Entertainment

Everclear 20th Anniversary Tour So much for the afterglow with Vertical Horizon/ Fastball

May 18, 2017
Event Detail - Band

Date: May 18, 2017 8pm
Venue: Casino Regina Show Lounge
Doors Open: 7:15pm

Ticket Prices
Tickets on sale February 24 at 10am
Main Floor: $51 plus 5% tax
Balcony: $51 plus 5% tax

This show is General Admission with
main floor tickets standing room only.

Buy Tickets

Everclear is donating $1 per ticket sold to Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, an organization that provides financial assistance to career musicians, venue workers, production staff, crew members, and their families suffering from injury, illness or disability.”

EVERCLEAR
Art Alexakis – Lead Vocals, Guitar  
Davey French – Guitar, Vocals
Freddy Herrera – Bass, Vocals  
Josh Crawley – Keyboards, Vocals  
Sean Winchester – Drums, Percussion, Vocals

As familiar as the sound of a jet engine and as visceral as a ride on a speeding motorcycle, Everclear is heavier, darker and more balls-to-the-wall than ever before.

And frontman Art Alexakis has never been happier.

Bombastic, hard-driving, generation-spanning rock n’ roll with instantly memorable, sharp-as-hell hooks propel Everclear’s new studio album, Black Is The New Black. Muscular but melodic, this is the sound of a band driven and united by singular, intense purpose. At an average of three-minutes each, the songs rip forward with palpable swagger, supercharged by a mix of autobiographical exorcism and narrative storytelling, from the gut and throat of Everclear’s singer, guitarist, cofounder and songwriter.

“Hard rock, punk rock, big guitars that swallow me whole – I will never get over that,” says Alexakis, without apology or equivocation. “And this is a very honest recording.

No gimmicks. Not many bells and whistles. All the riffs on this record are things that really just resonated with me and the band, musically and lyrically - from the get-go.”

Black Is The New Black is a diverse and timeless sounding collection, without ballads and without nostalgia. This is a heavy guitar record. It’s a throwback to the potent passion and urgent delivery of Everclear’s heralded indie debut (recorded for just $400 back in the day!) and subsequent major label classics, delivered through a modern lens.  Across the album, the insistent kick of drummer Sean Winchester, athletic groove of bassist Freddy Herrera, and ridiculously skilled guitar shred of Davey French join forces behind the storm of giant guitar riffs swinging mightily from song to song. A bit of tasteful keyboards from Josh Crawley add atmospheric punch to songs that could crush a tiny dive bar or destroy the cheap seats in the world’s biggest arena with equal force.

Everclear’s ninth studio album pummels from the get-go, with “Sugar Noise.” It’s an album opener with the same immediacy, and the same immersive feeling, of Rolling Stones “Rocks Off” or Pixies’ “Debaser.” Anchored by a single-note riff, akin to ZZ Top or Jimi Hendrix on meth, it’s a tale of a guy who gets lost in the wilderness of substances. “It's about someone who ends up in the backseat of a dead guy's car. It's not something that's happened to me,” the singer points out. “But I could see it happening, if I ever chose to walk back over that line.”

If a probe went to space, full of data on human history intended for a distant civilization, the Everclear section of the rock n’ roll music volume would surely kickoff with “The Man Who Broke His Own Heart,” a song that manages to encapsulate the spirited essence of everything that makes this band great. Confidence, self-deprecation, recrimination, and redemption all collide in the barnstorming rock radio anthem. The brutal kiss-off called “This Is Your Death Song” sugarcoats its confrontational vibe in soaring melodies, delivered with Alexakis’ steady and immediately identifiable voice.

“I like the way that trouble rises to the top,” he sings in “American Monster.” “It makes my bitter life a little more sweet.” This album swings. But it also bites.

“This is not an upbeat Everclear record. It’s pretty dark, lyrically and musically,” the band’s singer/guitarist explains. “When I would sit down with the guitar and start coming up with ideas, it was pushing toward a darker place. Which is kind of bizarre because right now things are really good! I feel safe enough to go to the dark places. And trust me, there's plenty of dark places in me. I've never had a shortage of that.”

Alexakis has been candid about his past. His dad split when he was young. He and his mother lived in housing projects. He lost those closest to him to drugs and suicide and nearly lost himself in both, as well. This isn’t the stuff of VH1’s Behind The Music – this is the man’s life pre-music, a life he’s cracked open and explored in his art. It’s there in the “Heroin Girl,” from the band’s platinum commercial breakthrough, Sparkle and Fade. The double platinum So Much for the Afterglow produced enduring radio staples like “I Will Buy You A New Life” and “Father of Mine,” as ubiquitous on the radio now as then.

