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Everclear

Everclear

Rock group

For the Record…

Alexalds Got a Start with A&R Executive

Group Signed Deal with Geffen Records

So Much for the Afterglow

Selected discography

Sources

Everclear’s Art Alexakis was quoted in Spin as saying, “When I try to get complex in my songs, I sound stupid. When I write about things that are simple, they come out fine. There’s nothing wrong with anthems.” The singer-guitarist’s rough-edged, melodic anthems, particularly the modern rock hits “Santa Monica,” “I Will Buy You a New Life,” and “Wonderful” have propelled the Portland, Oregon-based trio to multi-platinum sales. Alexakis’s own travails have led him to a stance of wary hope that contrasts sharply with the apathy and cynicism that some feel dominate alternative rock.

Alexakis grew up in the housing projects of Culver City, California, a West Los Angeles neighborhood. He was the youngest of five children, and after his parents divorced, he and his siblings were raised by their mother. Though he adored music and “never wanted to do anything else,” as he said to Richard Cromelin of the Los Angeles Times, it was some time before he was able to pursue it unhindered. Influenced by his hard-living brother, George, Art was using hard drugs by age 13. “After my parents split, my dad was never around,” he recalled in Details, “so George was the man I looked up to.” George died of a heroin and cocaine overdose when Art was still an adolescent, and shortly thereafter,

For the Record…

Members include Art Alexakis (born on April 12, 1964, in Los Angeles, CA; married and divorced Anita; married and divorced Jenny; married Stephanie Grieg, 2000; one daughter, Annabella), guitar, vocals; Scott Cuthbert 0eft group, 1994), drums; Greg Eklund (born c. 1970; joined group, 1994), drums; Craig Montoya (born c. 1971), bass.

Group formed in Portland, OR, 1991; released EP on Tim/Kerr label and released debut album, World of Noise, 1993; signed with Capitol Records, 1994; released Sparkle and Fade, 1995; released So Much For the Afterglow, 1997; released Songs From An American Movie, Voll: Learning How to Smile and Songs From An American Movie, Vol. 2: Good Time for a Bad Attitude, 2000; released Slow Motion Daydream, 2003.

Awards: Addicted to Noise magazine, Band of the Year, 1995; CMJ magazine, Song of the Year for “Heroin Girl,” 1995; Billboard Award, Modern Rock Band of the Year, 1998.

Addresses: Record company—Capitol Records, 1750 Vine St., Los Angeles, CA 90028. Website—Everclear Official Website: http://www.everclearonline.com.

Art’s girlfriend also died of an overdose. These experiences only made the teen more self-destructive himself. “Heroin wasn’t really my thing,” he maintained in Spin, adding that he preferred stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines. He did inject cocaine, however, and experienced the roller-coaster ride of addiction for many years. “I kicked about four or five times, jonesed badly, and quit finally after I almost killed myself shooting up cocaine,” he confessed. “I’ve been clean for 12 years.”

Though Alexakis lived with his father in Houston and his sister in Oregon for short times, he largely grew up in Los Angeles. He attended Santa Monica College and UCLA, worked at various jobs, and got married. During the 1980s he played in several L.A. bands but in 1987 decided to move to San Francisco to start fresh. He worked for a graphic arts company, and played with a couple of acts, but didn’t really get his career off the ground until he co-founded the band Colorfinge. Influenced by country and punk rock, the band took the initiative to set up its own independent label, Shindig, and to release its own album.

Alexalds Got a Start with A&R Executive

After the group’s distribution fell through, the label went bankrupt and Alexakis’s marriage dissolved. Through this trying period in his life, Alexakis received some encouragement from Gary Gersh, then an A&R (Artists & Repertoire) executive at Geffen Records. “He sent me a letter saying I think this stuff sounds kind of dated but I think your voice is cool and I think you write really great songs. Please keep sending me stuff,” Alexakis recollected to Addicted to Noise writer Michael Goldberg. “He wrote by hand, ‘Gary.’ I sent it to him ‘cause he was the guy who signed [avant-rockers] Sonic Youth, which I thought was pretty cool.”

