Alexakis is an alternative to alternative rock


Art Alexakis, frontman of the hard-driving, alternative band Everclear, is a rock star who helps load kids on to the bus for his daughter's kindergarten field trip.

He's also a rock star who's not afraid to reveal his sensitive side, especially when it comes to Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road."

"I get chills every time I hear that song," he says from his home in Portland, Ore. "I know it's not very punk rock to say that."

And the refreshing dichotomies that define Alexakis and Everclear don't stop there.

"I've always loved aggressive, hard, noisy, yet melodic bands, and at the same time I've always loved "Blue" by Joni Mitchell," says Alexakis, whose band includes drummer Greg Eklund and bassist Craig Montoya. "What you've got is a hard rock band with a singer/songwriter."

Everclear's latest album, "So Much for the Afterglow," follows the Paul Simon and Bruce Springsteen tradition of incorporating vivid characters into the songs. From the deluded rock star in "One Hit Wonder" to the empty schmoozer in "Everything to Everyone," Alexakis builds an intriguing, hard-rocking community of sonic personalities.

"It's important because I can visualize it," says Alexakis, who writes all the songs.

Everclear's first major release, 1995's "Sparkle and Fade," was similarly populated. Esther, the heroine of the hit single "Heroin Girl," was so real that some fans and friends of Alexakis were convinced they knew her. This shocked Alexakis, who told them: "I don't know who your Esther is, but I made mine up."

Alexakis says his songs are autobiographical in the sense that he can relate to the characters and events, but not all of them are directly drawn from his life, as many fans and critics have speculated.

"About one or two songs per record is me doing a little bloodletting," says Alexakis, who adds that an album of songs completely about him would be a tremendous bore.

Everclear's song themes tend to be of delusion foreshadowing a nasty whack off a pedestal. And some songs deal with learning from past mistakes and the slow process of redemption.

For Alexakis, a former heroin addict now enjoying fame and family life, the themes make sense. And he maintains he's not subtly preaching to his fans.

"For the most part, I don't like people who soapbox," he says. "I'm not [sending a message] to anyone else, except maybe myself."

1998 HFStival

When: Saturday, May 16 (Starts at 10 a.m. Last band goes on at 9:35 p.m.)

Where: RFK Stadium in Washington

Tickets: Sold out (WHFS 99.1 FM is having various on-air giveaways up until the festival date.)

Main Stage: Everclear, Marcy Playground, Tuscadero, Semisonic, Soul Coughing, Wyclef Jean, Barenaked Ladies, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, B-52's, Foo Fighters, Scott Weiland, Green Day and the Crystal Method

Outer Stage: Love Nut, Agents of Good Roots, Fuel, Harvey Danger, Fastball, Save Ferris, God Lives Underwater, Samiam and Cherry Poppin' Daddies

Pub Date: 5/14/98

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