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Arthur Paul Alexakis (born April 12, 1962)[1] is an American musician best known as the singer-songwriter and guitarist of the rock band Everclear.[2] He has been a member of several notable bands, in addition to his own work as a songwriter for other artists. Alexakis founded several record labels throughout his career, and worked as an A&R representative for major record labels between and during his own musical projects. Later he became a political activist, and lobbied for special concerns which included drug awareness policies, and support of the families of the military.

Art Alexakis
Art Alexakis.jpg
Alexakis performing at Emory University, September 2007
Background information
Birth nameArthur Paul Alexakis
Born (1962-04-12) April 12, 1962 (age 57)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres
Occupation(s)
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass
  • piano
  • mandolin
  • banjo
Labels
Associated acts
Websiteeverclearmusic.com

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Alexakis was born in Los Angeles, California, the youngest of five children.[1] Soon after Alexakis' father left the family when Art was five years old,[1] financial difficulties forced his mother to relocate the family to the Mar Vista Gardens housing projects in California, located on the Westside of Los Angeles in Del Rey. Alexakis was physically abused by older kids in his neighborhood.[3] His brother George died of a heroin overdose when Alexakis was 12. That same year, Alexakis' 15-year-old girlfriend committed suicide.[4] Not long after her death, Alexakis attempted suicide by filling his pockets with sand and lead weights, then jumping off the Santa Monica Pier. Later, he said that the vision and voice of his brother George compelled him to survive.[5]

Music careerEdit

Early bandsEdit

While living in Los Angeles in the '80s, Alexakis was in a band called Shakin' Brave. Shakin' Brave featured a rather rough rock sound, but never really rose above the sea of music in Southern California. Alexakis and his first wife Anita relocated to San Francisco.

While living in San Francisco, Alexakis stumbled upon a genre of music known as "cowpunk", a style merging two prevalent forms of music with which he grew up — the tunefulness of country and the distorted guitars/fast tempo of rock and roll. Inspired, Alexakis established Shindig Records.

The Easy Hoes formed in the late '80s and released one album, Tragic Songs of Life, in 1989.

Alexakis' next project began as a solo album but grew into a group project under the name Colorfinger. This band released the album, Deep in the Heart of the Beast in the Sun as well as an EP, Demonstration. Only the full-length album was made available for sale. Both of these were released on Alexakis' own Shindig Records. A few songs originally performed by Colorfinger were made into Everclear songs, such as "Why I Don't Believe in God," "Invisible," "The Twistinside," "Heartspark Dollarsign," and "Hateful."

EverclearEdit

 
Alexakis singing with Everclear in 1999

Following a move to Portland, Alexakis placed an ad in The Rocket seeking a bass player and a drummer to form a new band. Alexakis had two respondents, Craig Montoya and Scott Cuthbert. The trio became the first incarnation of Everclear. After Cuthbert was replaced by Greg Eklund, the band spent the better part of a decade as a dominant act on alternative rock radio. The band scored three platinum albums in Sparkle & Fade, So Much for the Afterglow, and Songs from an American Movie Vol. One: Learning How to Smile.

The instability and personal turmoil Alexakis experienced throughout his life would directly inspire his lyrics. "Father of Mine" and "Why I Don't Believe in God" described his difficult youth, while "Heroin Girl", "Strawberry", and "Color Pit" touched upon his drug addictions.[6] Everclear's breakthrough album, Sparkle & Fade, deals with the themes of escape and redemption that pervaded his life upon leaving San Francisco.

Solo albumEdit

After several cases of solo-projects-turned-band-releases, Alexakis is working on a debut solo album titled "Sun Songs," due for release in the summer of 2019. Various pre-order options, product bundles, and fan experiences as well as video updates are available via a Pledge Music project. Further details can be viewed on his artist profile page.

Songwriting and industry rolesEdit

While finding success as a musical act and songwriter, Alexakis took on other projects within the music industry. For several years, he served as an A&R representative for Capitol Records. In 1996, he produced Frogpond's 1996 album Count to Ten.

In the early 2000s, Alexakis established his own label, Popularity Recordings, as a subsidiary of Artemis Records. Alexakis produced the label's first release, the 2002 album Volume by Flipp. The label closed in 2003.

Alexakis has also dabbled in songwriting with other artists, including co-writing and dueting the song "At the End of the Day" released on Marion Raven's 2005 and 2007 albums, Here I Am and Set Me Free, respectively.

In October 2008, Alexakis entered the studio with the Minneapolis-based band Apparently Nothing (previously a Madison band, and later renamed to The Usual Things) to produce their debut album, tentatively titled The Middle Coast.[7]

RadioEdit

From March 2017 through February 2019, Alexakis hosted a weekly radio show on Sirius XM's 1990s alternative and grunge music channel, Lithium (Channel 34).[8]

Film and televisionEdit

Alexakis took film classes at Los Angeles Community College.[9]

In 2000, Alexakis made brief appearances in the Heather Graham comedy Committed.

He played the lead role in the 2006 short film Room to Breathe and had parts in Rid of Me (2001)[10] and Rogue River (2012).

