In the late ‘90S, Spokane had such a sense of pride over the success of EVERCLEAR. They were signed to Capitol Records and had that handful of inescapable hit songs, sure, but they were also Portland-based, they came through town on every tour, played PEAKFEST (you remember… in the park with Eve 6 and Citizen King!), and most importantly, they counted among them bassist CRAIG MONTOYA, born and raised in Spokane and a graduate of Mead High School. (Hmm, Portland, Capitol Records, guitar player with Spokane roots … Ring any bells? Bonus points to you!).
The local support was so strong when it came to Everclear that I’m still unaware to this day as to their actual success, because my judgment was so clouded by how cool I thought they were. Remember when they hosted VH1’s “Lift Ticket to Ride” and I recorded it on that VHS tape that’s still in my parents’ attic? No? Okay, but remember how big “Father of Mine” was? That was outta control!
Post-VH1/ “Father of Mine” fame-time, circa 2000 (or for you fans out there, Volumes 1 & 2, ughhh), things started to feel a little shaky. Rumors of divorces, fights (on stage and off), and disagreement over musical direction started to surface, and by 2003 ALL those frickin’ rumors turned out to be TRUE. Montoya and drummer Greg Eklund exited, leaving frontman Art Alexakis to ponder his weary ways (or not …).
Because of our assumed close ties, some of us may have stuck it out a little longer than necessary with ol’ Everclear. Hell, I own Slow Motion Daydream and was even sent a copy of Welcome to the Drama Club that I inexplicably kept (and, yes, I just checked and BOTH “Volvo Driving Soccer Mom” and “Hater” actually happened).
Around 2005, the “reformed” band hit the then, Big Easy, and while Art spoke of “his band” and “making changes,” and I remembered the blurred images of former band-mates on their re-launched website, it became clear that he had lost track, in his quest for fame, fortune and likeable songwriting, of the Everclear with which we’d fallen in love. Or, as I dramatically stated in my review of the show at the time, “I had spent years defending Art and his art and now I felt betrayed.” Touché, Little Ashley. (It was the next year, while sitting with Craig Montoya outside Dante’s in Portland, I found out that the Everclear I’d loved was never the Everclear of reality—boooo).
At that time, Everclear, was the name assigned to Art Alexakis and a group of four totally new dudes. They toured, released Daydream, recorded an acoustic “greatest hits” album (released last fall), and then all of them quit the band, leaving frontman Art Alexakis to ponder… Wait, whoops!
But maybe times have changed, you say! Art’s 47 now (chew on that, fangirls…), there’s an album slated for release later this year, the MySpace page is adorned with a photo of famous Everclear’s lineup (recognition? appreciation? humility? marketing ploy?), and he’s got four new dudes backing him (full of hopes and dreams and… oh, nevermind). Only time will tell, dear friends, but I’m going to put this out there: even the old stuff, that we really, really loved, is sounding crazy-dated to me and not even that good. Maybe that’s bias, maybe not. YOU TELL ME… Show your glory-day Everclear pride (???) when they hit the Knitting Factory on February 19.
Something else to keep in mind… In follow-up to last month’s column on the Sunset Junction post-Platform takeover, word on the street is that things are going quite well. And those “new ideas” we spoke of… WHAMMY WEDNESDAYS are now in full swing, sponsored by THESOMSHOW.COM and featuring a different local DJ every week.
CD OF THE MONTH
Ten Years Older EP
The Honorary Title was always stuck being a Dashboard Confessional. That “emo” tag (remember that?) was with them from the beginning and they just couldn’t get away from it. By the time they added those extra members to be a “real band,” the focus was completely gone from the band’s most winning trait: frontman Jarrod Gorbel. With THT in the rearview, Gorbel’s new solo EP is a return to original form. I’ve always tagged Gorbel as a hipper Rocky Votolato (read: tighter pants), and it’s a more apt comparison than ever before. Check out the EP in advance of the full-length to come later this year.