ON THE PICTURE : Art Alexakis will be touring this summer with Everclear. Photo by Ashley Osborn/Contributor
by Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Editor of the weekly Pasadena
Adversity played a part in the success of Everclear’s Art Alexakis.
The 60-year-old singer has struggled with drug issues and a difficult relationship with his father. Lately he has been battling multiple sclerosis and spinal issues. He looks back on the 30 years of Everclear and understands what made the success of the group “Santa Monica”.
“My adversity helped me,” said Alexakis, who has been gluten-free for a decade. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without this adversity. I needed it to set my stomach on fire.
Alexakis will cover Everclear’s three-decade career and solo material during a stop at the BeachLife Festival, starting Friday, May 13 and running through May 15. He will perform at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday May 14 on the SpeakEasy stage presented by Jack Daniel’s. Later in the summer, Everclear will embark on an East Coast jaunt in commemoration of its anniversary. The first parts are The Nixons and Fastball.
“I’m going to play hits and fan favorites at BeachLife,” he said. “Anyone who wants to request a certain song can hit me up on Twitter. If I can do it, I will. It’s about an hour-long set. I might release one or two from my solo album that I released a few years ago.
To celebrate 30 years of Everclear, fans will see a humorous video that features Santa Monica. This is a teaser for a retrospective video hosted by Matt Pinfield with photos and clips.
“You’ll see all the bad hairstyles I’ve had over the years and my horrible clothing choices,” he said. “It’s quite breathtaking.”
Also in honor of Everclear’s career is the reissue of his debut album, world of noisewhich the band won for $400 in 1992.
“I was living in Portland, Oregon with my eldest daughter’s mother,” he said. “She became my second wife. We lived together in San Francisco. When she got pregnant, we moved to Portland. We had family there. . . We lacked social support and played Everclear at night in small clubs. I was digging a garden for a friend of hers for an extra $100, which was a big deal at the time.
Alexakis saw a “hipster-looking guy coming in and out of the garage.” Assuming he was a drug dealer, Alexakis reported him.
“He said, ‘Aren’t you in that Everclear band? ‘” recalls Alexakis. “I have a studio you can use for $10 an hour. I jumped the fence to go over and watch her.
Alexakis traded $400 worth of gear, like effects pedals he wasn’t using, for studio time. world of noise was born.
Alexakis’ love for music was passed on to the next generation. His daughter developed a deep appreciation, especially for Led Zeppelin.
“I remember that for my daughter’s 12th or 13th birthday, I bought her a turntable,” he says. “She liked my friend’s turntable. I bought it Led Zeppelin II. She puts it on and pulls it up. She listens to “Whole Lotta Love” and says, “That’s awesome.” I said, ‘Yes, it is. It’s timeless. When that riff starts – to this day – my blood pumps. It is intrinsic. I don’t mean to sound like a hippie, but drums date back thousands of years. That tribal, pulsating beat and rhythm is amazing. For someone to say that my music is timeless, I’m very grateful. I never cared about looking like the next guy.
Alexakis now lives with his family in Pasadena. He said he never thought he would love the quaint homes and shops in this town.
“We wanted to move somewhere warm, after living in Portland for 21 years,” he explained.
But not too hot! His wife, Vanessa, is from Tucson, but the two couldn’t move there because Alexakis can’t tolerate the Arizona heat.
“With my MS, it’s too hot for me,” he says. “I can’t be so sexy. It’s back in the 90s now. All this global warming stuff the kids are talking about, they might have something there.
Art Alexakis performs Saturday, May 14 at 7 p.m. at BeachLife Festival, 137 N. Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach. For tickets and more information, visit beachlifefestival.com.