died when i was 12 from an
overdose of heroin and cocaine mixture. And you’d think I’d go the other
way, but i started using drugs even — I had daled in acid and pot and
drinking and stuff like that, but i never shot up until I was about 14.
And it’s actually kind of frightening ’cause you think about a 8-year-old
or 9-year-old drinking alcohol to get buzzed. I’ve got a 9-year-old who’s
gonna be 10 in, like, a month or two. I don’t think she’s ever tasted alcohol
except a little taste of champagne at my wedding two years ago, and she
hated it. I was just like, “god, i wish someone had dome that to me, you
Carson: Right. How eager were you to be the father that you never had
with annabelle, your daughter?
Art: Absolutely. I was very eager. I mean, I think that’s one of the
reasons. I’ve been accused by certain people of overcompensating in a lot
of ways. And I think I do, but I think i’m okay with it because it’s just,
it’s a matter of, you know — I wanna leave a legacy for her. Not just
financially, but just a legacy of respect and dignity and just pride.
Carson: Right. Do you think when you make it in the music business,
it is harder to stay away from the drugs? Or is it easier to get into it?
Because there’s an interesting debate that once you’ve made it, you have
the wherewithal and the money to maybe make choices to be away from it.
But then again, you’re submerged in it. How was it for you?
Art: Well, for me, it really hasn’t been much of a lure. I see around
me a lot of people who are huge stars who deal with sobriety very well.
And there’s people just coming up who act like huge rock stars, you know,
who might have one or two songs on the radio or something, and they’re
really living the life, trying to live up to what their ideal of a rock
stars. And I just — you know, god bless. I’m old enough that when it happened
to me, and I’ve been sober for enough years that when it happened to me,
i was basically to the point of, like, I have my daughter, I have my wife.
These are the things that are important to me. If i start drinking and
doing drugs again, i’m gonna lose my family. And that’s just the line where
every now and then, I go, “man it’s okay to have a drink, have a beer.”
Carson: Can you now?
Carson: Not at all?
Carson: Is that because heroin is such a crazy addiction that they rule
out all of what they call “trigger drugs”?
Art: It’s not just heroin or cocaine or anything like that. It’s just,
i’m an addictive personality. I just can’t do it. And I could probably
start off mellow, like, having a beer every now and then or a cigarette.
I’m the kind of person that, you know, I just draw a line in the sand.
I don’t cross it with those kind of things.
Carson: Well, i hope there are some young rock stars watching that have
a chance to hear what you have to say. You might be saving their lives.
I’m glad that you’re here, and I’m looking forward to the everclear record.
It’ll be out in the fall?
Art: It’ll be out in the fall.
Carson: And you’re gonna do something cool for us now. What are you
Art: Well, you guys asked me to do a cover song. I’m gonna break out
a song that i used to play when I was still on the street, trying to make
money back in the old days, like, right after I got sober. This is a song
by neil young called “harvest.”
Carson: Great. Thank you for being here, art.