Volume 91, Issue 60

Thursday, January 15, 1998

round and round


The coast is Everclear

©Frank Ockenfels
"COME ON BOYS, LET'S SEE SOME TEETH." Everybody's favourite Bay Area bruisers take to The Embassy stage tonight. They promise some real smiles at the gig.

By Shawn Despres

Gazette Staff

Everclear is one of those bands that nobody can slow down. This past October, the Portland, Oregon trio released its third album, So Much for the Afterglow, to a flurry of raving reviews.

Even though the 1995 album Sparkle and Fade was a hugely successful commercial endeavor, drummer Greg Eklund says the band felt no pressure recording the follow-up. "We just took our time in the studio and recorded an album that we were happy with."

The band did a small promotional tour in November, then took a break for the holidays. Now they are starting 1998 with a bang, by doing a two-week arena tour opening for Our Lady Peace. The tour began last Friday in Halifax with what Eklund called "a pretty amazing show." Our Lady Peace opened for Everclear on their American tour last year and in turn, asked Everclear to open for them on their Canadian tour. The band happily obliged.

"Myself and the band love Canada," Eklund raved. "Toronto and Vancouver are two of my favourite cities in the world. Toronto is just like New York, except the people are a lot nicer."

On this tour, the band is taking a second guitarist, Steve Birch, with them. "We just decided to fill out the sound, because I think there's a lot more textures on this record then there was on the last one. Just having Art [Alexakis] playing guitar on songs that have 15 guitar tracks makes it tough to duplicate that sound live. So we wanted to bring another guy on the road with us to supplement that."

Along with the added textures on this album, the band has also used a wider variety of instruments. Everclear opted for some strings in the songs "Amphetamine" and "Like a California King" and some horns on the tune "One Hit Wonder." The band chose to include these instruments on So Much for the Afterglow because, as Eklund says, "we knew that we were gonna have more time to do this record, so we were able to experiment more than we would have been able to in the past."

Eklund attributes the band being at a different stage musically to the new ideas gained from three years of travelling all over the world on the last tour. "Even with these added instruments," Eklund claims, "our music has remained naturally poppy, which is more so on this record because of the production."

Although musically the album is very upbeat, many listeners and critics often find Alexakis's lyrics to be very dark. "Art's lyrics are not necessarily dark, they're just real," defended Eklund. "They deal with real things written around a pop melody and it works."

Everclear was scheduled to play in Montreal on Sunday night with Our Lady Peace, but due to bad weather the show was cancelled. The band "had to spend a very long night in a hotel in Montreal with no heat" before fleeing to Toronto for a six-day vacation. They'll be pulling into London tonight for a solo show at The Embassy. After finishing their Canadian tour they will head overseas for a couple of months before touring North America again.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1998