The pop-rock band’s Art Alexakis talks about his struggles, successes and evolving music.
The members of Everclear might change. There have been 15 different players, who have performed under the Everclear moniker during the pop-rock band’s 20-year existence.
Songs may be altered. The Portland, Ore.-based band’s In a Different Light and Return to Santa Monica are both filled with Everclear hits, which have been re-arranged since the original recordings.
However, there is a lone Everclear constant, and that is Art Alexakis.
No matter what happens, the singer-songwriter continues to release material under Everclear.
“It’s kind of like Nine Inch Nails and Smashing Pumpkins,” Alexakis tells Atlantic City Weekly. “There’s a guy in each of those bands who is the leader of the band, who sings and writes the songs and could easily be leading a band, which possesses his name only. It’s the same situation for me. But I think we, in this society, are used to doing things as a collective.”
Alexakis is often on the road delivering acoustic versions of Everclear’s most familiar songs, but when he takes the stage Friday (July 27) at Revel’s Ovation Hall in Atlantic City with the Summerland tour — which also features the Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray and Marcy Playground — it will be all about high-octane, pedal-to-the-metal, raw rock.
“That’s who this band is,” Alexakis says. “We rock. The reason Different Light was made was to update where those songs are. They have morphed over the years. The songs have to change or you would go crazy playing the same songs over every night. I wanted to document the evolution of the songs. I thought it would be interesting to use acoustic guitars instead of loud, distorted guitars when we made that record. But now I’m back to rocking in the studio and onstage.”
It doesn’t matter that the short but cerebral Alexakis turned 50 in April; he plans to bounce around the stage with the abandon of those half his age.
“I think that [middle] age and rocking is a state of mind,” Alexakis says. “It doesn’t matter. To me, it’s a matter if you have it or you don’t. I’m in shape. I still feel like a young man and act like a young man.”
Perhaps the biggest difference between the young and middle-aged Alexakis is maturity. The former heroin addict suffered through a number of difficult experiences, but grew from each circumstance.
In recent years, Alexakis declared bankruptcy, dealt with his third divorce and lost his mother to lung cancer.
“I went through so much pain,” Alexakis says. “The last divorce was extra painful since I didn’t have a pre-nup. Losing my mother, who I was always so close to, was very, very painful. But I realized I had to break some habits and make some changes, which isn’t easy for a middle-aged man to do, but I did make them. I’m leading a healthier lifestyle and making smarter decisions. You have to grow up at some point. I’m finally there.”
Everclear is here with a new album, Invisible Stars. Only one musician remains from Everclear’s last batch of original material, 2006’s Welcome to The Drama Club. The album is comprised of familiar (think breakthrough release Sparkle and Fade), energetic, catchy, hard-rocking material. “I’m in a good space,” Alexakis says. “I think there has been quite an evolution for me lyrically. If you compare what I wrote 15 years ago and now, you can see a big difference. I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years and I’m proud of the growth. You can tell that by the stories I write.”
Alexakis has always been a master storyteller often drawing from his own experiences.
“We’re just pleased that people have responded to what we do,” Carney says. “It’s a lot different than when we started out.”
To usher in the historic first day for Revel, the property has booked the band The Raveonettes to perform a free show at 9pm at The Social, located near Revel's imaginative casino floor.
Just as Atlantic City Weekly columnist David Spatz suggested back in February, Maroon 5 has been booked to perform at Revel’s Ovation Hall on Friday, May 18, 8pm.
Akron, Ohio rockers The Black Keys have been booked for Revel.
"It was a little bit of a culture shock coming from Las Vegas, as you can imagine. But then when I actually spent some time [in Atlantic City] and spent some time in competitors' casinos, I was pleasantly surprised and I feel that, you know, being involved in Revel is a very exciting piece of history for Atlantic City and I think will change how people look and perceive the market."
Revel reportedly outbid another Atlantic City Casino to book the popular pop rock band, but it’s unlikely they’ll actually christen the new showroom.
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