Wanting to start anew again, Alexakis decided to move with his new girlfriend, Jenny, to her hometown of Portland. “I moved to Portland because my life was falling apart, because my record label went under, my girlfriend’s pregnant, my band’s falling apart,” he told Goldberg. There he held various jobs, saw the birth of his daughter, Annabella, and decided to put together a new band. He placed an ad for a rhythm section in a local paper, The Rocket, listing as desired influences punk and alternative heroes such as X, the Pixies, and Sonic Youth, as well as classic rock mainstays Led Zeppelin and Neil Young. The ad elicited a call from bassist Craig Montoya.

“I was kind of overwhelmed by Art at first,” Montoya told Spin. “I answered his ad and I had to hold the receiver away from my ear, he was so excited.” Alexakis dazzled him with plans to make records, hit the road, play at pivotal industry seminars. Montoya noted, “I was like, ‘Wow, I’ve never been outside of the Pacific Northwest.’ He became my father figure at about the same time he became Annabella’s.” Indeed, Alexakis’s little girl was only a few days old when her father, Montoya, and drummer Scott Cuthbert gathered in Alexakis’s basement to play. They recorded a demo there that landed them a spot at the influential South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. Their performance facilitated a deal with the Portland-based indie label Tim/Kerr. After an EP, Everclear put out their debut album, World of Noise, which they recorded for $400.

The band’s rapid success engendered a great deal of dislike from some veterans on the Portland music scene who saw Alexakis as an opportunistic interloper at best and a wife-batterer at worst. The latter charge was based on one horrible incident, according to Alexakis, of which he’s deeply ashamed. “Annabella was only 18 months at the time,” he recounted to Spin, “and she may not remember any of it, but that was the single lowest moment of my entire life.”

Group Signed Deal with Geffen Records

Everclear eventually inked a deal with former Geffen Records executive Gersh, who had in the interim become the head of Capitol Records. Drummer Cuthbert departed shortly thereafter and was replaced by Greg Eklund, and the band’s first effort recorded for Capitol catapulted them to fame. Released in 1995, Sparkle and Fade chronicled Alexakis’s many travails—as evidenced by tracks such as “Heroin Girl”—but also retained a spark of optimism. “This record,” Alexakis noted in Time, “is about getting out of bad situations.” Radio’s embrace of the upbeat “Santa Monica,” however, ultimately led to the album’s platinum sales.

Yet Everclear could hardly be regarded as an overnight sensation. Touring 11 months out of the year, they built a solid nationwide following with raw, energetic performances. “I’m surprised, only because usually good records don’t do well,” Alexakis told Ozone. “I think it’s a deep record; I didn’t really think it had a smash hit on it. That’s the only thing that surprises me—that ‘Santa Monica’ has been as big as it is. We’re a good live band. We play a lot, we’ve worked our ass off to this point. It’s not just the one hit that did it; we built up to it.” Eklund suggested in an interview for Gannett News Service that Alexakis’s songs simply connected with young listeners. “People can identify with what he has to say,” he said. “Talking to people who like our music, I find they are dissatisfied with what there is for them, what they’ve achieved. His songs reflect that. But they are also hopeful.”

Despite Alexakis’s stated belief that Sparkle and Fade didn’t have a “smash hit” on it, the album produced several more singles, including “Heroin Girl,” “Summer-land,” and “Heartspark Dollarsign,” and sold more than one million copies. However, it was their next album, So Much for the Afterglow, that truly established them as a modern rock group with staying power.

