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: When I was seven, my big brother took me with him to the record store to buy Led Zeppelin II the day it came out, and it stayed on the old record player in our room for literally a year. If you lived in L.A. in the early ’70s, Led Zeppelin wasn’t just a band—they were religion! It didn’t seem possible to me that someone couldn’t like Led Zeppelin. When I started playing guitar when I was 14, I took a few lessons, but I really learned to play by ruining Led Zeppelin. It took me a couple of months, but I learned all the songs. When I played Madison Square Garden (the site of Led Zeppelin’s concert footage for the movie The Song Remains The Same) with Everclear in 2001, I broke out my red double-neck Gibson (just like Jimmy Page) and played a Zeppelin song. It seemed like the right thing to do.