It was roughly a year ago that Everclear’s Art Alexakis revealed in an emotional, hopeful statement that he’d been diagnosed with a form of multiple sclerosis. He confronted his health struggles head-on later that summer with “The Hot Water Test,” a standout track from his debut solo album, Sun Songs. Now, with our global pandemic instilling anxiety in immunocompromised people the world over, he’s returned with a video for the track that, like his previous statement, acknowledges fear while emphasizing hope.
Directed by Denny Tedesco, who helmed the 2008 documentary The Wrecking Crew, the clip sets Alexakis’ vulnerable lyrics and swelling instrumentation against a number of people also living with MS. As the end of the video explains, hot water tests were once a means of diagnosing MS, as heat can intensify the neurological symptoms associated with the affliction in a process known as Uthoff’s phenomenon. “It was pretty barbaric and miserable, and just one example of the the kind of experiences that people with MS, autoimmune diseases, cancer, or for that matter any debilitating disease, have to deal with all the time,” says Alexakis.
“I’m so grateful for all of the amazing people who have been living with MS that we brought together to take part in this video,” Alexakis said in a statement to The A.V. Club. “With the current state of the world, it couldn’t be more timely to bring awareness to the MS community and everyone else living with underlying conditions that are even more susceptible to this virus.”
Watch the video below.
Alexakis also took a moment to touch on what it’s like to live with MS in the midst of a global pandemic, saying that “everything in life has become a little more difficult and scary,” but that having a community of people who can relate to that anxiety “makes us appreciate what life we have.”
Read his full statement below:
I’ve learned a lot after spending the last month and a half in quarantine with my wonderful wife and daughter. Ever since I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis a few years ago, everything in life has become a little more difficult and scary. If I say to my wife “I don’t feel good today, sweetheart. I’ve got a fever,” we’re literally on pins and needles because any type of infection can mean a horrible, horrible thing, particularly with people that have underlying conditions such as mine. There’s a huge community of us with pre-existing conditions—things like multiple sclerosis, cancer, and other autoimmune diseases, and being in this community during the pandemic makes us appreciate what life we have. It also makes us appreciate everybody else who’s doing their part everyday by social distancing, wearing masks, and disinfecting their groceries. No one likes doing this stuff, but we do it everyday. My heart and respect goes out to everyone honoring the stay-at-home orders as long as needed, regardless of what anyone says. We need to hold the line and keep the faith. God bless you, and I say this on behalf of the entire MS community, we appreciate you doing your part, and we’re going to do ours too.
Sun Songs is out now and available here.