A combination of the same classic ‘70s rock that drives Foo Fighters or Queens Of The Stone Age and the melodic punk that inspired Nirvana, Everclear emerged on the pop culture landscape as part of the wave The Pixies and Husker Dü ushered in, a time when abrasive guitars aligned with naked emotional expression to beat back the scourge of vapidity. Everclear shifted the culture alongside bands like Smashing Pumpkins, The Toadies and Weezer; all diverse acts who shared a forceful authenticity.

“I’m learning to balance those dark places,” Alexakis says thoughtfully. “I am learning to respect them, but also, to keep them in their place.” Everclear’s frontman is 25 years clean-and-sober, with a wealth of darkness to stare into, but a perspective earned through experience, a healthy home life and a kickass band. Alexakis would write riffs and entire songs alone, then kick them around with fellow California residents Herrera and Crawley. The trio recorded with Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland (who coproduced with Alexakis, who has produced every other Everclear album before) in a studio owned by the band LIVE, with Alexakis tracking the vast majority of the guitars himself for the first time since 2003’s Slow Motion Daydream. French and Crawley came in from the Pacific Northwest to add their flavor to the album, too.

It’s hard to imagine a singer digging deeper or offering up more vulnerability than on “You,” another Black Is The New Black song that’s quintessential Everclear: a juxtaposition of extremely personal sensitivities with massive riffs and a rhythm that hammers away. Two decades into a storied career with zero signs of slowing down, Alexakis reckons he will always draw upon the same mojo that first inspired him to play.

“I will be 98 years old and pissing off my great grandkids,” he predicts, with a hearty laugh. “’Grandpa is playing that horrible, loud music again!’ I’ll probably be deaf as a doornail by then, too, so I’ll be playing it really loud. It’s a rock n’ roll thing.”

“I think you’re born with it,” he concludes. “And I think you die with it, too.”

VERTICAL HORIZON

Vertical Horizon was founded in the early 1990s, but it was seven years before lead singer Matt Scannell’s songs became the radio hits that brought the popular grass roots band to national attention. Vertical Horizon released three albums independently (There and Back Again, Running on Ice, and Live Stages) and toured extensively before signing with RCA Records in 1998. In 1999, they released their breakout album, Everything You Want, which went on to sell more than two million copies. The second single off the CD, the title track “Everything You Want,” captured the #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 and Adult Top 40 charts, and became Billboard’s Most Played Single of 2000. Having carved out a page in the annals of music history the band garnered further radio attention with “You’re a God” (#4 on Billboard’s Adult Chart) and “Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning).” In 2005, “Best I Ever Had” became a top 20 country hit for country star Gary Allan.

Their follow-up album, Go, was released in 2003 and solidified the band as a no-nonsense pop rock entity. Eventually, the band took a hiatus to pursue individual interests. In 2007, feeling the time was right to start working on a new album, Matt began composing the songs which would eventually become Burning the Days. The album was released in 2009 on Vertical Horizon’s own label, Outfall Records. One of the songs, “Even Now,” was co-written by Scannell with his close friend Neil Peart, the much-heralded drummer from Rush. Peart played drums on that song as well as two other tracks on the record.  Burning the Days was critically acclaimed and produced two Hot AC radio singles, “Save Me from Myself” and “The Lucky One.”

In addition to writing and producing songs for Vertical Horizon, Matt has spent the past few years writing songs with and for other artists.  In 2010 he wrote “Wish You Were Here” for the band Hey Monday, featuring lead singer Cassadee Pope, who went on to win season 3 of NBC’s hit show The Voice. In 2012 Scannell teamed up with Daniel Powter to write “Come Back Home,” which was used to promote NBC’s “Chicago Fire.” Scannell and Grammy-winning songwriter/producer Richard Marx collaborate often and sometimes play acoustic duo shows together. They co-wrote Marx's 2012 AC hit “When You Loved Me,” which reached number 15 on the Adult Contemporary Chart.

This fall Vertical Horizon will release their new album, Echoes From The Underground. The title of the album is a lyric from the song "Evermore.”  It captures recurring themes throughout the record, such as a emotional and physical distance, as well as the often-hidden layers of emotion that exist within relationships. The first single, “Broken Over You,” is available for download on VerticalHorizon.com. This summer, the band takes to the road as part of the Under the Sun 2013 national summer tour with Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Gin Blossoms and Fastball.

FASTBALL
Tony Scalzo - vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards
Joey Shuffield - drums
Miles Zuniga - vocals, guitar

"It was just circumstance," Tony Scalzo says of the eight-year recording gap that preceded the new Fastball album, Step Into Light.  "We've always been active, and we've never really gone a year without doing a bunch of Fastball shows.  But things are really picking up now, and things are rolling like crazy."

