rt Alexakis may describe himself as a “curmudgeon,” but the longtime Pasadena resident launched into a recent conversation with commentary about local wildlife — specifically, parrots and peacocks — that was far from grouchy.
“When I lived over between PCC and Caltech, I used to go out and smoke my cigar in the backyard at six in the morning,” he recalls, warming up to his story as he describes glaring at wild parrots that would cluster on nearby trees and phone wires at that hour. “The parrots would scare away other birds and animals.”
These days the 57-year-old Everclear frontman and his wife live closer to the mountains, and kick back in the backyard with their Yorkies while listening to wandering peacocks screech around the neighborhood. He savors those domestic idylls all the more thanks to his tour schedule. Everclear has remained a steady focus since scoring an alt-rock hit in 1995 with “Santa Monica,” but Alexakis is also preparing to release his first solo record, “Sun Songs,” by early August or possibly September.
“I produce everything. I don’t answer to anybody. I’m just kind of a cantankerous ne’er do well,” he says with a laugh. “Let’s go for antiquated words: curmudgeon. I’m a creative curmudgeon. But I let the label [The End] figure out when it’s advantageous to them to work it. They’ll sell enough to make it worthwhile for them, and they’re gonna stream it and get placements and do that stuff. That’s just the new world. That’s how the music business works now. …
“I’m doing the solo tour now, the Songs and Stories tour, we’ll be playing Everclear shows all summer, and then I’m gonna do a solo tour of the UK to set up next year. We do the ‘Songs From an American Movie, Vol. One’ 20th anniversary tour in the States, in the UK, and in Australia.”
The “Songs and Stories” title of the solo tour that brings him to The Rose next Thursday sums up what distinguishes “Sun Songs” from Alexakis’ decades-long body of work with Everclear. New songs like “California Blood” traverse similar terrain, identifying with Southern California’s character and ethos, but he’s presenting them in an altered frame.
“I’m playing everything: drums, bass, all acoustic guitars, all acoustic bass, some keyboards, a little slide guitar,” he explains. “But no electric guitars. So it’s different in that sense. It still has a rock feel to it on a couple songs, but not heavy. I’m concentrating more on the stories, and the vocals are louder than normally.
“It’s me writing songs and singing songs just like Everclear, so is it reinventing the wheel? No, it’s not. But is it a different facet of what I do as an artist? Yeah, I think so, for sure.”
Art Alexakis headlines at The Rose, 245 E. Green St., Pasadena, 8 p.m. Thursday, May 9; $28/$38/$48. Info: (888) 645-5006. twitter.com/artalexakis, everclearmusic.com, wheremusicmeetsthesoul.com