When bands release their greatest hits album, it usually marks their demise/split/death of one of their number.
Happily for fans of Eels, none of the above are true. Far from it.
Formed in 1996, Eels recently released their first retrospective/anthology, Meet The Eels - a look back over their first six studio albums. It's an eclectic blend which perfectly shows off the band's idiosyncratic tendencies, songs packed with pathos, wry humour and autobiography.
"I thought we should have called it Eels' Greatest Hit - ha ha..." E chuckles down the phone from his home in Los Angeles. "I guess there's more than one hit, but it's more just a kind of favourites - not my favourites per se, just the audience's favourites in general.
"It's something [the record company] actually wanted to do before the ten year mark; they wanted to do it a few years earlier and we said 'wait, hold on,' and then once we got involved we came up with more ideas like a DVD and let's make the booklet nice. It took us so long, now it's 12 years by the time we're celebrating ten."
Not exactly your mainstream rock band, Eels will be best known to the uninitiated for their contributions to the soundtracks of Shrek (My Beloved Monster) and Shrek 2 (I Need Some Sleep); many of their songs have a childlike charm to them, but underneath many of the catchy tunes are stories of the catalogue of family loss E has endured over the past decade.
Having lost his father to a heart attack in the early 80s, Everett then suffered a string of family deaths within a five year period; in 1996 his sister Liz committed suicide, a year later his mother dying from cancer. Both would form the basis of a handful of songs on Eels' second album, Electro-Shock Blues.
Then, on September 11, 2001, E's cousin Jennifer, a flight attendant, died on the plane that hit the Pentagon.
All of this and more is in his book of memoirs, Things The Grandchildren Should Know. Along with a BBC4 documentary he made about his scientist father (Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives) and the new album, E has certainly been doing a great deal of reflection of late:
"It's weird living in the past; it's not something I like to do, although I've been doing a lot of it lately," E admits. "In the end it does serve a purpose, a feeling of clearing the decks for the future, starting again...
"Yeah and I also made this film for the BBC about my father - all of it's just this retrospective work that is highly unusual in my life, but now that it's all done I'm glad I did it all."
What if the tables were turned, and his father was able to now make a film about his musician son?
"Wow, tricky question," says E. "Gosh, I can't imagine - I can't imagine him caring that much for starters ha ha... I tend to think that my father thought of the children as a sort of scientific experiment - I think his film about me would be treating it scientifically, see how it all came out.
"Particularly with the book it was excruciating, very painstaking work reliving your past," he adds. "Doing certain chapters of it I dreaded it when I got up in the morning.
"I do want to write part two in 40 years' time - and my goal is for it to be the most boring book ever written; I can't take any more drama, I've had enough of that crap."
Everett may be in no rush to pen a second book, but he reveals he already has a raft of material for the next studio album(s) - the current compilation a comma, not a full stop, in the wonderful life of Eels:
"What I enjoy is making records," he says. "I don't enjoy putting them out so much, I like to make them more, I just keep making them; I tend to make more than I can put out.
"I've forced myself to slow down a little bit; I recently went a whole year without writing a song, just to see if I could, ha ha...
"I succeeded, but I also cheated because I went on two world tours, I didn't have any time to write a song," E explains. "On tour if you have a spare hour you'll take a nap, not write a song.
"I've got one [album] finished, halfway through another one and I'm thinking about starting another one... it was probably good for firing it back up. I'm always trying to keep it fun and interesting for myself."
* Eels play Birmingham Town Hall on February 26; for tickets call 0121 780 3333 www.thsh.co.uk The album Meet The Eels: Essential Eels Vol 1 1996-2006 and the book Things The Grandchildren Should Know are both out now.