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B1. What are the members' birthdates?

  • Art Alexakis: April 12, 1962
  • Greg Eklund: April 18, 1970
  • Craig Montoya: September 14, 1970

B2. Are they, you know... taken?

Greg married longtime girlfriend Ellina on July 6, 1997. On August 15, 2000, Art married Stephanie.

Craig married Christel on October 24, 1998, but they divorced early in 2000.

B3. Where do they live now?

Art still lives in Portland, but has an apartment in Los Angeles. In late 1997, Greg moved to Los Angeles, California. Craig returned to Portland in 2000 after living in Atlanta.

B4. What is Alexakis' background?

Many of Alexakis' songs are autobiographical or are rooted in his own life experiences.

At a very young age, Alexakis' father walked out on the family, leaving Art, his mother, and his two sisters to fend for themselves. Not long after, financial difficulties forced Alexakis' mother to relocate the family to the housing projects of Mar Vista, California, located in Los Angeles near Culver City.

There, Art came in direct contact with the area's criminal and drug culture. Alexakis' brother George died of a drug overdose when Art was 12. A lyric in the song "Heroin Girl" refers to his mother overhearing a police officer describing his brother's death as "just another overdose." About a year later, Art's girlfriend OD'd and was discovered lying face-down in a sewage ditch. Not long after her death, Alexakis attempted suicide by getting stoned, filling his pockets with sand, and jumping off the Santa Monica Pier. He claims the voice of his brother George compelled him to survive.

Regardless, Art's drug addiction continued. Over the next eight years, Art was shuffled around between various family members all over the country. He spent a brief period in Houston, Texas, living with his father, and a period in Roseberg, Oregon, living with his "born-again" sister and her husband. Eventually, he returned to LA to live with his mother. He attended journalism school for a time, and worked as a music reviewer for The Evening Outlook, a small newspaper in Santa Monica. Eventually, a near-fatal cocaine overdose pushed him to quit drugs cold turkey.

After cleaning himself up, Art briefly attended UCLA film school. While living in Los Angeles, he organized 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. Generally frustrated with the music scene in LA, Art and his first wife Anita relocated to San Francisco.

While living in San Francisco, Art stumbled upon a genre of music known as "cow-punk". The sound meshed together the two prevalent forms of music with which he grew up - country and straight-ahead rock-n-roll. Inspired, Alexakis established Shindig Records. Much of this period is explicitly detailed in the album, Deep In the Heart of the Beast In the Sun, which was originally intended as a solo album but gradually developed into a group project under the name Colorfinger.

In 1992, within a single month, Shindig went bankrupt, Colorfinger disbanded, and Art's girlfriend Jenny became pregnant. Seeking a change of scenery, Alexakis moved to Portland, Oregon. There, he married his girlfriend and had a daughter. Though less directly biographical, Everclear's second album, Sparkle and Fade, deals deeply with the themes of escape and redemption that pervaded his life upon leaving San Francisco.

The instability and personal turmoil Alexakis has endured in his lifetime has left him with a wide breadth of subject matter for his songs. "Father of Mine" and "Why I Don't Believe in God" describe his difficult youth. "Heroin Girl" and "Color Pit" touch upon the scars left by his drug addictions.

B5. How do you pronounce "Alexakis"?

To: White Lightning (white-lightning@lists.enteract.com)
From: Brent Fusco (gargoyle@usa.net)
Date: Tue, 1 Oct 1996 12:12:04 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: Intro to Greek 101

Okay, just to end the speculation, I have it from a very official
source that the correct pronunciation of Alexakis is as follows:

First, third, and fourth syllables are stressed - Al ex Ah Kis


B6. What happened to Scott Cuthbert, Everclear's first drummer?

There's never been an official statement by the band as to the reasons for Scott's departure from Everclear in 1994.

For many years, the popular rumor was that Scott broke Art's "no-drug" policy. However, that story may be wildly exaggerated.

On VH-1's Behind the Music, Scott's departure was attributed to a personality conflict with Art. In a 1997 chat session, Art stated, "We never got along ... musically or personally." When interviewed for Behind the Music, band manager Darren Lewis stated that it appeared Scott was less interested in Everclear than Art and Craig - that, in his opinion, he was "holding them back".

Following his departure, Scott returned to teaching percussion. He has been heavily involved with Portland-area high school marching bands, helping to teach their drum lines. He also does arranging for Portland and Oregon State's drum lines.

B7. Who is Steve Birch? What's his connection to the band?

Steve Birch was the second guitarist for Everclear during the 97/98 SMFTA tour.

Art met Steve during the Colorfinger days. Steve's band Sprinkler shared the bill with Colorfinger at a show in Portland. When Art left San Francisco and moved to Portland, he bumped into Steve again, and they became friends. By then, Steve had quit Sprinkler and was focusing on graphic design work.

Steve did the artwork for the White Trash Hell import EP, and assisted Art on the artwork for Sparkle and Fade and So Much for the Afterglow.

