Nearly 20 years ago, Portland band Everclear released one of their biggest albums, Sparkle and Fade, a prelude to the bands incredible success throughout the 90s and 2000s. Now, 22 years after the band’s formation, the band is fresh off recording and ready to release their 9th studio album, Black is the New Black, early next year.
Currently made up of Art Alexakis, Dave French, Freddy Herrera, Josh Crawley, Sean Winchester, the band, though its gone through a couple lineup changes over the years, can boast multi platinum success (most notably the double platinum standing of So Much for the Afterglow (1997)), as well as Billboard awards and accolades and even a Grammy Award nomination in 1998. I got to chat with singer Alexakis, who reflects briefly on the past 20 years.
“We’ve had a 20 year career. Our first big record is going to hit its 20-year mark. We still have a pretty good core of fans, we still make a pretty good living. We’re not on the radio like we used to be… some people think of us as a nostalgia band. I think there’s a nostalgia thing, considering how long we’ve been together. But I don’t think of us as the nostalgia act. I make music. The new album is coming out and to me, it sounds like a balls to the wall Everclear record. I’m excited. I still have the fire in my belly.”
Currently, Alexakis is touring solo to promote the release of their newest album, set for March of next year. Though its just Alexakis, the main goal is provide an intimate show with the crowd, filled with stories and songs from not only the new album, but previous albums as well, giving fans from across the board an enjoyable night. VIP tickets will get the opportunity to get a sneak preview of the albums and any attendees at the show will be given a free download to a track on the album.
“I like to go out and do a solo thing before the album comes out and play a couple songs off the record and play older songs and tell stories. I’ve really gotten into the story telling aspect.” Alexakis explains about the current tour. “The people are really into sitting down and hearing stories and being interactive. It’s real fun. We do this thing, Summerland tour every year, and it’s not intimate like this. And I really thrive off of it. It challenges me as well.”
Alexakis goes onto explain the Summerland tour, which is going into its 4th year, and whose lineup has just been recently announced. “Its bands from the 90s but they’re bands that still make records and tour. Not just nostalgia bands that sit around and collect royalty checks and go out once a year to play the hits. I make them play the hits but they also have to have new songs and be active on social media. They have to have to fire in their belly or else I don’t want to be a part of it.”
At the end of our talk, Alexakis dives deep into the state of the music industry. From someone who has seen and been a part of a changing industry, his insight is fascinating.
“The music industry as we know it is broken.” He firmly states, “No one is buying CDs, no one does that under the age of 30. Everyone buys it online. There’s still labels out there, not all, that are hung up on this model of ‘Im going to give you very little money, and you’re going to create this product and I’m going to sell it and own it forever and give you next to nothing. It’s a stupid model. They should all be like joint ventures. ‘You give me this equity, I create this work, and we split the profits.’ That’s fair. With that in mind, we’re selling our record. We’re active on updates, you can buy it on pledgemusic.com. Not just our band, Weezer is doing it, Bush is doing it. Its cool because it cuts out the middle man, you get access to the artist. They get more money, you get it for less money, it’s the future. And after that, I have a label called the N record, an awesome little label out of Brooklyn. They have distribution through Warner, and I get the record back at the end of it and they get it for 5 years. Its not like it used to be. I think this is the closest blend of the new model as it can be and that it’ll get better.”