Mark Oliver Everett (born April 10, 1963) is the American lead singer, songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist and sometime drummer of the independent rock band Eels. Also known as E, Everett is known for writing songs tackling subjects such as death, mental illness, loneliness and unrequited love.
Mark Oliver Everett is the son of physicist Hugh Everett III, originator of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum theory and of the use of Lagrange multipliers for general engineering optimizations. Everett's maternal grandfather is Harold "Kid" Gore, a legendary men's basketball, football and baseball coach at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. 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.
In 1987, Everett moved from his family home in Virginia and resettled in California. Here, Everett began his professional 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. This playfulness was evident in a review by the eminent writer Daniel Levitin which began: "Excellent eponymous effort, energizingly eclectic. Early enthusiasm effectively ensures E's eminence." A Billboard magazine review of his second album was similarly positive.
Everett's family has been an inspiration to him, e.g. the song "Things the Grandchildren Should Know" (he would later publish an autobiography of the same name) and the song "3 Speed", referencing the writings of his sister Liz. Everett made a documentary about both his father's theory and his own relationship with his father entitled Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives for the BBC that was aired on the PBS series NOVA in 2008.
Everett's father, Hugh, died of heart failure in 1982. His sister, Elizabeth, long troubled by schizophrenia, committed suicide in 1996, and in 1998 his mother, Nancy Everett née Gore, died of lung cancer. Following these tragedies, Everett and the Eels released Electro-Shock Blues in 1998.
His cousin, Jennifer Lewis née Gore, was a flight attendant on the plane that struck The Pentagon during the September 11, 2001 attacks. The plane struck the side of the Pentagon where his father had worked, and Everett remarks in his autobiography that he wonders whether the plane hit his father's old office.
In 2000 he married Anna, a Russian dentist he met at a salad factory which doubled as a psychologist's offices. The song What is this note? on the Souljacker album is in tribute to the happy days in the early days of the marriage. The marriage ended after 5 years. Although he titled his autobiography Things the Grandchildren Should Know, he does not have any children of his own.
Everett's 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 suspected of being the man behind MC Honky, who released the album I Am the Messiah in 2003.
Everett's music has also been featured on a number of films, including American Beauty ("Cancer for the Cure"), Road Trip ("Mr. E's Beautiful Blues"), Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas ("Christmas is Going to the Dogs"), Holes ("Eyes Down," "Mighty Fine Blues"), Shrek ("My Beloved Monster"), Shrek 2 ("I Need Some Sleep"), Shrek The Third ("Royal Pain" and "Losing Streak"),Shrek the Halls ("The Stars Shine in the Sky Tonight"), Hellboy II: The Golden Army ("Beautiful Freak"),The Big White (Last Stop;This Town) Hot Fuzz ("Souljacker, pt.1"), as well as most of the music in Yes Man.
During 2005, Everett and his ad hoc Eels went on tour promoting his 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, US and Australian tours in the spring of 2008. In the U.S., the PBS program Nova broadcast the documentary in October 2008.
The seventh Eels studio album--Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire--was released on June 2, 2009.
On January 19, 2010, Everett released his eighth Eels album, entitled End Times, which deals with themes of aging and divorce. On August 23, 2010, Eels released a 9th album, 'Tomorrow Morning', which represents the final part of the trilogy begun by 'Hombre Lobo.'
Everett plays an acoustic version of the Eels tune 'What I Have to Offer' in a deleted scene from This Is 40, and follows his performance by telling Rudd's record-executive character that the band has decided to sign a contract with a competing label.
On February 4, 2013, the tenth album of Eels, Wonderful, Glorious, was released, followed by The Cautionary Tales Of Mark Oliver Everett, released only a year later on April 21, 2014.