So Much for the Afterglow

Released in 1997, So Much for the Afterglow tred the same autobiographical territory as Sparkle and Fade did, but fans again embraced the album, sending the singles up the charts and the album into multi-platinum territory. “I Will Buy You a New Life” and “Father of Mine,” the two stand-out cuts on the disc, speak to Alexakis’s desires to build the life for his young family that he never had growing up. Though “I Will Buy You a New Life” contains such potentially depressing lyrics as “I hate those people who love to tell you that money is the root of all that kills/They have never been poor/They have never had the joy of a welfare Christmas,” the tempo of the tune stays relentlessly upbeat, hooking the listener from the first note. Pitchforkmedia critic Ryan Schreiber credits Alexakis for bringing honesty to the worn-out genre of pop-punk tunes: “Alexakis’ lyrics are almost poetic again as he sings about standard rock star stuff like the advantages of being broke and on drugs. The difference between Alexakis and the average rocker is that he’s been through it, so it comes across more like a diary than a fantasy.”

Everclear’s pace didn’t slow after releasing two enormously successful albums. After touring in support of Afterglow, Everclear returned to the studio and emerged with enough material for two albums. Songs from an American Movie, Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile, released in July of 2000, and Songs from an American Movie, Vol. 2: Good Time fora Bad Attitude, released in November of that year, yielded a number of hits, including “AM Radio,” and their biggest hit ever, “Wonderful.” “Wonderful” is an especially poignant song, a look at the disintegration of Alexakis’s marriage through the eyes of his then-eight-year-old daughter, and an unlikely hit.

In 2003, Everclear released Slow Motion Daydream, an album that moves away from personal experience as subject matter and into political and social commentary. Written in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the ensuing wars, Alexakis is aware that the subject matter is pointed. “In some ways politically, I’d be okay with this album becoming dated,” he said to Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service reporter Chuck Myers, “because then it will be a document of the time—a time that hopefully doesn’t exist anymore.” And besides, he added, “I think it rocks.”

Selected discography

Nervous and Weird (EP), Tim/Kerr, 1993.

World of Noise, Tim/Kerr, 1993; rereleased, Capitol, 1994.

Sparkle and Fade, Capitol, 1995.

So Much for the Afterglow, Capitol, 1997.

Songs from an American Movie, Vol. 1: Learning How to Smile, Capitol, 2000.

Songs from an American Movie, Vol. 2: Good Time fora Bad Attitude, Capitol, 2000.

Slow Motion Daydream, Capitol, 2003.

Sources

Periodicals

Addicted to Noise, August 1, 1995.

Details, July 1996.

Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, July 17, 2000; June 10, 2003.

Los Angeles Times, March 16, 1996.

MusicWorld, August 12, 1996.

Newsweek, July 24, 2000.

Ozone, Spring 1995.

Spin, September 1996.

Time, May 27, 1996.

USA Today, August 4, 2000.

Online

Everclear Official Website, http://www.everclearonline.com (October 21, 2003).

“Everclear: So Much for the Afterglow” Pitchforkmedia,http://www.pitchforkmedia.com (October 21, 2003).

Simon Glickman

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Everclear

Everclear

Rock band

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Everclears Art Alexakis was quoted in Spin as saying, When I try to get complex in my songs, I sound stupid. When I write about things that are simple, they come out fine. Theres nothing wrong with anthems. The singer-guitarists rough-edged, melodic anthems, particularly the modern rock hit Santa Monica, have propelled the Portland, Oregon-based trio to platinum sales. Alexakiss own travails have led him to a stance of wary hope that contrasts sharply with the apathy and cynicism that some feel dominate alternative rock.

Alexakis grew up in the housing projects of Culver City, a West Los Angeles neighborhood. He was the youngest of five children, and after his parents divorced, he and his siblings were raised by their mother. Though he adored music and never wanted to do anything else, as he said to Richard Cromelin of the Los Angeles Times, it was some time before he was able to pursue it unhindered. Influenced by his hard-living brother, George, Art was using hard drugs by age 13. After my parents split, my dad was never around, he recalled in Details, so George was the man I looked upto. George died of a heroin and cocaine overdose when Art was still an adolescent, and shortly thereafter, Arts girlfriend also died of an overdose. These experiences only made the teen more self-destructive himself. Heroin wasnt really my thing, he maintained in Spin, adding that he preferred stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines. He did inject cocaine, however, and experienced the roller-coaster ride of addiction for many years. I kicked about four or five times, jonesed badly, and quit finally after I almost killed myself shooting up cocaine, he confessed. Ive been clean for 12 years.

