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indefatigableness

Mark Oliver Everett

Mark Oliver Everett (born April 10, 1963, in Virginia) is the lead singer, guitarist, keyboardist and sometime drummer of the independent rock band Eels. Also known as A Man Called E, Mr. E, or simply E, Everett is known for writing intensely personal songs tackling such subjects as mortality's toll, mental illness, loneliness, and unrequited love.

Biography

Mark Oliver Everett is the son of physicist Hugh Everett III, originator of the many-worlds theory of quantum physics and of the use of Lagrange multipliers for general engineering optimizations. As a child, Everett developed a love of toy instruments; this fondness would continue into adulthood and provide an integral part of his idiosyncratic sound.

At the age of 19 E found his father dead lying in his bed. In the eighties E (or Mark E. as he then called himself) was in several bands ("The Toasters" for instance ) and recorded numerous promo tapes. In 1985, under the name Mark Everett, he released his first album (Bad Dude In Love) which was limited to 500 copies.

In 1987, Everett moved from his family home in Virginia and resettled in California. Here, Everett began his musical career with two major-label albums: A Man Called E and Broken Toy Shop. The pseudonym "E" was used for both of these early recordings. While it may have caused some confusion in record stores and radio stations, the single-letter name gave the press a playful handle. One review began: "Excellent eponymous effort, energizingly eclectic. Early enthusiasm effectively ensures E's eminence. A Billboard magazine review of his second album was similarly positive.

Mark's family

Hugh Everett III was a mathematician and quantum theorist, notable for formulating the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics in 1957. At the time, his theory was dismissed and he worked on military and industrial mathematics. Hugh was a distant father and an alcoholic. He died of a heart attack in bed on July 19, 1982, a teenage Mark finding his body. It can be seen throughout the works of the Eels that Everett's family is a key inspiration to him, an example being the song "Things the Grandchildren Should Know" about his relationship with his father and the song "3 speed" referencing the writings of his sister Liz. E made a documentary about both his father's theory and his own relationship with his father entitled "Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives" for the BBC. Everett's sister, Elizabeth, long troubled by schizophrenia, committed suicide in 1996, and in 1998 his mother, Nancy Everett née Gore, died of lung cancer. Rather than surrender to these existential crises or continue his work with no mention of their deaths' effect on his life, Everett instead turned tragedy into the impetus for recording what is widely considered the Eels' magnum opus, Electro-Shock Blues. This release—the sound of which alternated between furious indefatigableness, black humor, and strikingly authentic desperation—gained almost unanimous critical praise. Blues was followed by 2000's Daisies of the Galaxy, a gentler-in-tone addition to The Eels' oeuvre that hinted that perhaps Everett's recovery had begun.

In 2000, E participated in a spiritual retreat, during which time he was forbidden to write or speak. Finding himself inspired, though, Everett broke the rules of the retreat and penned the lyrics for The Eels' Souljacker album. There, Everett also met his wife-to-be, a Russian dentist. Still, death continued to hound Everett--his cousin, Jennifer Lewis née Gore, was a flight attendant on the plane that struck the Pentagon during the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Career

Everett is a master of studio recordings, and his early solo work and Eels collaborations were hailed by critics for their innovative combination of various instruments and styles. Everett has used everything from a toy piano in his early "Symphony for a Toy Piano in G Minor" to hammers on a radiator as percussion in 1998's "Cancer for the Cure". Despite his constant denials, he is almost certainly the man behind MC Honky, who released the album I Am the Messiah in 2003. Claims that MC Honky is actually an eccentric, fiftysomething studio rat specializing in hip-hop-flavored "self-help rock" and who, according to his official biography, was involved in engineering Frank Sinatra's 1968 album Gunga Din should be taken with a pinch of salt, not least because there is no record of any such album.

Rightly or wrongly, he has a reputation as a troublemaker. The Eels official website claims that Everett responded to a request for a quote for the dust jacket to Kurt Cobain's posthumously published diaries with: "Please don't do this to me after I kill myself." (Needless to say, the blurb wasn't used.) He also appeared on the Australian chat show The Panel. When asked what motivated his music, he said, "Heroin", then proceeded to answer every question with the same response. Finally, he sang a song titled "Fucker".

Everett's music has also been featured on a number of television shows and movies, including the programs Homicide: Life on the Street ("Not Ready Yet," "Guest List"), Queer as Folk ("Love of the Loveless"), and Scrubs ("Fresh Feeling"), as well as the films American Beauty ("Cancer for the Cure"), Holes ("Eyes Down," "Mighty Fine Blues"), Road Trip ("Mr. E's Beautiful Blues"), Shrek ("My Beloved Monster"),Shrek 2 ("I Need Some Sleep"), Shrek The Third ("Royal Pain" and "Losing Streak") and Hot Fuzz ("Souljacker, pt.1"). His song "That's Not Really Funny" was used as the theme music for the black comedic cartoon series Monkey Dust. He also wrote the soundtrack to the movie Levity.

During 2005, Everett and his ad hoc Eels went on tour promoting his most recent album, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations; it was during this recording that he worked with long-time hero and influence Tom Waits.

In November 2007, Everett published his autobiography, entitled Things the Grandchildren Should Know.

The 2007 BBC Scotland / BBC Four television documentary "Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives", followed Everett as he talked to physicists and his father's former colleagues about his father's theory. The documentary won a Royal Television Society award on March 19, 2008. The documentary was shown in lieu of a support act during their UK and US tours in the spring of 2008.

Discography

References

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