Art Alexakis, Everclear frontman and founder of the Summerland Tour, has just a few rules for the bands he brings along on the tour of ’90s alt-rock acts, making its second go-round in 2013.
One is, they have to rock.
“We’re all rock bands,” he said of his tour mates Live, Filter and Sponge, “playing guitar rock. That’s what I like. I’m not a complicated person.”
Alexakis said the concept is to provide straight-up, unadorned rock ‘n’ roll, with four bands jam-packed into a three-hour show.
“You get a band up there, they kick ass for 25-40 minutes, then another band. The fans are the winners.”
Which makes for creative set lists, because another rule is that the bands have to be active and making new music. Everclear released Invisible Stars, its first full-length release of new music in six years, in 2012, just as the inaugural Summerland Tour was getting under way.
“I’m proud of that record, which I think is as good as anything else we’ve ever done. Is it getting played all over radio? Maybe not, but radio is different now than in the ’90s. Anyway, the people who are Everclear fans get it,” Alexakis said.
“Filter’s got a new record that’s climbing up the charts. I’ve heard a half-dozen brand-new Live songs, and they sound great. And Sponge has a new record out this year, too.”
All of which should not detract from rule No. 3, which is to play the hits – and to play them they way people remember them.
“There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia. You live in the now, but all of these bands had huge hits in the ’90s. We were successful; these songs were good to us.”
Alexakis told a story about being interviewed at the time Everclear’s signature song Santa Monica was fresh and popular, during which he was asked if it bothered him that his song might someday be considered “classic rock.”
“I said ‘That’s a bad thing?’ It’s awesome. I love that ’90s rock is like a new chapter of classic rock. I grew up with the ‘original’ classic rock.”
Alexakis’ final rule is that everybody has to have fun.
“Making music should be having a good time. People want to have fun, to be entertained. And on this tour, everyone on stage and everyone who comes are having a blast.”
Alexakis likened the event to “an awesome rock ‘n’ roll summer camp for middle-aged guys.” He said the various band members will go out to eat with one another, talk family, share business ideas.
“Even on stage, we’re talking about stuff like how good the brisket was at catering. It doesn’t take the rock ‘n’ roll away, but I never really bought into the whole ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’ thing.”
“I’m out here doing the traditional man thing, hunting and gathering for my family,” he joked.
The Summerland Tour 2013, featuring Everclear, Live, Filter and Sponge, stops at Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Friday, June 21. Tickets are $30/$15. Visit promowestlive.com.