E from Eels said I could call him Mark.
In his two-decade career, the driving force of the California fivepiece has wedged the letter between his personal and professional lives. On his intimate 11th album released last month, The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett, he’s putting his given name and face front and center. Literally.
“I was trying to make a record that was just emotionally naked as possible,” he explains. “I felt like the only honest way to present it was to have my name and photo on the album cover in a way that I wouldn’t normally be comfortable with. I’m still not comfortable with it, actually.
“It’s kind of an awful feeling, but it was the only way to do it.”
Eels albums have never been demure. Everett has a knack for taking songs straight from the vein, and while he allows that releasing any album remains a vulnerable experience, this is “doubly so.” Regardless, he offered himself as a martyr for the cause.
“I felt like it was a worthwhile endeavor because I do think it has something to offer the world. I don’t mind taking a bullet now and then.”
Despite his unease, Everett’s looking forward to touring and putting the album behind him. With Austin in particular, he feels he has something to make up for. When Eels last swung through in 2011, customs woes kept their instruments abroad, leaving the band scrambling for gear. Ultimately, it led to a clipped Stubb’s set.
“That was a little bit of a disaster,” he recalls. “The good news is we’re coming from Phoenix, so there’s no chance of our equipment getting stuck in customs. There’s a chance of us all being arrested on our way to Texas, but we’re going to try to take a different route.”– Abby Johnston