The 12-song Step Into Light, on the band's own 33 1/3 label, embodies all of the qualities that have endeared Fastball to listeners during the trio's twenty-year-plus career.  Such catchy, compelling new tunes as "We're On Our Way," "Behind The Sun," "Best Friend," "Love Comes In Waves" and "I Will Never Let You Down" continue the band's longstanding legacy of infectious songcraft and pointed lyrics, as well as playfully inventive arrangements that lend additional depth and resonance to Scalzo and Miles Zuniga's distinctive songwriting.

"My favorite kind of songs," Zuniga says, "are the ones that have hope in the face of hopelessness.  Songs that say 'Life sucks and everything's against me, but I'm gonna smile and survive anyway.'    That's the essence of rock 'n' roll music for me, and I think there's a fair amount of that on this album."

Fastball recorded Step Into Light in its hometown of Austin, Texas, with the three bandmates co-producing with longtime friend Chris "Frenchie" Smith (Slayer, Meat Puppets, ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead) at Smith's studio, The Bubble.  The album was mixed by legendary engineer Bob Clearmountain, who also handled mixing duties on two prior Fastball albums.

"We consciously decided to make this record in a short period of time, so we just went in and knocked it out," Zuniga explains.  "I really liked working that way, and I think the fact that we recorded it in under two weeks made it a better record.  We didn't have the luxury of getting too precious about things, so we gave ourselves a hard deadline and pretended it was the 1950s—the record light's on, let's do it!  It also helped that we've grown a lot as musicians, so we have the ability now to get things right pretty quickly."

"We had a great time making this record," asserts Shuffield.  "Working fast was really positive for us, because we had a lot of adrenaline going and there was no wasted time.  A lot of the stuff we did was one or two takes of all three of us playing together in the same room.  You can't really do that as a new band, but the fact that we've been together so long creates a certain unspoken communication that saves a lot of time."

The resulting album extends and expands Fastball's widely-loved body of work, which encompasses such acclaimed albums as the band's 1996 debut Make Your Mama Proud, their 1998 platinum breakthrough All the Pain Money Can Buy (which spawned the Grammy-nominated Top Five hit "The Way"), 2000's The Harsh Light of Day, 2004's Keep Your Wig On and 2009's Little White Lies.

While it's a natural musical successor to the band's prior work, the self-financed, self-released Step Into Light—the first Fastball album to get a vinyl LP release—also continues Fastball's seamless evolution into a resourceful, self-contained D.I.Y. combo.

"We were one of the last bands who got to go into a big studio with a major-label budget, with runners and assistant engineers and cool rented gear," Scalzo notes.  "We were fortunate to have that, because it was a great learning experience and it taught us to be producers.  There's a time when you're the big new thing and everyone loves you, and then there's a time when nobody's returning your phone calls.  We're lucky that we survived that and came out on the other end, and we're a stronger and better band because of that."

Step Into Light demonstrates that Fastball's collective creative rapport, forged over two decades of writing, recording and touring, remains as potent as ever.  "There's nothing more satisfying than being in a room with those guys and making it sound like a Fastball song," Shuffield says.  "That chemistry has always been there, from the very first time we played together.  Our history, and the musical journey that we've been on together—all that stuff comes out when we play together." 

"The three of us all have our own individual preferences and baggage and whatnot, but there's a certain sound that comes out when the three of us play together that we can't get anywhere else," Zuniga adds.  "We never have to worry about it, it's just always there, and it's been there from the beginning."

"We never really blew it," Scalzo says.  "We've had plenty of chances to embarrass ourselves and do some of the stupid things that bands do, but I don't think we ever have.  Considering how long we've been together, that's a real achievement."

Another continuing thread in Fastball's musical life is the band's loyal fan base, which has continued to support the band through thick and thin. 

"I'm continually amazed," Shuffield says, "that we'll play deep cuts and lesser-known songs, and people will know every single word to every song.  It's extremely gratifying to know that you had that kind of effect on someone, and that the music you created resonates with them so strongly.  Now it's become a generational thing; our original fans bring their kids to the shows, and then the kids become fans."

With a beloved body of work under their collective belt and Step Into Light making it clear that their musical light still burns as brightly as ever, Fastball is entering a positive and productive period that promises all manner of musical riches. 

"When I was younger, there were all sorts of ulterior motives for being in a band," Zuniga reflects.  "It wasn't just music, it was all the vices that go with being in a rock band.  But I'm not concerned with any of the other stuff anymore; I just want to make good music.  I think that we're all enjoying the band more than we ever have.  We're in a really good spot right now, and we just want to make as much music as we can, while we can."

"We're really excited to get out there and play this new material," concludes Shuffield.  "It's a blessing to have been doing this for so long and still having new music to play, and we're thrilled to be able to keep doing this."

Know your limit, play within it. GameSense | 19+Know your limit, play within it. GameSense | 19+