Though Alexakis lived with his father in Houston and his sister in Oregon for short times, he largely grew up in Los Angeles. He attended Santa Monica College and UCLA, worked at various jobs, and got married. During the 1980s he played in several L.A. bands but in 1987 decided to move to San Francisco to start fresh. He worked for a graphic arts company, and played with a couple of acts, but didnt really get his career off the ground until he co-founded the band Colorfinger. Influenced by country and punk rock, the band was impressive enough to get set up its own independent label, Shindig, and to release its own album.

After the groups distribution fell through, the label went bankrupt and Alexakiss marriage dissolved. Through this trying period in his life, Alexakis received some encouragement from Gary Gersh, then an A&R (artists & repertory) executive at Geffen Records. He sent me a letter saying I think this stuff sounds kind of dated but I think your voice is cool and I think you write really great songs. Please keep sending me stuff, Alexakis recollected to Addicted to Noise writer Michael Goldberg. He wrote by hand, Gary. I sent it to him cause he was the guy who signed [avant-rockers] Sonic Youth, which I thought was pretty cool.

Wanting to start anew again, Alexakis decided to move with his new girlfriend, Jenny, to her hometown of Portland. I moved to Portland because my life was falling apart, because my record label went under, my girlfriends pregnant, my bands falling apart, he told Goldberg. There he held various jobs, saw the birth of his daughter, Annabella, and decided to put together a new band. He placed an ad for a rhythm section in a local paper, The Rocket, listing as desired influences punk and alternative heroes such as X, the Pixies and Sonic Youth, as well as classic rock mainstays Led Zeppelin and Neil Young. The ad elicited a call from bassist Craig Montoya.

I was kind of overwhelmed by Art at first, Montoya told Spin. I answered his ad and I had to hold the receiver away from my ear, he was so excited. Alexakis dazzled him with plans to make records, hit the road, play at pivotal industry seminars. Montoya noted, I was like, Wow, I ve never been outside of the Pacific Northwest. He became my father figure at about the same time he became Annabellas. Indeed, Alexakiss little girl was only a few days old when her father, Montoya, and drummer Scott Cuthbert gathered in the Alexakiss basement to play. They recorded a demo there that

For the Record

Members include Art Alexakis (born c. 1963 in Los Angeles, CA), guitar, vocals; Scott Cuthbert (left band c. 1994), drums; Greg Eklund (born c. 1970; joined band c. 1994), drums; Craig Montoya (born c. 1971), bass.

Group formed in 1991 in Portland, OR. Released EP on Tim/Kerr label and released debut album, World of Noise, 1993; signed with Capitol Records, 1994; appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, 1995.

Awards: Platinum certification for album Sparkle and Fade, 1996; voted Band of the Year by Addicted to Noise magazine, 1995; Heroin Girl voted Song of the Year by CMJ readers, 1995.

Addresses: Home Portland, OR. Record companyCapitol Records, 1750 Vine St., Los Angeles, CA 90028. Internet Nehalem, the Officially Endorsed Everclear Site: www.geocities.com/Paris/2068/.

landed them a spot at the influential South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. Their performance facilitated a deal with the Portland-based indie label Tim/Kerr. After an EP, Everclear put out their debut album, World of Noise, which they recorded for $400.

The bands rapid success engendered a great deal of dislike from some veterans on the Portland music scene who saw Alexakis as an opportunistic interloper at best and a wife-batterer at worst. The latter charge was based on one horrible incident, according to Alexakis, of which hes deeply ashamed. Annabella was only 18 months at the time, he recounted to Spin, and she may not remember any of it, but that was the single lowest moment of my entire life.

