by Mike Huberty
January 2010

Everclear circa 2009

Everclear circa 2009

The album that finally broke EVERCLEAR (and made them the vanguard of first post-Nirvana alternative generation), Sparkle and Fade, is actually part of Wisconsin music history. It was recorded right in Madison at Smart Studios and the band has great memories of the city. “I love Madison,” Art Alexakis (founder, lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter for the band) starts saying, “I love the sound of that record. I got to know State Street pretty well. It was a while ago and we made friends. The kids that graduated are probably professors now.”, he laughs. “I remember during the making of that, that was in ‘94. MTV was big at the time and one of the big videos on MTV at the time was ‘Black Hole Sun’ by Soundgarden. It was really funny because there was a hurricane warning.” Then he realizes that he’s talking about the Midwest and chuckles a little. “Wait, not a hurricane warning, but a tornado warning!  It was the summertime. We were up at the top of Smart and the smoking guys in the band were smoking cigarettes and we’re watching this cloud up above us swirling toward us. There’s no sound, the air was totally dead, and it totally looked like Black Hole Sun. And people were like ‘get inside, idiots!’ And we’re like ‘Wow, that’s really cool’. Because we’re from the West coast, man, we don’t know about tornadoes.”

16 years later, Art is the only original member still with EVERCLEAR. In August of 2009, the band signed with 429 Records and by October released an album of re-interpretations of their older material called In A Different Light. There’s already a greatest hits album from 2004, so why revisit the old material? Art explains, “It’s actually two reasons. I’ve always wanted to document how our songs have changed and bands do that usually by doing live albums. I don’t like live albums, I like a couple, but I don’t like most because they either sound bad or they’re not really live albums. They’re recorded in the studio and crowd sounds are added later. I wanted to go into the studio in a very live way, without a lot of overdubs, and record songs the way they’ve evolved over the years.” He continues, “The reason we did it acoustic is because I’ve had an overwhelming amount of requests from the fans on the Myspace and Facebook pages… They want to hear acoustic versions of old songs. It was a challenge to do a lot of these bombastic hard rock guitar songs acoustic and still give them dimension and depth, still be exciting.”And that’s also changed the significance of some of the tracks. “There’s a song On A Different Light called ‘Summerland’ from Sparkle and Fade.” Art says, “We do it more like I’ve been doing it solo acoustic for years and I can be more dynamic with my vocals. It’s changed the way I accent the words and changes the meaning of it slightly, putting more emphasis on different aspects of the song.“

With a fresh band together and a final leg of a tour about to be completed, a new album is on the horizon as well. ”I can’t wait to get in the studio.“ Alexakis says, ”It’s gonna be like a kid in the candy store, having this much talent that’s all on the same wavelength, that hasn’t happened to me for years and years.  We have rehearsals in February, recording in March and April, and I’m supposed to deliver a record before summer. So, the recored will be out in August. All new, all the songs I’m writing are pretty melodic, uptempo, and guitar-based.” As for the audiences hearing them before they reach the studio, Art demures,” I usually don’t play new songs before I record them. I don’t know why, I keep the cards close to my chest.“

EVERCLEAR’s In A Different Light tour hits Chicago and Minneapolis in January and performing live still gets Art riled up. ”Getting out in front of a crowd of people, no matter how big and no matter how small, and singing the words to my songs and being excited to hear us and that gets me up every night that I play.“ He continues, ”I’m 47, I’ve done a lot of stuff and been to a lot of places. I’ve been playing in bands for thirty-some years, since I was 16 and it still gets me excited every day. It’s what I still love to do…There’s all this stuff I want to do that’s super exciting. But there’s nothing more exciting than getting onstage with an electric guitar with a band that I’m super excited about and playing songs that people like to hear.“

(4936) Page Views

Everclear Online:

CD: In A Different Light Record Label: 429 Records
Purchase In A Different Light on Amazon
Download In A Different Light on Amazon