PICTURED: Art Alexakis will go on tour this summer with Everclear. Photo by Ashley Osborn/Contributor

by Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Pasadena Weekly Executive Editor

Adversity has played a role in the success of Everclear’s Art Alexakis.

The 60-year-old singer battled drug problems and a rocky relationship with his father. Lately, he’s battled multiple sclerosis and spinal problems. He looks back on Everclear’s 30 years and understands what made the “Santa Monica” band successful. 

“My adversity helped me,” said Alexakis, who’s been gluten free for a decade. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without that adversity. I needed it to get the fire in my belly.”

Alexakis will cover Everclear’s three-decade career and his solo material during a stop at BeachLife Festival, starting on Friday, May 13, and continuing through May 15. He will perform at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 14, on the SpeakEasy Stage presented by Jack Daniel’s. Later in the summer, Everclear will embark on an East Coast jaunt in commemoration of its anniversary. The support acts are The Nixons and Fastball.

“I’m going to play the hits and fan favorites at BeachLife,” he said. “Anyone who wants to request a certain song can hit me up on Twitter. If I can do it, I’ll do it. It’s about an hour-long set. I might break out one or two from my solo record that I put out a couple years ago.”

In celebration of Everclear’s 30 years, fans will see a humorous video that shows Santa Monica. It’s a teaser for a Matt Pinfield-hosted retrospective video with photos and clips. 

“You’ll see all the bad hairstyles I’ve had over the years and my horrible choices in clothing,” he said. “It’s pretty stunning.”

Art Alexakis of Everclear will be performing solo at the BeachLife Festival. Photo by Ashley Osborn/Contributor

Also in honor of Everclear’s career is the reissue of its debut, World of Noise, which the band made for $400 in 1992.

“I was living in Portland (Oregon) with the mother of my eldest daughter,” he said. “She became my second wife. We lived in San Francisco together. When she got pregnant, we moved to Portland. We had family there . . . We were poor on welfare and playing in Everclear at night in little clubs. I was digging a garden for a friend of hers for an extra $100, which was a big deal at the time.”

Alexakis saw a “hipster-looking dude going in and out of the garage.” Assuming he was a drug dealer, Alexakis flagged him over. 

“He said, ‘Aren’t you in that band Everclear?’” Alexakis recalled. “I have a studio that you can use for $10 an hour. I jumped the fence to go over and look at it.”

Alexakis traded $400 in equipment, like effects pedals he wasn’t using, for studio time. World of Noise was born. 

Alexakis’ love for music has been passed down to the next generation. His daughter has developed a deep appreciation, especially for Led Zeppelin. 

“I remember for my daughter’s 12th or 13th birthday, I bought her a turntable,” he said. “She liked my friend’s turntable. I bought her Led Zeppelin II. She puts it on and cranks it up. She listens to ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and says, ‘This is awesome.’ I said, ‘Yes, it is. It’s timeless.’ When that riff starts — to this day — my blood pumps. It’s intrinsic. I don’t want to sound like a hippie, but drums go back thousands of years. That tribal, pulsing beat and rhythm is amazing. For someone to say my music is timeless, I’m very grateful. I just never cared about sounding like the next guy.”

Alexakis now lives with his family in Pasadena. He said he never thought he would love that city’s quaint homes and shops. 

“We wanted to move somewhere warm, after living in Portland for 21 years,” he explained.   

But not too warm! His wife, Vanessa, is a Tucson native, but the two couldn’t move there as Alexakis can’t tolerate the Arizona heat. 

“With my MS, it’s too hot for me,” he said. “I can’t be that hot. It gets in the 90s now. This whole global warming thing that the kids are talking about, they might have something there.”

Art Alexakis performs Saturday, May 14, at 7 p.m. at the BeachLife Festival, 137 N. Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach. For tickets and more information, visit beachlifefestival.com.