Everclear eventually inked a deal with former Geffen Records executive Gersh, who had in the interim become the head of Capitol Records. Drummer Cuthbert departed shortly thereafter and was replaced by Greg Eklund, and the bands first effort recorded for Capitol catapulted them to fame. Released in 1995, Sparkle and Fade chronicled Alexakiss many travailsas evidenced by tracks such as Heroin Girlbut also retained a spark of optimism. This record, Alexakis noted in Time, is about getting out of bad situations. Radios embrace of the upbeat Santa Monica, however, ultimately led to the albums platinum sales.

Yet Everclear could hardly be regarded as an overnight sensation. Touring 11 months out of the year, they built a solid nationwide following with raw, energetic performances. Im surprised, only because usually good records dont do well, Alexakis told Ozone. I think its a deep record; I didnt really think it had a smash hit on it. Thats the only thing that surprises methatNSanta Monica has been as big as it is. But what doesnt surprise me iswere a good live band. We play a lot, weve worked our ass off to this point. Its not just the one hit that did it; we built up to it. Eklund suggested in an interview for Gannett News Service that Alexakiss songs simply connected with young listeners. People can identify with what he has to say, he said. Talking to people who like our music, I find they are dissatisfied with what there is for them, what theyve achieved. His songs reflect that. But they are also hopeful.

Selected discography

Nervous and Weird, (EP), Tim/Kerr, 1993.

World of Noise, Tim/Kerr, 1993; Capitol, 1994.

Sparkle and Fade, (includes Heroin Girl and Santa Monica), Capitol, 1995.

Sources

Addicted to Noise, August 1, 1995.

Details, July 1996.

Los Angeles Times, March 16, 1996.

MusicWorld, August 12, 1996.

Spin, September 1996.

Time, May 27, 1996.

Additional information was provided by a Gannett News Service article, March 1, 1996, and by the online magazine Ozone.

Simon Glickman

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Everclear

EVERCLEAR

Formed: 1992, Portland, Oregon

Members: Art Alexakis, vocals, guitar (born Santa Monica, California, 12 April 1962); Greg Eklund, drums (born Jacksonville, Florida, 18 April 1970); Craig Montoya, bass (born Spokane, Washington, 13 September 1970). Former member: Scott Cuthbert, drums.

Genre: Rock

Best-selling album since 1990: Sparkle and Fade (1995)

Hit songs since 1990: "Heroin Girl," "Santa Monica"


An unabashed blast of noisy pop in the midst of the dark, aggressive grunge rock landscape of the mid-1990s, Everclear rose above the din on the power of Art Alexakis's dark tales of drug abuse and dreams of escape.

Raised by a single mother in the housing projects of Culver City, California, Alexakis grew up well acquainted with the seedier side of life. Introduced to drugs by his older brother George, Alexakis was using hard narcotics by age thirteen, but he was later spurred to kick his habit by George's drug-related death. Alexakis turned to music and formed the short-lived punk band Colorfinger after moving to San Francisco in the mid-1980s. The band released one album in 1990 on Alexakis's Shindig label before the singer moved to Portland in 1992, just as the Pacific Northwest's grunge rock scene was exploding onto the mainstream.

After placing an ad in search of musicians to form a band in the local alternative weekly newspaper, Alexakis met bassist Craig Montoya. The pair were soon joined by drummer Scott Cuthbert and quickly recorded a short 1992 album, Nervous & Weird, for four hundred dollars for the local Tim/Kerr label.

