Regrets—Art Alexakis has had more than a few. And he’s had his share of losing, too. But the Everclear frontman has always done it his way. While far too many of his ’90s Pacific Northwest brethren (Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, Andrew Wood, et al) ended up six feet under, Alexakis has been a survivor, enduring arrests, attempted suicide, drug abuse, divorce, depression, bankruptcy and much more. Despite being dubbed Nirvana lite by music critics, Everclear soldiered on, becoming a platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated, hit-making band, and Alexakis used this success to champion causes close to his heart. The revolving-door group’s latest release, In A Different Light (429), is a collection of (mostly) older Everclear songs reinterpreted in a stripped-down manner. Alexakis is guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week. Read our Q&A with him.
Alexakis: My first guitar was an old Vox Phantom that my mom bought me at a pawn shop for $40. My second was a black Les Paul knockoff that I bought a year later for $100. (I worked three paper routes and sold a lot of weed to pay for that.). When I was 17 (and working full time), I bought my first real Gibson Les Paul. It cost more than $1,000 on layaway; I would make payments every week when I got paid. I feel sorry for the guys at the guitar shop and my girlfriend at the time; not a lot of real dates for three months—just visits to the guitar shop so I could play the guitar until they kicked me out and then teenage (bad) sex on her mom’s couch after mom would go to bed. But the idea of actually owning the same guitar as Jimmy Page and Joe Perry and Ace Frehley was reason enough to put my whole world through hell. And I have never looked back. It is still my guitar of choice.