One thing the 90’s gave us was an everlasting legacy of grunge anthems that still resonate to this day. One of the standout albums of 1997 was Everclear’s Double Platinum ‘So Much For The Afterglow’, with the self-titled track with the instantly recognisable Beach Boys-esque acapella intro before the guitar attack shifts it into gear. This year marks the album’s 20 year Anniversary, and the Local Gods are headed down under for a celebration of epic proportions.
Frontman Art Alexakis reflected on the band’s longevity with Glam Adelaide, and where he’s at in life right now. On the other end of the phone is a man who’s endured his fair share of personal demons but has evolved into a wiser, more focussed individual with a love of life.
“How are things down in the city of churches?” is his response to my awkward introduction, which immediately relaxes the tension and chills the mood. “Oh great, it’ll be a nice place when it’s finished,’ is my reply, to which he bursts out with laughter, getting my attempt at self-deprecating geographical humour.
Excellent, we’ve broken the ice.
Having caught them the first time around 20 years ago on that now infamous tour, I find it a little surreal to be talking with the lead singer/guitarist because I thrashed the ‘Afterglow’ CD when it was released in 1997. For Alexakis though, he was just happy to be along for the ride back then and had no idea where things would take him today. I asked him if he thought that Everclear would still be here 20 years on, and if he felt some sense of destiny for the band “I don’t really project like that to be honest, I didn’t have any idea back then and I just concentrate on where I’m at right now. Just stay in the present. I didn’t though, think this record would be still important to so many people. We just did the 20th Anniversary tour here in the United States and we kept having to add shows over a few months. We only had 6 days off during the whole tour. They were some of the best crowds we’ve had in 15-20 years! It made us feel really good to talk to people and how the ‘Afterglow’ album connected with them. And we know there’s a huge connection down there in Australia so we’re hanging out to come back.”
The initial tour in 1998 was marred by some unfortunate incidents such as Alexakis’ teeth being busted by a thrown shoe, they had gear stolen, and the band ended up cancelling the remainder of the tour to head home. That’s all in the past though, and Alexakis feels the current situation in terms of band members and maturity is the right one.
We discuss how the 90’s was an era of ‘no bullshit’ music, with Grunge forging the way for a new sound based on good old fashioned ‘sticky carpet pub/garage rock.’“I’ve always tried to be no bullshit and real in what I do and how I act. It’s the kind of person I like and try to be. My music too has no pretence, I don’t sing about ‘dungeons and dragons’, all that crap, it’s not my thing. God bless anyone that wants to make music like that, it’s all valid whether I like it or not, but I like to tell stories that inspire me and my listeners. That’s how I do it.”
The more I chat with Alexakis, the more I feel I’m talking with someone who is at peace with life. It’s hard to explain how those who have walked the darkest paths can elicit the most strength of character the way they project themselves, but Alexakis is the real deal and an intriguing guy. “Everyday’s new! If you keep telling yourself what tomorrow’s gonna be like, it’s gonna be boring & predictable. Life’s too short, I don’t want that. I want it to be full of joy, on my own terms. I know it sounds like a Hallmark card but clichés are clichés for a reason.
So life’s good for you right now? “Life’s been really good for a long time, I had a few health problems last year but I’m all good. I’ve had to change my diet and work out more but I’m still ‘doing it’ (touring, playing) at 55. You just adapt to circumstances.”
We talk about the current music scene and what he thinks of the current crop of rock acts. He notes that Australia has always stood out with rock and still do, but America is in a lull for decent rock acts at the moment. One or two acts stick out, but not much else. Understandable. We were spoiled for choice in the 90s
When Everclear hit Australia this October, they’ll of course be playing the entire ‘So Much For The Afterglow’ album but will throw their all at making audiences happy. “We’ll come out with side one of Afterglow, then some of Sparkle and Fade & World of Noise, all the stuff fans would expect. It’s a long show!”
Hell yes! Everclear are a great live act and have a huge repertoire of songs that stick with you long after the ears stop ringing.
By Dazz Hassan
Everclear Australian Tour Dates
Friday 29th September 2017- The Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane www.ticketmaster.com.au
Saturday 30th September 2017- Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle www.ticketbooth.com.au
Tuesday 3rd October 2017- The Metro Theatre, Sydney www.ticketek.com.au
Wednesday 4th October 2017- The Gov, Adelaide www.oztix.com.au
Thursday 5th October 2017- Croxton Band Room, Melbourne www.oztix.com.au