"I’m not really a rock star. I’m a dad."
Everclear, Ever Playing
Most artists are happy with getting even a single song on the charts or the airwaves. By comparison, Everclear must be one of the happiest groups around, what with a string of hits and almost two decades of recording history under its belt. It’d be hard to point out exactly why the group has persisted for so long. Then again, it’s a question that not many bother to ask.
At the core of the group is Arthur Paul “Art” Alexakis, a 1960’s-born bad boy with music in his blood. Trouble came knocking early in his life: his dad walked out of his life at an early age, his girlfriend and older brother both committed suicide when he was 12, and he’d gotten deep into drugs by his mid-teens. Music became his passion when a near-fatal heroin overdose shocked him into giving up drugs altogether in the mid-1980’s.
Everclear’s Murky Start
He began with a rock band, Shakin’ Brave, which failed to get much attention in LA. Frustrated, Alexakis went to San Francisco, where he found his niche in cowpunk, which blended punk and country music. Colorfinger, his new band, broke up soon after when its distributor declared bankruptcy. Alexakis relocated to Portland for a change of scene.
An ad in a local music publication brought drummer Scott Cuthbert and bassist Craig Montoya knocking, and the first Everclear lineup was complete. Recording in a friend’s basement, the trio managed to complete their first releases, EP Nervous & Weird and LP World of Noise for a 1993 release.
Capitol Records signed the band the next year, around the time Cuthbert was replaced by Greg Eklund. He was just in time to record for 1995’s Sparkle and Fade. Despite the lack of initial interest in the album, the single Santa Monica rode the surging alternative genre movement of the time and pushed the group to mainstream success. Things went in different directions, however, around 1997 and So Much for the Afterglow.
Everclear’s Clearer Future
After a disastrous tour in Australia, the group managed to find another mainstream hit in the Afterglow single Father of Mine. Afterglow would eventually close the year for the band with double platinum sales and a Grammy nod – their only one. Although Alexakis wanted to step back from the group for a while, they came back together to release Songs from an American Movie, Vol 1: Learning How to Smile in 2000.
The sequel, Songs from an American Movie, Vol 2: Good Time for a Bad Attitude, was released so close to Learning to Smile that the two albums ended up stealing each other’s thunder. It was enough to force the group to cancel an extensive British tour. Although the band found redemption in the licensing of Rock Star to a movie, it was cut short by the terrorist attack of September 2001.
Slow Motion Daydream from 2003 represented the group’s return to music, although the label ended up at odds with Alexakis over which single to release first. This resulted in less promotion from the label and poorer sales overall. After touring for Slow Motion Daydream, Eklund and Montoya left the band to pursue other things. Since the lineup change, the group has switched labels to Eleven Seven music and released two albums. Another record is reportedly in the works for a 2010 due date.
Did you know that...
- ...their 1998 Australian tour was so disastrous that the group almost broke up? It was marked with losses and several injuries on the band’s part, although Alexakis has said that he’d be willing to return.
- ...Wonderful, the group’s most successful song, was also used as Columbine High School’s 1999 graduation? It was the year of the fatal shooting rampage where two students opened fire on classmates and teachers.