Everything old is new again or so it seems, but fans of Everclear, Live, Filter and Sponge couldn’t care less about adages.
The four groups, all of whom rose to fame in the mid-to-late ’90s, are hitting the road together as a part of the Summerland Tour. The show, now in its second year, hits Casino New Brunswick on Friday.
What differentiates these acts and this tour from being strictly a nostalgia trip is the fact that all four bands continue to release new music today.
Formed in 1992, Everclear struck gold in the mid-to-late 1990s with a seemingly endless string of radio and video hits including ‘Santa Monica,’ ‘I Will Buy You A New Life’ and ‘Father of Mine.’ Their most recent release is last year’s Invisible Stars.
Everclear’s Art Alexakis tells the Times & Transcript that he had been looking to put together a package tour like Summerland for close to a decade before it finally materialized last year. And 40 Summerland concerts booked throughout North America shows a continued and significant demand for these groups.
‘This is a living and breathing, 40-date real tour happening,’ Alexakis says. ‘This tour has real bands that have sold millions of records, still have dedicated followings and are still making new music.’ It can be tough to escape being known for a handful of songs while continuing to put out new music which may or may not attract that same level of success or attention. Asked whether he is concerned that many will view Summerland as simply a nostalgia trip, Alexakis has little problem with that.
‘If people want to consider Summerland a nostalgia tour, I have no problem with that. It means that people coming out are enjoying a time from the past that meant a lot to them.
‘Things definitely are not the way they used to be in the music business. It is as though only new bands can be current while heritage bands are exclusively tied to their past accomplishments. It is the way that the media is set up. It is interesting to see the way that things have changed but the fact is, there will always be an underbelly of fans who will want to hear rock music from the ’90s and early 2000s. A lot of those fans are positively rabid about their music and are the people we see coming out to these shows,’ Art says.
Having gotten his start as a part of one of the first touring incarnations of Nine Inch Nails, Richard Patrick has gone on to a successful career as a part of industrialrock band Filter. The band’s bass-heavy first single from its 1995 debut record Short Bus (Hey Man Nice Shot) was a hit in its own right but it would be the group’s 1999 single ‘Take A Picture’ that would solidify the group’s popularity. Both Short Bus and their sophomore record Title of Record would each sell more than one million copies in the United States alone.
Like Everclear, Filter has continued releasing new music over the last 14 years. Their most recent record, The Sun Comes Out Tonight, their first album of new music in three years, was released earlier this month.
‘The reality is, we are not a band like U2 who can always get to places like New Brunswick on our own. Being a part of the Summerland Tour gives Filter the opportunity to play some exciting new places,’ Richard says. ‘We love getting in front of new people and Summerland is a great excuse to make it all happen.’ Richard says that it is indeed an exciting time to be a part of Filter.
After their 2002 album The Amalgamut, the band parted ways with their record company. The group released a few records independently but now find themselves back in the realm of record labels. The Sun Comes Out Tonight is the group’s first record for Wind Up Records, also home to Canada’s Finger Eleven.
‘I really feel as though we have got the spark back in the band,’ Richard says. ‘I think our new album really re-establishes that Filter was always kind of an angry band. We were really looking to get back to the heaviness ofHey Man Nice Shot with this album. Wind Up was very supportive of what we wanted to do with this record. They really encouraged us to get back to being a heavy band. We are in a great place right now. It feels good.’
The other groups performing at Summerland, Live and Sponge, have also seen their respective share of success in the past 20 years.
Of Live’s seven studio albums, 1994’s Throwing Copper was their biggest hit, moving more than eight million copies in the United States alone. Subsequent releases Secret Samadhi and The Distance To Here were also hits for the band. Although the group split with original lead singer Ed Kowalczyk in 2009, the group recruited vocalist Chris Shinn to take his place.
Detroit band Sponge found chart fame with their 1994 album Rotting Piñata . Their most recent effort is 2007’s Galore Galore.