“If it is not fun, I don’t want to do it.” –Art Alexakis
That’s it. That’s the story.
Ok, perhaps a bit more story, but is that not the best motto? So many of us had our priorities challenged and changed in 2020, and really, why be miserable?
Fortunately, 2021 is bringing the fun back and the Summerland Tour will be one of those times. Yes, a TOUR IS HAPPENING! And, the summer tradition may be closer to you than you think. With his big black boots and an old suitcase, Alexakis is ready to find himself a new place. That translates to the Everclear brainchild is kicking off next week, and we were able to talk with front-man Art Alexakis for some intel.
First and foremost, Alexakis is a pleasure to talk to. He shows interest in your life and jokes with you, which makes you feel like you’ve known him forever. We discussed his Father’s Day at home with his family, and how they handled lockdown. Surely having dad home 24/7 instead of touring means no one gets on each other’s nerves, right? “Well I didn’t say that!,” he laughed. “We are all used to our space. My wife has her space, my daughter has her space, then I tour and I have my space. We had meals together, which we did before COVID anyway, but it got a little intense sometimes.(laughing)” Of course, they had plenty of wonderful times together, so do not panic at his humor. Alexakis is a great storyteller and he makes it feel as if this tour is friends hanging out together again like we did before 2020.
Among the things 2020 took away was promotion of his debut solo album, 2019’s “Sun Songs.” He did get to do some touring before things shut down, but we were robbed of about 80 shows. Plus, he dropped the bomb about his MS diagnoses. His track “Hot Water Test” gave us insight into his MS diagnosis in heartbreaking detail.
Alexakis has also never shied away about speaking up about politics and our world, which is reflected on “Sun Songs” with “A Seat at the Table,” “Orange,” and “White People Scare Me” in particular. The topics became even more important in 2020, but he sees things moving in a positive direction. “Absolutely I see things improving. For a long time, it was our side versus their side, and democracy was on the line, but most objective people can say they are happy with how things are going,” he explained. “It got kinda weird there for a bit. We all want to get back to normal. We want our shows back, and to go to a restaurant and not cosplay! I want to go get ice cream with my daughter and not have it be a big production. We are doing ok, we are an adaptable species and for the most part, most are doing what they have to for us together to get back to the business of living.”
Despite this lifetime condition – and the fact that he caught COVID early on – he is ready to bring live music to us. “I did have COVID in January when things were spiking. I spent two months being sick, then just building muscle back, but now I’m ready to hit the road!,” he told us.
Hit the road, they will. Everclear will be joined by Living Colour, Hoobastank, and Wheatus for the Summerland Tour when it begins its first leg July 1st in Boston.
When we spoke with Brendan Brown of Wheatus last week, he said he is so excited about touring with Everclear and we asked Alexakis if that was his choice. “Yes, that is my thing. Other people can give me ideas, but I have the final word.” (So there, Brown! You were chosen!)
Despite all the canceled shows last year, Everclear was able to play some events together, so they are not rusty. “We’ve been playing and we are ready to go! There are 20 dates on this first leg and we got new gear, and stuff for guys on crew, new stuff for everybody make it sound better than ever. We are ready to get out there!,” he told us excitedly.
(He said “first leg,” didn’t he….?)
While some songs from “Sun Songs” may appear in the set, we can certainly expect all the Everclear classics we love. Their major label debut album “Sparkle and Fade” spawned “Heroin Girl,” “You Make Me Feel Like a Whore,” and of course “Santa Monica.”
Their follow up album, “So Much for the Afterglow,” would go on to be their best-selling album with hits “Everything to Everyone,” “I Will Buy You a New Life,” “One Hit Wonder,” and the biggie “Father of Mine.”
Since then, they have continued to release solid albums with songs we love like “AM Radio,” “Wonderful,” “Volvo Driving Soccer Mom”… there is no shortage of Everclear tracks for us.
In addition to the amazing bands that we will see at Summerland, Everclear has special meet and greet packages available. To be honest, I was worried these types of packages would go away due to COVID, but Everclear has them! The ability to meet the band, see a private performance, and be on the side of the stage during the show is pretty damn amazing. Of course, to the safety of all, fully vaccinated people would be the best solution to this, and things will be handled on the honor system – although some fans have proudly showed off their vaccination card to Alexakis. While some bands have used the opportunities to cash in big time, Everclear meet and greets are incredibly well priced, in my opinion. It was critical to Alexakis to keep things reasonable. “When I buy things, I want it to be a great value for the money, so that was important to me to do that as well,” he explained.
While some bands used the time home in 2020 to write new albums, Alexakis said he had not been “in a mood” to write, but recently thought it would be fun to make “rough old school” record in the studio. Something raw, without Pro Tools, “do it the way we used to.” We shall see if that comes to life…
Everclear is rounded out by Dave French, who has been the guitarist for 20 years, Freddy Herrera on bass (“I’ve known him for 22 years and finally got him in the band 12 years ago.”), and Brian Nolan on drums (“I’ve known him for 25 years, and got him in here finally seven years ago.”). “They are with me until the wheels fall off!,” Alexakis laughed. “We are a bunch of middle-aged guys, having a good time!”
And they will continue to do so, as long as it is fun, which you know it will be.