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Art Alexakis

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Arthur Paul "Art" Alexakis (born April 12, 1962) is the American singer, lead guitarist and songwriter of the rock band Everclear.

Early life

Alexakis was born in Los Angeles, California. Alexakis' father walked out on the family, leaving Alexakis, his mother, his brother, and his three sisters to fend for themselves. Not long after, financial difficulties forced Alexakis' mother to relocate the family to the Mar Vista Gardens housing projects in California, located near Culver City.

There, he came in direct contact with the area's criminal and drug culture. His brother George died of a heroin overdose when Alexakis was 12. Alexakis' 15-year-old girlfriend committed suicide also when he was 12.[1] Not long after her death, Alexakis attempted suicide by filling his pockets with sand and lead weights, and jumping off the Santa Monica Pier. He claims that the vision and voice of his brother George compelled him to survive.[2]

Over the next eight years, he 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 Roseburg, Oregon, living with his sister, a born-again Christian, 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.

Career

Early bands

After quitting drugs, Alexakis 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, 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". The sound meshed together the two prevalent forms of music with which he grew up - country and rock and roll. Inspired, Alexakis established Shindig Records. Much of this period was 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 Alexakis' girlfriend Jenny became pregnant. Seeking a change of scenery, Alexakis moved to Portland, Oregon. There, he married his girlfriend and had a daughter named Annabelle Rose Alexakis.

Everclear

Following the 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. 1: 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. "Heroin Girl", "Strawberry", and "Color Pit" touched upon his drug addictions.[3] Everclear's first major album, Sparkle & Fade, deals with the themes of escape and redemption that pervaded his life upon leaving San Francisco.

Solo projects

While finding success as a musical act and songwriter, Alexakis began taking 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. Alexakis was interviewed on Space Ghost Coast to Coast but the interview never aired, although the interview is quickly glimpsed on Episode 60, "Lawsuit". 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 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 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.

On October 30, 2007, he announced on MySpace that he is planning on releasing an album of cover songs next year. He also said that he is planning on going on a solo tour. In February 2008, he announced that the album would be released on April 15, 2008, titled The Vegas Years.

While pursuing a music career, Alexakis has also dabbled in acting. In 2000, he made brief appearances in the Heather Graham comedy Committed. Two years later, he made cameo appearances in two episodes of The Chris Isaak Show. In 2006, Alexakis appeared on an episode of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide on Nickelodeon. He also had a lead role in the 2006 short film Room to Breathe.[4] He also played a small role of a homeless drug addict in the movie "The Basketball Diaries" featuring Leonardo DiCaprio. In October 2008, Alexakis entered the studio with the Minneapolis-based band Apparently Nothing to produce their debut album, tentatively titled The Middle Coast.[5]

Political activism

In 2000, Alexakis testified before Congress in support of HR 1488, the Compassion for Children and Child Support Enforcement Act.[6] 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",[7] 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 and Hawaii. He has also performed for Snowball Express, which provides events for military families who lost loved ones in the war.

Appearance in TV

Alexakis has appeared in the Nickleodeon sitcom Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide as a music teacher named Mr. Gibson (a reference to Gibson guitars).

Personal life

Alexakis has been married three times, and is currently engaged. He has a daughter named Annabella Rose (born 1993), from his relationship with Jenny Dodson. He and his current fiancee have a daughter named Arizona Star, born on November 10, 2007.

On January 4, 2005, Alexakis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California. According to the filing, Alexakis owed a federal tax bill for the years 1999, 2001 and 2002 of $2.75 million, as well as nearly $230,000 to the Oregon Department of Revenue and more than $120,000 in credit card debt spread over several accounts. As a result of the bankruptcy, he sold all his rights to the previous Everclear catalogue in order to pay some off.

During his younger years, Alexakis was an atheist. However, in his MySpace blog upon release of the Everclear song "Jesus Was a Democrat", Alexakis stated that he is a Christian.

i am a christian...and i resent the fact that most people who are not christians are afraid of or angry at the perception of what a "christian" is because of the intolerance, hypocrisy, racism, ignorance and hatred of the stereo typical right wing christian..... sarah palin much.?"
[8]

Partial discography

With The Easy Hoes:

With Colorfinger:

With Everclear:

References

  1. Alexakis, Art. "When I Was Fifteen (Written in My 44th Year)"
  2. Edwards, Gavin. "Clear Unpleasant Danger". Details. May 1996.
  3. http://www.whitelightning.org/resources/faq-b.htm
  4. http://www.ifilm.com/video/2760808
  5. Apparently Nothing blog post
  6. Staff reporter (2000-03-15). "Everclear Frontman Art Alexakis to Testify Today Before the House of Representatives Sub-Committee on the Need for Federally Enforced Child Support Laws". NyMusic. http://www.nyrock.com/worldbeat/03_2000/031600.asp. 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." 
  7. Jeckell, Barry A. (2004-07-23). "Everclear Singer Headed To DNC". Billboard. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000583652. 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 is available for download from the Rock the Vote Web site." 
  8. http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=36570510&blogID=439343996

External links

Template:Everclear

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