Everclear will perform at the Visalia Fox Theatre on July 20th, along with Soul Asylum, Eve 6 and Spacehog, as part of the third annual Summerland Tour, which has stops in nearly 40 cities around the country.
Everclear is known for songs such as “Santa Monica,” “Everything to Everyone,” “I Will Buy You a New Life,” “Father of Mine” and “Wonderful.” Soul Asylum, which formed in 1981, is perhaps best known for the 1992 Grammy-winning single “Runaway Train,” a song that resulted in many runaways reuniting with their parents.
Southern California pop-punk trio Eve 6 had hits with “Inside Out,” “Think Twice” and “Here’s To The Night.” Spacehog, which was formed in 1994, has a unique glam-rock-style sound influenced by such artists as T.Rex, Iggy Pop, Queen and David Bowie. They topped the charts with “In the Meantime.”
Despite emerging in the 1990s, all four bands continue to write and record new music, as well as tour, something that is very important to Art Alexakis of Everclear, who put the tour together.
“There are no ‘mothball’ bands on my tour,” Alexakis said proudly. “They don’t live off their royalties. I wanted bands that are real bands, still chasing the carrot.”
Everclear will have a new, as yet “untitled” album out early next year, according to Alexakis. “I have named it, but I’m not telling you,” he said, as politely as possible. “I reserve the right to change the name at the last minute.”
Is he happy with the new record?
“I love the new record!” he responded. “I’m not happy – I’m ecstatic! It was recorded like I did back in the day, with three guys in a room.”
Alexakis has apparently been asked a few too many times about how Everclear was formed. “We met at a sex party in 1915 in the middle of a great war,” he said, laughing before providing a more plausible response. “I put an ad in The Rocket (a free biweekly newspaper out of Seattle) and the first two guys from Portland were terrible. The second two guys, from Seattle, were terrific, but the first version of Everclear never worked because they were in Seattle and I was in Portland.”
He said that he “met a guy digging ditches” and they spent $10 an hour to record a demo, which became their first record. They parlayed the record, which was getting increasing airplay on college radio stations, into a recording contract. “We were signed by Capitol after a bidding war,” he said.
Alexakis can’t remember why the band was named Everclear, which is also the name of a 190 proof spirit. “I just like the way it sounded,” he said. “It’s almost as strong as acid. I grew up in the ’70s and I experimented with a lot of drugs.”
He added that the other band name being considered was Sparkle. He was told that he made the right choice.
Alexakis’ voice seems to reflect pain, but he calls it passion. “I’m a Greek guy so I’m passionate about life,” he said. “My family did a lot of yelling. My dad left us, but there’s a lot of drama in everyone’s life. I’m just a pretty intense person.”
Some articles about Alexakis say that he has a bad relationship with his father, still hating him for leaving the family when Art was a child. “No, it’s not that I don’t get along with my dad; it’s that I don’t know him. I was raised by my mom. My mom taught me how to be a man.”
He also said that he was “never an atheist,” as reported in articles that have him becoming a Christian to please his fourth wife. He adjusted that response to “maybe when I was 12-14 when my brother died and when my mother went to a mental institution.”
Despite his musical success, Alexakis declared bankruptcy a few years ago. “I trusted people that didn’t do the job,” he explained. “I also trusted wives and ex-wives and they did bad things. I made bad decisions, but I dealt with it like a man and paid it all off.”
Alexakis has been through a great deal in his life (he is currently writing an autobiography), but has been clean and sober for 25 years. “I like what I’ve accomplished,” he said. “I’m 52 and I’m playing in a rock n’roll band.”
Where does Alexakis see himself when he reaches the age of 60?
“I hope to be watching my younger daughter going into high school, and my older one married and having kids, or doing whatever she wants to in life. (She speaks four languages and has been accepted into law school.) Whether I’ll be doing music, acting or doing a radio show, I don’t know. It will be something creative, I hope. I want to work till the day I die, but I never want to have a job.”
Tickets for the 7pm show are $25-$55 and available at foxvisalia.org. Proceeds from the show will benefit Sound N Vision Foundation, the Visalia Arts Consortium and the Visalia Opera Company.