Happily ever after 

The Honeymoon Rock Fest is the biggest wedding reception of 2022, with more than two dozen bands performing over three days.

click to enlarge Everclear

Paul Brown, provided.

Everclear

Most people go on honeymoons, but the founders of the Honeymoon Rock Fest are bringing the honeymoon to themselves.


The festival’s founder will be wedding her husband on March 17, the day the three-day event kicks off. A who’s who of 90s mainstream rock acts, the festival runs March 18 - 20 at Remington Park.


Art Alexakis, the singer-songwriter and guitarist of the multiplatinum alternative rock band Everclear spoke with Oklahoma Gazette from his California home.


Alexakis turns 60 later this month and has been with his wife for more than two decades. He shared lots of insights about life, love and rock ‘n’ roll. Here are some of the highlights.


Oklahoma Gazette: What in the hell kind of guy who named his band after the hardest liquor in the world, pure grain alcohol, wants to talk at 9 in the morning.


Art Alexakis: The sober guy … [Honeymoon Rock Fest] was supposed to be last summer and COVID pushed it back. So it's us and a whole bunch of alternative bands from the 90s and it's a passion project for the people putting it on and I find it very fascinating to see how they're gonna pull this off. For me, it's a chance to see friends I haven't seen for a while and also a chance to just to go out and play rock and roll, which is a blessing. And being a guy who has been clean and sober for almost 33 years. I'm very much present about gratitude and about the good things that I have in my life right now. Any chance to play music with my band, and to, to hang out with them and to hang out with other people and to play music for people who like my music, man, it's just a win-win-win.


OKG: You've been doing this so long. I’ve always wondered, do people who play music for a living ever get sick of it? You've been doing this like literally your entire adult life.


Alexakis: No. [laughs] There's times when, like anything, if I'm on tour for a while, yeah, I'd like to be at home. I went through a period when I was doing a bunch of flyaway dates and my wife came to me and said, “Man, you know, it seems like you're phoning it in. It seems like you're just there because we need the money to live on and you're not feeling passionate about it.” And, at first, I was kind of pissy about that, I got all indignant and stuff but I started thinking about it. And I was. I wasn't being present. I've said this a thousand times: the kind of music I write that is very much storytelling, songs like “Father of Mine” and “Wonderful,” which really emotionally touch people, I can't phone those songs in or people aren't going to buy it. I have to connect with them. There has to be a level of passion and emphasis and intimacy that I have to put out as a singer when I perform those songs, and for my wife to tell me that was really the catalyst, what I needed, to take a couple of days and just think about it and just connect it. And that was about 10 years ago, and I haven't experienced that since … I’ve talked to other musicians who are gone through this kind of experience, especially when you're clean and sober. When you're not clean and sober, it's easy to not connect with yourself and be present. It's hard to be present when you're self-medicated, regardless of what that medication is.


OKG: You had some very, very popular songs early on that now, 30 years later, people are wanting are gonna want to hear. As far as those songs go, do you ever just go, “Damn, I do not want to play song X, Y or Z today?


Alexakis: Never. And I get really pissy with bands that will not play their hits. I think it’s disrespectful. Dig this — Not just disrespectful to the fans that want to hear it, but being disrespectful to themselves, because they wrote that song or they made that song what it was and secondly, they're being disrespectful to the song as an entity. And I'm very, very grateful to the songs and to the ability that I've been able to do that because it's transformed my life. I grew up in a fucking housing project, man. I was a drug addict. I was fuckin’ shit broke my whole life. I looked like a musician. I played in bands. But I wasn't doing it. And when I got clean and sober, I got focused. I was already damn near 40. And I knew I had to either do this or do something else. And I'm very grateful that these songs have bought me houses and divorces and a different life. I say that on stage, I go, “Here’s the song that changed my life, introduced me to the world and, let’s be honest, a couple of divorces too.” Maybe I’ll go into stand-up, who the fuck knows? … Man, stand-up comedians, that is the hardest gig in the world. It's just got to be the hardest gig in the world where you can go out and just kill one night and then the next day, do the same thing and just bomb.


OKG: Given your life experience and obviously a happy and successful marriage for you now, What advice would you give to people who are just opening that door, maybe for the first time?


Alexakis: Don't lie. Don't do anything that makes you have to lie. Don't say, do or act in a way at any time when you're not with your partner that you wouldn't act if they were sitting right next to you. Seriously. And that's hard, but that's how it works. And I wasn't willing to do those in my previous relationships. And now, not only am I willing, I look forward to it. It makes us closer. Adversarial things that happen make you stronger after you get over it. The one thing I would say is, if you get into a relationship where you fall in love, get into couples therapy then before the baggage, to reduce the baggage, all the other reasons why you're not with your ex, both because of what you’ve done and what they did. Anyway, this is turning into life coaching, I'm gonna send you a bill.
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