In a sign of Alexakis's aggressive, hands-on approach, the singer/songwriter took over promotion and distribution of the album from the label, hiring an independent promotions firm when he was unsatisfied with Tim/Kerr's efforts. The songs were folded into a full-length album, World of Noise (1993), which bore the signature Alexakis approach: personal tales of struggle voiced by loud, distorted guitars and power pop rhythms. A lengthy slate of touring followed, during which Cuthbert was replaced by drummer Greg Eklund. At this point, Alexakis reacquainted himself with Capitol Records president Gary Gersh, who had been supportive of the singer's music in San Francisco. Gersh signed the group to Capitol Records in 1994. Everclear's major-label debut, Sparkle and Fade (1995), distinguished them from the rest of the grunge pack and marked the emergence of a new, powerful songwriting voice in Alexakis's story songs about struggles with drugs, hopes of escaping dead-end lives, and racism.


Painful Memories into Powerful Songs

Tapping into his own early struggles with drugs and poverty, Alexakis is the voice of the struggling every-man on songs such as "The Twistinside," "Summerland," and the album's breakthrough hit, "Santa Monica." Building out of a simply strummed repeating guitar figure, the song grows into a powerful pop confection driven by Alexakis's cigarette-rasp voice. "I don't want to do your sleepwalk dance anymore / I just want to see some palm trees / Go and try and shake away this disease," Alexakis sings, dreaming of a seaside retreat away from his chaotic life.

While many of his peers were using powerful barrages of guitar, ominous lyrics, and bashing rhythm sections to tell similar stories of abuse and alienation, Alexakis seemed to draw more inspiration from the three-part harmonies of the Beatles and the catchy, noisy energy of late-1960s garage bands. Audiences took to the sound in droves, while some in the Northwest's exclusive musical community labeled Alexakis a carpetbagger in the belief that he'd relocated to the area as a career move.

Alexakis's innate sense of melody figured prominently in So Much for the Afterglow (1997), on which the band leader indulges his love of the highly produced work of the Beach Boys by layering his energetic pop songs with steel guitar, banjo, mandolin, keyboards, horns, and a string section. Alexakis's ambivalence about success is evident in songs such as the single "Everything to Everyone": "I say they taught you to how to buy and sell / Your own body by the pound / I think you like to be their simple toy / I think you love to play the clown." Again tapping into personal tragedy, Alexakis pines for an absent father in the distorted, hurt-sounding country rock song "Father of Mine," in which he blames his father for giving him a name and then walking away.

Though he contributed the song "Overwhelming" to the soundtrack of the Ben Stiller movie Permanent Midnight (1998), Alexakis scrapped his plans for a solo album and instead set to work on what would become a two-CD set from Everclear. Songs from an American Movie Vol. One: Learning How to Smile (2000) hop-scotches from songs such as "Here We Go Again"propelled by a soulful horn section, a drum machine beat, and a sample of the classic Public Enemy rap song "Bring the Noise"to the first single, "AM Radio," which samples the golden oldie "Mr. Big Stuff" as it lists the cultural hallmarks of Alexakis's youth. The album also features a wistful, grunge pop cover of Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl."

Songs from an American Movie Vol. Two: Good Time for a Bad Attitude is the id to the first album's ego. Stripped back down to guitar, bass, and drums (and a few programmed drum loops), the second part of the album finds Everclear returning to the formula that first gained them acclaim: forceful, guitar-driven rock songs about lives in turmoil and disarray. This time, though, the songs are told from the point of view of someone who has been to the top and has more to lose. Everclear released a subsequent album, Slowmotion Daydream, in February 2003.

Art Alexakis wove his pain and regret into platinum sales, burnishing his grunge rock songs with tenacious pop hooks. Not afraid to experiment, the hands-on rock star added layer upon layer of sound and production to his songs, growing along with his audience and his musical interests.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

World of Noise (Fire/Tim/Kerr, 1993); Sparkle and Fade (Capitol, 1995); So Much for the Afterglow (Capitol, 1997); Songs from an American Movie, Vol. One: Learning How to Smile (Capitol, 2000); Songs from an American Movie Vol. Two: Good Time for a Bad Attitude (Capitol, 2000); Slowmotion Daydream (Capitol, 2003).

WEBSITES:

www.everclearonline.com.

gil kaufman

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"Everclear." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved December 11, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/everclear