By the time Mark Oliver Everett -- “E” to fans of his band Eels -- had finished touring behind his last album, 2014’s The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett, the distinctly bearded rocker was, by his own reckoning, “worn out physically and mentally." Since 1992, he had released two solo records, 11 Eels albums, toured the globe repeatedly and written an unflinching-but-life-affirming 2008 memoir, Things The Grandchildren Should Know, about coping with the deaths of all three members of his immediate family by the time he was 35 and discovering that his father Hugh Everett III was a genius physicist who’d authored the Many Worlds Theory of Quantum Mechanics in his twenties. (Well-regarded now, the theory was dismissed at the time, leaving E’s father an embittered man.) “For almost 25 years, all I did was work with an extreme focus,” says the 54-year-old artist. “And then I got to the point where it became clear that, okay, you need to stop and pay attention to the other sides of life.”
E took a four-year break -- “I wasn’t even sure I’d work again," he says -- but his time off wasn't spent binge-watching Netflix. In that time span, he got married, divorced and, unexpectedly, became a father. The artist who’d intended the title of his memoir to be darkly ironic was now the parent of a 10-month-old boy named Archie. And though E did his best not to work, Eels' 12th album, The Deconstruction (which drops April 6), emerged in fits and starts, informed by the joy, the anger and the heartbreak of the last few years -- and the desire to bring hope to fans and his fledgling family in the age of Trump.
So, you've had some significant life changes during your hiatus.
Yes, just a few. In the four years that I’ve been gone I got married, I got divorced and I had a baby. Is that enough upset for you?