Everclear’s ‘Santa Monica’ is one of the best examples of end-of-the-world ennui you’ll find just about anywhere. Released in 1995, the post break-up lyrics and 90s punk guitars have taken on even more relevance in the troubled 2020s. Now, it’s not just girls we’re breaking up with, it’s the whole goddamned world!
You’ve got to want this. There’s no secret. I wanted it more than others. I was tenacious.Art Alexakis, Everclear
‘Santa Monica’ is one of those songs that defines an era, for ever articulating a pivotal moment of growing up for a whole generation. Songs that have such explanatory power can tend to get trapped under glass, like beautiful butterflies, we capture and preserve them in our memories because we love them so much. That act of preservation can also be destructive, for ever consigning the music to memories of time and place, and killing off any possibility of their enduring life and relevance. They become nostalgia trips.
But some songs and the artists that create them refuse to be pinned down. Either the world turns and they take on new relevance for new generations, or the artists refuse to give in to being one-hit wonders. With Everclear, it’s a little from column A, a little from column B and a whole lot more.
First up, with three platinum albums — Sparkle and Fade (1995), So Much For The Afterglow (1997) and Songs From An American Movie Vol. One (2000) — Everclear are about more than just that one song. The band’s recorded output currently spans three decades and 11 studio albums, with their most recent, 2015’s Black Is The New Black, being a handy extension of their sonic output. And that doesn’t include the six ‘best of’ albums released between 2004 and 2014. Say what you like about the ‘best of’ format, but it’s always a reliable indication of a band’s relevance and popularity, and ready doorway for new audiences.
On top of recording, Everclear tour constantly. Having last toured Australia three years ago, they’re returning with a national run of dates from 30 January, including headlining the Hotter Than Hell festival. On these outings you’ll find the band exploring the full range of their material, especially the deep cuts, giving their fans a real treat and injecting new life into their live dynamic.
When we spoke to Everclear’s songwriter, vocalist, guitarist and leader, Art Alexakis, it was clear that he was genuinely excited about his band’s imminent return to Australia.
“I’m stoked man!” he told Around The Sound.
“You know, when we started out I thought, ‘Will anybody ever pay me to do this?’” Alexakis said, referring to his and the band’s humble beginnings in Portland, Oregon, where he was on benefits and working part-time jobs to feed a young family while still driven to make music. Reflecting on Everclear’s subsequent success, Alexakis simply said, “You’ve got to put in the 10,000 hours. You’ve got to want this. There’s no secret. I wanted it more than others. I was tenacious.”
Talking about the band’s preparations for their upcoming Australian tour, Alexakis said of their purple patch in the mid to late 90s, “Isn’t that cool to be part of something like that? I went back and listened to that record (Sparkle and Fade), because I’ve got to learn some songs off it. It’s a raw record, but I’m really proud of it. It’s an old school rock and roll record. At the time some critics thought it was over produced. Can you believe that?
“I found my own voice in the words, the guitar playing, the production. It’s cohesive work.”
Everclear’s mainstay and the only constant member of the band over the journey, Alexakis speculated about what it takes to make an Everclear record, saying, “It helps if you’re a control freak like I am. I’m old enough to say that now. I don’t really think I’m a control freak, but I seem to have all the characteristics. I’m just a guy with a vision.”
That vision has delivered a plethora of enduringly good and, sometimes, great indie guitar rock and the live shows that come with that are definitely affairs to remember.
Speaking about how Everclear will represent their back catalogue on their upcoming Australian dates, Alexakis said, “It depends on the show. We can go pretty deep. I’m excited about doing our earlier, more punk rock songs. We’re going to keep it fast and moving hard.”
And, advice for up and coming players? “Just tell the fucking story,” Alexakis said. “Tell me a story that moves and inspires me and sounds like you.”
EVERCLEAR 2020 AUSTRALIA TOUR DATES
THU 30 JAN | The Cambridge Hotel | TICKETS
FRI 31 JAN | The Metro Theatre | SYDNEY, NSW | TICKETS
SUN 2 FEB | Odeon Theatre | HOBART, TAS | TICKETS
THUR 06 FEB | Croxton Bandroom | THORNBURY, VIC | TICKETS
FRI 07 FEB | Pier Bandroom | FRANKSTON, VIC | TICKETS
SUN 09 FEB | The Basement | CANBERRA, ACT | TICKETS
WED 12 FEB | The Helm | MOOLOOLABA, QLD | TICKETS
THUR 13 FEB | Parkwood Tavern | GOLD COAST, QLD | TICKETS
FRI 14 FEB | Racehorse Hotel | IPSWICH, QLD | TICKETS
THU 20 FEB | Freo Social | FREMANTLE, WA | TICKETS
FRI 21 FEB | The Carine Glades Tavern | DUNCRAIG, WA | TICKETS
For Hotter Than Hell tour dates and tickets, click here.
For those playing along in Western Australia, the Dunsborough leg of the Hotter Than Hell tour also features Perth’s Axe Girl, who are definitely worth turning up early for. They’re equal parts fury and bubble gum and seeing them live is guaranteed to change your life.