Art Alexakis Steers Clear Of Everclear On Solo Debut

Singer said he expects his first solo LP to be more lush than his past work.

Everclear leader Art Alexakis promises he'll get back to making music with his

power-pop trio as soon as he has the time.

But, for now, he's got a lot on his plate -- such as recording his debut solo album,

finishing his first novel and writing and directing an independent film he's been

developing over the past year. Oh yeah, somewhere in there he also hopes to finally

launch his independent label, Popularity Records.

First up, though, is the singer's debut solo album, which he said he will begin recording

in his native Portland, Ore., in a few weeks.

"I'm really looking forward to doing this solo thing," Alexakis said. He described the

sound of the 14 songs he's working on as "less bombastic" than such driving, pop-punk

Everclear tunes as

HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Everclear/Heroin_Girl.ram ">"Heroin Girl"

(RealAudio excerpt), from the group's 1995 breakthrough Sparkle and Fade, the

second of the three full-length albums from the trio.

Alexakis, 36, promised that his still-untitled solo album will be more rough and raw than

Everclear's polished tunes, but that he doesn't intend to "pull a Nebraska,"

alluding to Bruce Springsteen's bleak yet critically acclaimed 1982 album of acoustic

songs.

"These songs will have more textures, more dynamics. I'm using a lot of technology to

make it sound raw," he said. "There will be more acoustic guitars ... lots of strings and

horns and keyboards. The nature of the songs will be different [from Everclear] because

they're more R&B-influenced, going back to the stuff I grew up with."

A hint at the direction Alexakis might be taking with his solo debut -- which he hopes to

have out in April of 1999 -- can be heard on the song "Overwhelming," which he

contributed to the soundtrack for the upcoming film "Permanent Midnight."

"Overwhelming" -- Alexakis' first solo effort -- is a clear break from the work he's done

with Everclear. The song comes with a 14-piece string section, along with a number of

loops and samples. Alexakis said he wanted the song to have a more lush feel than

some of the more recent Everclear material.

"I wanted to do it a bit differently than the band stuff," Alexakis said of the track, which

was recorded in July in Los Angeles. To achieve a larger sound, Alexakis shared

production duties for the first time in his musical career, bringing in former XTC producer

Paul Fox to help beef up the sound of the track.

The song suits the film perfectly, said soundtrack supervisor Jeff Rabhan, who described

it as "hauntingly beautiful." "Art [the main character] is a recovering heroin addict and

that's one of the themes of the movie and how sometimes trying to keep your head

above water is a chore in itself," Rabhan said.

Alexakis has also broken with his usual way of recording. This time out, he's arranging

all the drum loops and samples in his basement before he enters an L.A. studio later this

year to lay down his vocals and guitars. "I'm singing a lot more on this one ... but it still

rocks. I just want to make it sound a bit different and push myself in a different direction,"

he said.

The band leader said the time off from Everclear bandmates Craig Montoya (bass) and

Greg Eklund (drums) would probably be good for the group. "I think they're real happy

with it," Alexakis said. "They want a break. They're tired of touring. I think a departure

from the spotlight is healthy for us."

Alexakis shrugged off rumors that the trio was on the verge of a breakup in April of this

year, when he and Montoya were reported to have engaged in an onstage scuffle during

an Australian gig. He said that current plans call for Everclear to reconvene sometime

next year and work on the follow-up to last year's platinum-selling So Much for the

Afterglow.

"I think this next Everclear record will be more diverse, with more weirdness and I think it

will be songs that just rock," Alexakis said. "After doing this [solo album] I will really want

to kick it out and I think the boys will also."