Art Alexakis

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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 56)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres
Occupation(s)
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass
  • piano
  • mandolin
  • banjo
Labels
Associated acts
Websiteeverclearmusic.com

Arthur Paul "Art" Alexakis (born April 12, 1962) is an American musician best known as the singer-songwriter and guitarist of the rock band Everclear. 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.

Early life[edit]

Alexakis was born in Los Angeles, California. He had an older brother, George, and three older sisters. His father was of Greek ancestry.

Soon after Alexakis' father left the family, financial difficulties forced Alexakis' 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.[1] His brother George died of a heroin overdose when Alexakis was 12. That same year, Alexakis' 15-year-old girlfriend committed suicide.[2] Not long after her death, Alexakis attempted suicide by filling his pockets with sand and lead weights, and jumping off the Santa Monica Pier. Later, he said that the vision and voice of his brother George compelled him to survive.[3]

Music career[edit]

Early bands[edit]

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."

Everclear[edit]

Alexakis singing with Everclear, performing 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.[4] Everclear's breakthrough album, Sparkle & Fade, deals with the themes of escape and redemption that pervaded his life upon leaving San Francisco.

Solo album[edit]

After several cases of solo-projects-turned-band-releases, Alexakis is working on a new solo album in 2018. 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 roles[edit]

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. However, Alexakis chose to shutter the label 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.[5]

Radio[edit]

As of March 2017, Alexakis hosts a weekly show on Sirius XM's '90s Alternative and Grunge-based channel, Lithium (Channel 34), airing every Sunday at 6pm ET.[6]

Acting[edit]

Alexakis took film classes at Los Angeles Community College[7] and did Shakespearean theater during his 20s. He has continued taking acting roles throughout his music career.

Film[edit]

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)[8] and Rogue River (2012).

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

Television[edit]

Alexakis was interviewed on Space Ghost Coast to Coast but the interview never aired, although it's 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 activism[edit]

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.[9]

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",[10] 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 provides events for military families who lost loved ones in the war.

Personal life[edit]

During his younger years, Alexakis was an atheist. However, in an August 2000 interview with Spin, Alexakis stated that he is now a Christian. Speaking about his then-fiancé 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 made his religious conversion more widely known in his MySpace blog upon release of the Everclear song "Jesus Was a Democrat." Alexakis stated that he is a "left-wing Christian".

Alexakis is also a gay rights activist. When being interviewed with The Windy City Media Group 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."[11]

Partial discography[edit]

With The Easy Hoes:

With Colorfinger:

With Everclear:

Solo:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Carlson, Daniel. "SXSW Film Festival: The Other F-Word"
  2. ^ Everclear’s Art Alexakis: ”Sparkle and Fade’ Was My Escape Route’
  3. ^ Edwards, Gavin. "Clear Unpleasant Danger". Details. May 1996.
  4. ^ "WL Everclear FAQ – Section B". Whitelightning.org. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  5. ^ "Apparently Nothing blog post". Apparently-nothing.com. December 10, 2011. Archived from the original on March 6, 2009. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  6. ^ "The Art Alexakis Show comes to Lithium, hosted by the Everclear frontman". Retrieved 2018-03-25.
  7. ^ Oravec, Nathan (19 May 2011). "E-I-E-I-Everclear". Gazette.net. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  8. ^ "Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews | Screen Junkies". Ifilm.com. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  9. ^ 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 2008-02-10. 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.
  10. ^ Jeckell, Barry A. (July 23, 2004). "Everclear Singer Headed To DNC". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 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.
  11. ^ "Art Alexakis (Ever)clearing the air". windycitymediagroup.com. Retrieved 2010-01-20.

External links[edit]