Everclear with special guests Fastball
Considering Everclear has written and recorded some truly iconic ’90s alt-rock hits, it would be all too easy these days for the band to be a victim of its past successes, relegated to performing as a glorified jukebox, existing to satisfy the nostalgic cravings of Gen Xers everywhere. But singer-guitarist Art Alexakis isn’t about to start phoning it in now.
Although the band hasn’t released a new studio album since 2015’s triumphant Black Is The New Black, Everclear continues to tour actively, in conjunction with a series of past-release anniversary dates and the annual Summerland Tour, which Alexakis created and has been running since 2012, featuring a rotating cast of ’90s alt rock favorites. And while it’s a virtual surety that no Everclear gig is complete without a rendition of “Santa Monica” and “Father of Mine,” lately the band has found that exploring the full range of past material—especially the “deep cuts”—not only gives fans a rare treat, it also injects new life into the band’s live dynamic.
“By mixing it up and digging into the catalogue, it still makes it fun and relevant for us, and I think for the fans as well,” says Alexakis. “It’s still important to play the hits, but by playing those other songs as well, it makes it all seem more vibrant and real. Even though I recorded some of those songs 20 years ago, I haven’t played them in a long time, so it’s like reinventing the wheel. I’m having more fun now than I have in years. I think all of us are.”
Formed by Alexakis in 1991 in Portland, Oregon, Everclear has enjoyed a lengthy career spanning 11 studio releases, numerous videos, thousands of shows and accolades that include a 1998 Grammy nomination. Like a true survivor, Alexakis has soldiered on through multiple lineup changes over the years: During the “classic” era, the band also included Craig Montoya on Bass and Greg Eklund on drums; the current touring lineup features longtime members Dave French (guitar) and Freddy Herrera (bass), as well as drummer Brian Nolan (also with American Hi-Fi), who has performed with Everclear on multiple past tours.
This incarnation of the band will hit the road for the 2018 Summerland Tour. As in prior years, Everclear will headline the latest installment of the festival, this time supported by Marcy Playground and Local H, and also featuring a special DJ set Alexakis will contribute, which honors the ’90s in a refreshingly old-school way.
“The Summerland Tours are all unique; they all have a different kind of feel to them,” says Alexakis. “I think this year will be really cool, because it’s usually guitar-based, but Marcy Playground is more acoustic-based, yet they still rock in their own way. Local H is just two guys, meanwhile, and they’re great, too. So, it’s just a different look at ’90s alternative this year…different facets of what it’s about. With Everclear, we’re going to play the hits we always play, but we’re also going to mix it up. Every night will be a little different; there’ll be a few surprises every show.”
For Alexakis and Co., it’s a continuation of a hectic couple of years. Everclear spent May and June of 2017 touring in honor of the 20th anniversary of So Much For The Afterglow, the band’s massively successful sophomore major-label release. The 40-date run was an incredibly emotional and personally satisfying experience for Alexakis, who was able to perform obscure cuts from that time period for the first time in many years. Connecting with fans in that setting also reinforced the lasting impression the album has made.