Portrait of a Punk Who Never Grew Up

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Beach Slang, photographed by Craig Scheihing

It’s been a remarkable 12 months for James Alex, a year full of contradictions and firsts. The lead singer and songwriter for the band Beach Slang, Alex and his wife Rachel had their first child, Oliver, to start 2015. Then in October, the band released its debut album, The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us, which has meant nonstop touring.

Alex’s dad wasn’t a part of his life growing up, a theme that crops up again and again in his songs. He now has to negotiate being away from Oliver, for weeks at a time, in order to make a life for the little boy.

“I’m always that kid always out of place,” Alex sings on “Bad Art and Weirdo Ideas.” “I try to get found / I’ve never known how.”


I went to Philadelphia with NPR Music video guru Colin Marshall to document a day in Alex’s life. Part dad, part rock star. You can watch Colin’s video, and listen to my radio story here.

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