Feel the heat

Rock band Everclear still basking in the ‘Afterglow’ 20 years later

Special to the Union Leader
June 07. 2017 12:56PM
Everclear’s most popular singles include “Santa Monica,” “Father of Mine,” “I Will Buy You a New Life” and “Wonderful.” (PAUL BROWN)
If you go...
WHO: Everclear

WHAT: 'So Much for the Afterglow' 20th Anniversary Tour with Vertical Horizon and Fastball

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday

WHERE: Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, 169 Ocean Blvd.

TICKETS: $32 to $36

INFO: casinoballroom.com; 929-4100

Alternative rock band Everclear has hit the road to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its iconic 1997 multi-platinum album “So Much for the Afterglow.”

“It’s hard to believe we made this record 20 years ago,” said lead singer Art Alexakis, who formed the Portland, Ore., band in 1991. “Even though I’m in a different place now than the guy who first wrote and sang these songs, and even though faces, voices and relationships change, the songs still feel relevant and vital every time we play them live.”

Backed by opening acts Vertical Horizon and Fastball, Everclear will headline the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom tomorrow at 7 p.m.

The band’s 1995 debut album, “Sparkle and Fade,” featuring the hit single “Santa Monica,” put the band on the map. “Afterglow” struck a nerve with fans, and continues to have meaning for old and new fans alike.

“Even our super fans are freaking out,” said a laughing Alexakis. “They come to our shows and they’re just crying. And it’s not just the ladies.”

For over two decades, Everclear’s sound has reflected the rock, post-punk and singer/songwriter influences of Alexakis, including X, the Replacements, the Pixies, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Elvis Costello. Everclear released its ninth studio album, “Black Is the New Black,” in 2015.

Alexakis spoke with NH Weekend by phone before the band’s Deadwood, S.D., show, just two weeks into Everclear’s spring tour. The singer, songwriter, guitarist, actor, producer, concert promoter, record-label owner and director, husband and father was just wrapping up a Skype conversation with his 10-year-old daughter. Despite missing his family, he said he’s happy to be on the road again.

“I’ve been doing this for damn near 30 years,” he said, “and it never gets old.”

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Fans of the band’s relentless energy and evocative lyrics won’t be disappointed. On this tour, they’re performing the entire album front to back, including hit songs “Everything to Everyone,” “I Will Buy You a New Life,” “Father of Mine,” “So Much For the Afterglow” and “One Hit Wonder,” along with tracks from the rest of the band’s extensive discography.

Alexakis will be joined by current band mates Davey French on guitar, Freddy Herrera on bass and Jake Margolis on percussion.

Though not entirely autobiographical, some of the heavier songs from “Afterglow” reflect tough times Alexakis faced when he was younger, including his father’s abandonment, and his battles with drug abuse.

“There are still songs on this record that I have a hard time singing, because I get so emotional,” he said.

One of his favorite songs to perform is “Why I Don’t Believe in God,” an ode to the mother he lost to cancer.

The Everclear frontman’s talents aren’t limited to vocals and guitar; he’s also skilled on mandolin and banjo, the result of music lessons at a young age.

“In fourth grade, everybody played an instrument,” he said. “I played clarinet and trumpet. I started playing guitar around 13, when my mom bought me a beat-up Bock pawn shop guitar for $20 and amps for $25 bucks. And that was it.”

A resident of Los Angeles, Alexakis stays busy with his Sunday night radio show on SiriusXM’s Lithium channel, which features a diverse lineup of ’90s alternative and grunge, as well as tunes from his personal archive. The show gives him the opportunity to share stories and reminisce about his 30-plus years in the music business.

Alexakis also runs the annual Summerland Tour, a lineup of popular ’90s alt-rock bands that he created in 2012 with Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath.

The only downside this time around for Alexakis, 55, appears to be sticking to his paleo diet, not an easy feat when on tour.

“It’s rough,” he laughed, “No sugar, no dairy, no bread. No ice cream! I’m eating like a caveman.”

As part of their charitable efforts, Everclear is donating $1 for each ticket sold to Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, an organization that provides financial assistance to career musicians, venue workers, production staff, crew members and their families suffering from injury, illness or disability. Funds raised from the tour will pay for medical procedures, doctor visits, prescriptions and living expenses, the band has said.

“We’re having a blast together,” says Alexakis of his tour mates and crew. “I’m 20 years older, and I can definitely feel it sometimes, but the minute I get up on that stage, it all goes away.”

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