Queen City Sounds Podcast Ep. 29: Everclear

Everclear, photo by Ashley Osborn

Everclear is a band that emerged in Portland, Oregon in 1991 in time for the first wave of alternative rock that decade. Main songwriter and frontman Art Alexakis had grown up in southern California and relocated to San Francisco for a time in the late 80s with his first wife where he established his music imprint Shindig Records. None of his musical projects at the time broke through and to get a fresh start, having not so then long ago got off drugs and newly a father, he moved to Portland, Oregon with his family where his wife had family and an important support system that makes life in a new city easier. Alexakis had a solo project turned band in Colorfinger and some songs he wrote during that period would make it into his next band’s repertoire. With Everclear, Alexakis would use his tumultuous life, challenging youth and great personal loss as the subject matter for especially raw and affecting songs. Everclear’s debut album 1993’s World of Noise was raw and real and recorded for a few hundred dollars. 2022 sees the remaster of the album for digital in June and for vinyl in the fall 2022 and its songwriting strikes as still relevant, poignant and powerful. By the time of the 1995 follow up Alexakis and company had a major label contract and a budget so that the resultant record Sparkle and Fade had much more professional production but the songwriter’s knack for pairing meaningful and deeply personal lyrics with solid hooks rooted in classic pop songcraft and Alexakis’ own eclectic background as an artist whose appreciation for country music melodies informed some of the most memorable songs of the decade including “Santa Monica,” “Father of Mine,” “I Will Buy You A New Life” and “Everything to Everyone.” After three platinum albums throughout the latter half of the 90s the musical landscape had changed some even if Everclear kept writing quality material and the band disappeared from the world of mainstream music.

In 2014 Everclear announced its Summerland tour which brought together alternative rock bands popular in the mid-to-late 90s. Though a bit of a nostalgia tour it also proved there was still an appetite for that music even if it wasn’t dominating the commercial charts. All through the ups and downs of popularity Alexakis has been an insightful observer of humanity and culture with a pragmatic streak born of being a music industry veteran who has always had to advocate for himself and who has long advocated for other artists and humanitarian causes. In his music you hear the words of someone who projects vulnerability and sensitivity backed with a grit and strength that was necessary to make a life in rock and roll. Look for his autobiography in the coming years where you can read a plethora of a great stories from a colorful and eventful life.

Catch Everclear on Sunday, June 12, 2022 with Fastball and The Nixons at Ogden Theatre and listen to our interview with the engaging and witty Alexakis on the latest episode of the Queen City Sounds Podcast on Bandcamp linked below.