After fans speculated that Everclear frontman Art Alexakis had “fallen off the wagon,” the singer revealed to fans on the band’s website yesterday that he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis three years ago.
The 56-year old singer, who has been outspoken about his past struggles with substance abuse, wrote that after “hearing a lot of people say that I am drinking again or back on drugs because they have seen me look unsteady on stage or around town,” he wanted to set the record straight.
“To be honest, I have never cared about what people say about me personally — except, that is, for the people that I care about (ie..YOU) and what they think,” he explains. “I wanted you to know the truth, simple as that.”
Alexakis first learned of his diagnosis weeks after an automobile accident, when he went to the doctor complaining of numbness. What he thought was a pinched nerve was actually a form of Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS).
“I have had it for anywhere between 10 to 20 years,” he wrote. “It explains why I have had balance and gait problems for the last ten years, it helps explain why I have had a higher sensitivity to heat and cold, and why I don’t have the energy, vigor, and razor-sharp memory that I had ten years ago. I thought it was just me getting older.”
While at first associating the disease with images of “helplessness, wheel chairs, pain, misery, and worst of all, hopelessness,” Alexakis said he has managed to continue touring with Everclear, performing over 250 shows. He has worked on new music for his debut solo record, “Sun Songs,” which will be released in the summer. He also may work on a book about his life. He is best known for his work with alt-rock titans Everclear, which formed in Portland, Oregon in 1991. Their 1995 album, “Sparkle and Fade,” was certified Platinum and the 1997 follow-up, “So Much for the Afterglow,” double platinum.
He concluded the emotional post by saying, “If you see me stumbling…sweaty, looking both tired and anxious at the same time, maybe a little more confused than usual, or forgetting lyrics yet looking happy (which is weird for me), please know that I have not fallen off the wagon.
“I am just learning how to be the new me.”