In 2014, he had a role as a tattoo artist in the biographical drama film Wild starring Reese Witherspoon.

Alexakis was interviewed on Space Ghost Coast to Coast; the interview never aired, although it is briefly glimpsed on Episode 60, "Lawsuit."

In 2002, Alexakis appeared in two episodes of The Chris Isaak Show.

In 2006, Alexakis appeared on an episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide on Nickelodeon as a music teacher named Mr. Gibson (a reference to Gibson guitars).

In August 2006, Alexakis appeared on The O'Reilly Factor discussing the music video for "Hater", the first single from Everclear's Welcome to the Drama Club.

Political activismEdit

In 2000, Alexakis testified before Congress in support of HR 1488, the Compassion for Children and Child Support Enforcement Act. Through ACES, the Association of Children for the Enforcement of Support, President Geraldine Jenson and Nancy Pelosi sponsored this bill. The law passed.[11]

Alexakis was a delegate for the 2004 Democratic National Convention representing Oregon's 3rd congressional district after campaigning for John Edwards during the 2004 Democratic Presidential primaries. He and Everclear recorded the Woody Guthrie standard "This Land Is Your Land",[12] which he performed at several political events.

He has also been involved in drug awareness programs, including the taping of public service announcements for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Along with Everclear, he has performed for U.S. soldiers in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Hawaii, and Abu Dhabi. He has also performed for Snowball Express, which organizes events for military families who lost loved ones in the war.

Personal lifeEdit

During his younger years, Alexakis was an atheist. In an August 2000 interview with Spin, Alexakis stated he had since become Christian. Speaking about his then-fiancée Stephanie Greig, he said, "She's a Christian, and I'm a Christian — my ex isn't — and so I was like, it's okay to be a Christian. I'm not like a born-again... Well, I guess I am born-again, in a way. But I don't knock people over the head with it. I just kind of use my spirituality to make my life better."

Alexakis is also a gay rights activist. In 2010, he expressed his support for gay marriage and opposition to Proposition 8, "I don't think Prop 8, gay marriage or the things your community lobbies for are political issues. We are Americans; that's where it ends. If Lady Justice is supposed to be blind, then why not towards your community? It is going to happen; it's happening, and I think it is a great thing." In the same interview, he reflected on the gay rights movement in the 1970s by saying, "I went to San Francisco to see the Sex Pistols in 1978. I was barely 16 and I went with this neighbor of mine, who my mom didn't know was gay, but I knew was gay. I went to Castro with a whole group of gay guys and saw a side of the culture that I had never seen before. I was aware of Harvey Milk before most people were. It was a great experience."[13]

On March 26, 2019, Alexakis announced that he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in a letter to fans posted on the band's website. Alexakis says he was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS following a car accident three years prior.[14]

Partial discographyEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Prato, Greg. "Art Alexakis Biography". AllMusic.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  2. ^ Powers, Ann (November 14, 1997). "ROCK REVIEW; Reality Bites But Slackers Can Dream". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  3. ^ Carlson, Daniel. "SXSW Film Festival: The Other F-Word"
  4. ^ Everclear’s Art Alexakis: ”Sparkle and Fade’ Was My Escape Route’
  5. ^ Edwards, Gavin. "Clear Unpleasant Danger". Details. May 1996.
  6. ^ "WL Everclear FAQ – Section B". Whitelightning.org. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  7. ^ "Apparently Nothing blog post". Apparently-nothing.com. December 10, 2011. Archived from the original on March 6, 2009. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  8. ^ "The Art Alexakis Show comes to Lithium, hosted by the Everclear frontman". Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  9. ^ Oravec, Nathan (May 19, 2011). "E-I-E-I-Everclear". Gazette.net. Retrieved September 22, 2015.
  10. ^ "Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews | Screen Junkies". Ifilm.com. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  11. ^ Staff reporter (March 15, 2000). "Everclear Frontman Art Alexakis to Testify Today Before the House of Representatives Sub-Committee on the Need for Federally Enforced Child Support Laws". NyMusic. Archived from the original on August 30, 2008. Retrieved February 10, 2008. Everclear singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Art Alexakis is taking time from recording two different albums due out this year to testify at a congressional hearing on the need for federally enforced child support laws. Alexakis will appeal on behalf of ACES (The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support, Inc.) to the House of Representatives on Thursday, March 16 at 11:00 am (EST) in Washington, DC.
  12. ^ Jeckell, Barry A. (July 23, 2004). "Everclear Singer Headed To DNC". Billboard. Retrieved February 10, 2008. As an elected delegate, the singer will represent Oregon's 3rd congressional district (Portland) at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Boston.[...] Tying in with the July 25–29 convention and this year's U.S. presidential election, Alexakis has recorded a version of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land", which became available for download from the Rock the Vote Web site.
  13. ^ "Art Alexakis (Ever)clearing the air". Windy City Media Group. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
  14. ^ Legaspi, Althea (March 26, 2019). "Everclear's Art Alexakis Reveals Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 27, 2019.

External linksEdit