Following the SMFTA tour, Steve returned to graphic design work, and played in a new bands around the Portland area. As of 2002, he was a member of a band called Audio Learning Center.

B8. Is Art starting a label? Can I send him my band's tape?

Beginning sometime in early 1998, Art began discussing the possibility of starting his own label, called Popularity Recordings.

(From Wall of Sound):

"It'll cause some tension," Alexakis acknowledges, though he's quick to add that Everclear will remain on Capitol. "I love the business," the singer says of his decision to branch out. "I think it's fun. I like all those other aspects that come with making the records . . . And I think it would be fun to work with other bands."

According to the Oregonian, a newspaper in Portland, the first band considered for Popularity was Marigold. However, Marigold subsequently went through label issues with Outpost/Interscope. So safe to say, it didn't happen.

In 2001, Art offically opened Popularity Recordings. He affiliated the label with Artemis Records, an indie label managed by Danny Goldberg.

The first band signed to Popularity was Volanic, but they parted ways. Art felt they didn't yet have a full album worth of quality songs, and wouldn't release a record until they did. The band instead chose to leave the label.

The first release from Popularity was Flipp's Volume, released in August of 2002.

Not long after the release of the Flipp album, Art began discussing his disappointment with Artemis' handling of Popularity. He felt that Artemis wasn't putting in enough financial support to make the album a success. Citing these problems, Art terminated Popularity's relationship with Artemis, essentially shuttering the label.

Art plans to resurrect Popularity sometime in the near future when he can devote his full attention to it.

If you want to send your demo for Art to hear, send it to:

Popularity Recordings
818 S.W. 3rd Ave., No. # 219
Portland, OR 97204

This address is exclusively for correspondence about Popularity Recordings. Do NOT send Everclear-related mail (including any kind of fan mail) to this address.

B9. Why did the band cancel shows in Australia in April of 1998?

Over the course of three consecutive shows, the band suffered a series of incidents. In Wollongong, someone threw a shoe that hit Art in the face, knocking loose a few teeth. The next night in Melbourne, someone threw a lit explosive on stage, injuring one of Everclear's roadies. At the next show at the Gold Coast, someone stole Craig's acoustic bass. (After the show, two people were arrested and charged with theft. The bass was eventually recovered and returned.) Later at the same show, Art was hit in the head with a shoe (as the crowd was singing him Happy Birthday).

These events, along with the general exhaustion from having played six months of shows without a real break, pushed the band to cancel the last three dates and return home.

On VH-1's Behind the Music, the band spoke about how close they were to breaking up during these incidents. After being hit by the shoe in Wollongong, Art's temper flared. He was angry enough to want to end the show - but Craig wanted to continue. Art ended up getting in a heated argument with Craig that was so intense, Craig considered leaving the band. The band did finish the show, but the tensions pushed them to end the tour after the Gold Coast show.

When the band travelled to the UK for a brief tour a couple of weeks after the Australian tour, Craig opted to stay home and take some time off. His bass tech (future touring guitarist Davey LoPrinzi) filled in on bass for those shows. When the full US tour began that May, Craig was back in action, fully refreshed from his vacation.

B10. At one point, Art was working on a solo album. Whatever happened to it?

What would have been Art's solo record was reworked into Learning How to Smile.

In 2001, it was rumored that Art was again working on a solo record. However, Art's efforts were simply the beginnings of a new Everclear record.

B11. Who are the extra musicians that have toured with Everclear?

Starting in late 1998, Everclear picked up three musicians to tour with them in order to fill out the band's sound. They included guitarist David LoPrinzi (aka Davey Nipples), percussionist Brian Lehfeldt (who was also Greg's drum tech), and keyboardist James Beaton.

In 1999, after the Coca-Cola Tour, Mike "Basil" Ternyik replaced Brian Lehfeldt on percussion. In 2001, following the Matchbox 20 tour, Robbie Gennett replaced James Beaton on keyboards. In 2002, David LoPrinzi departed Everclear's touring band, and was replaced by Alessandro Cortini, formerly the touring guitarist for the Mayfield Four, for the fall 2002 shows.

For the 2003 tours, Everclear toured only with a second guitarist, Jeffrey Trapp.

B12. I heard that Art and/or Everclear appeared in a movie. Is that true?

Yep - two different movies, in fact.

Art makes a cameo appearance in a movie called "Committed", which features Heather Graham. He appears in a mock band called Arturo Y Los Distoros, peforming a "Tejano version" of "El Distorto de Melodica". The film debuted at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, and had a limited release in February of 2000.

In November of 1999, Everclear filmed a performance for a movie called "Loser", which stars Greg Kinnear, Jason Biggs ("American Pie") and Mena Suvari ("American Beauty"). In it, the nerdy character portrayed by Biggs attempts to court the Everclear-loving character played by Suvari by scoring tickets to an Everclear show. The movie debuted on July 21, 2000.

One more movie-related note - Art has written a screenplay, titled "Aiming Low". He has described the movie as a "dark comedy ... with very sexual themes", and plans to film it as a "lo-fi indie movie".