Interview with Polka Artist Alex Meixner
MuzicNotez: First off, it’s an honor to be doing this interview with you, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us.
What motivated you to start creating music? What age did you begin? How come you chose Polka?
- Alex Meixner: Thanks for the invite! 🙂 I was motivated from birth ! As a 4th generation polka musician in the USA, I was banging on tables and looking for ways to make music as soon as I was able. I started playing piano at age 3 and accordion at 4. Music of all kinds has been my lifeblood. I’ve studied classically and in jazz instensely- as well as other kinds of folk music and popular music styles- but polkas have just spoken loudest to me!
MuzicNotez: Who were your musical influences, idols, or bands growing up that have helped mold you into the musician you are today? Or helped mold the music that you create?
- Alex Meixner: The first influence I always have to recognize is my father, Al Meixner. He was my primary role model as an accordionist, overall musician—teaching me about performance, arranging, recording and producing/ promotion by example. There are so many other musicians- from Don Lipovac, an amazing accordionist from Kansas City and Joey Miskulin, the versatile virtuoso accordionist to the ways that jazz musicians like Dave Brubeck, Don Ellis, Louis Armstrong, Cannonball Adderly melded different musical elements and entertainment to artists like Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow, Dixie Chicks who I’ve intently studied how they constructed music in their recordings. It’s really hard to limit the list—that’s what is coming to mind right now.
MuzicNotez: What’s the ultimate goal you want your music to achieve, or for you to achieve in your career as a musician? Any particular message you wish to send?
- Alex Meixner: My ultimate goal is to entertain audiences and let them experience the joy I get from music. Along the way if the audience can learn something about how different forms of music relate to each other and that we’re all more similar than dissimilar—regardless of our ages, cultures or any other distinguishing factors- we’re on a good road.
MuzicNotez: This has to be a very busy time of year for you with all the Oktoberfests, what’s the best American Oktoberfest you’ve been to?
- Alex Meixner: There are so many festivals that have their own unique characteristics that it’s hard to single out one as the best. Wurstfest in New Braunfels, TX is my home festival now- and although it’s not an Oktoberfest in name- it celebrates like an Oktoberfest. Reading Liederkranz in Pennsylvania is special to me, as 4 generations of my family have performed for that club. Of course, there are many others that I’ve enjoyed from Central Park in NYC to Helen, GA to Tulsa and Cleveland that each have their own qualities as a performer or for specific audiences.
MuzicNotez: You don’t just play traditional polka music, but you take pop songs and make them into polka too, bringing a new flare to a traditional genre of music. What’s a song you haven’t made into a polka yet but have considered to do next?
- Alex Meixner: There’s a ton of them! I particularly enjoy the mashup concepts where I find a theme—like Crazy Train- Last Train to Clarkesville- Take the A Train- Crazy- Chattanooga Choo Choo. Ozzy Osbourne, The Monkees, Duke Ellington, Patsy Cline/ Willie Nelson, Glenn Miller all in one little medley! 🙂
So the band and I are messing around with a bunch more to premier soon!
MuzicNotez: You’re a Grammy nominated artist, what does it mean to you to receive that kind of validation for all your hard work?
- Alex Meixner: I am proud of the recognition and it definitely is validating- but, the most important validation I receive is audiences coming out to the performances and enjoying the music. Every night is a new test. Sometimes- people show up and I connect with the audiences and it feels great. Sometimes, there isn’t a large audience- and those nights are the ones in which I have to dig deeper to connect and make sure everyone gets that special musical experience that leaves them wanting to come back. And there are times, when I don’t find what connects to the audience- and that makes me work harder to find the way to make it happen the next time.
MuzicNotez: We saw you at the West Bend, Wisconsin Germanfest and you put on an amazing show! Not just the singer, amazing accordion player, but also blew people away with your horn skills too. It wasn’t just your own show that was so entertaining, but you made guest appearances for the shows before you too. Do you always take every opportunity to perform?
- Alex Meixner: I don’t want to be a stage hog. If I know the musicians and we’re compatible with each other to make something work, I love jumping up—but I don’t want to invite myself and/ or detract from any artist’s work. At West Bend, it was wonderful to jam with my buddies Brian Brueggen as well as the Steve Meisner legacy band—some of those musicians I have known in some capacity for over 30 years.
MuzicNotez: What else are you working on? What can we expect to see and hear from you in the future?
- Alex Meixner: I’m in Oktoberfest tour mode with upcoming performances in Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Georgia and Oklahoma. I’ll have a new Christmas single coming out in November and performances in Texas, Illinois, Indiana and Florida before the end of the year. In addition, I’m working on new content for my youtube channel and keeping up with everything on social media. Next year- a new album is in the works and I’m doing my best to keep making music relevant to my audiences.