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Art's Smarts
Everclear's Art Alexakis Has Designs on the Future
Maximum Guitar, October 1998

By Gary Graff

Everclear guitarist Art Alexakis isn't the kind of rock star who sits around and listens to his songs on the radio - which he could easily do, given the nonstop pump that radio programmers have given his group's hits "So Much For The Afterglow," I Will Buy You A New Life," and "Everything To Everyone" in recent weeks.

No, Alexakis is a man with a plan. Plans, actually. That shouldn't be surprising: during his 36 years, the singer-songwriter-guitarist has steered his way out of the housing projects of Culver City, California, and survived his own drug dependencies and a suicide attempt, eventually cleaning up to lead a band (Colorfinger), start an independent record label (Shindig), and land an A&R gig with Capitol Records.

Last spring, the trio - Alexakis, bassist Craig Montoya, and drummer Greg Eklund - took a victory lap around the country, touring with fellow hitmakers Marcy Playground and Fastball. Victory was sweet, but for Alexakis, the future-which promises a solo album, another label of his own (Popularity), and more time with his family - seems even sweeter.

MAXIMUM GUITAR: So by all rights, you should be rushing right back into the studio with Everclear to capitalize on the success of Afterglow. But you're going to do a solo album instead.

ART ALEXAKIS: The guys want a break. They want to live some life. I've got some songs I want to do in a different way from Everclear - not as bombastic but weirder and more groove-oriented, just more eclectic. I've already got nine songs written and about five songs I'm working on. I'll record it in late summer, early fall and then put it out next year some time, on Capitol.

MAX: What are the songs like?

ALEXAKIS: There's a song on there called "Otis Redding" that is gonna be done with acoustic guitars, basically, and strings. That's a pretty cool song. There's a song called "Here We Go Again" that has loops and kind of jazzy-sounding chords, but very melodic. It could very well be the first single off the record.

MAX: Will you do a solo tour to support the album?

ALEXAKIS: I don't think so. I don't want to. I don't really want to tour next year. If I do it won't be a traditional rock band thing; it'd be something smaller and more unique.

MAX: And then what'll happen to Everclear?

ALEXAKIS: We're going to take a good year off of that. Maybe next summer or next fall [of 1999], we'll get together to write a record, put it out and do another tour.

MAX: Are you concerned at all that you might like doing the solo record so much, or the other guys might find things to do, that Everclear won't come back after this hiatus?

ALEXAKIS: No, 'cause I'll tell ya, I want to do another Everclear record, and then from there on I don't know what I want to do. I don't want to do this for much longer; I'm not gonna be a guy putting out records in my fifties, or maybe the majority of my forties. It's not going to happen. I want to do other stuff.

MAX: Like what?

ALEXAKIS: Like to have more kids and be more of a stay-home daddy to my daughter now; schlep her and her friends around to ballet class and soccer practice. I really look forward to that, to be honest with you - taking my dogs for walks. Sounds like a good time. [laughs] And professionally, I've got the label [Popularity], and writing. I've got a couple of book ideas I want to write, different things I want to do and get 'em out of my system and see if I can pull them off.

MAX: You had a bunch of majors in a bidding war to distribute Popularity, too. It's good to be king, no?

ALEXAKIS: It's good to be the king - for a day at least, until someone kicks your ass and takes your crown away.