EVERCLEAR Sparkle Never Fades


It was 22 years ago almost to the day that Everclear released album number two, Sparkle & Fade, and burst onto the playlists of a global audience with the singles Heroin Girl and Santa Monica and their tales of drug damaged lives and hope. Art Alexakis brings the band back to Perth for a show at the Rosemount Hotel this Thursday, May 14, to play the album in its entirety. SHANE PINNEGAR has the story.

Everclear have a shiny new record, their ninth, called Black Is The New Black. Art Alexakis says he wanted to tap into the very essence of what Everclear is all about for this album.

“That was the idea; make a classic, old Everclear record. Contemporise it, modernise it, more mature lyrics because I’m older. I’ve got a great band so I just pushed them to the nth degree.”

Featuring some of his best songwriting in years, Black Is The New Black is as inspired as anything he’s done before.

“Honestly, and I know it’s weird,” he shares, “as you listen to the record you can tell it’s a dark, heavy record, lyrically and musically. But I think the fact that I’m happy in my life and I’m in a place in my life where I’m really grateful and present and really in touch with my sobriety and everything else that’s good in my life, my family, my friends, I think it gave me the security and safety to go into the dark places. Trust me: I’ve got plenty of dark places inside of me. I was able to go into them, and come back out again with songs like that.”

Alexakis says that although the current tour presents the entire Sparkle & Fade album, they’ll still feature a few of the new tracks.

“One of the great things about coming to Australia is we’re playing the whole Sparkle & Fade record from the beginning,” he explains. “And then we’ll take a break and come back and play some other hits, fan favourites and new songs. It’s going to be a great set. I’m pretty stoked.

“Half of the songs on the record we play live anyway. We play them all the time. I can’t do a show without playing Santa Monica: it’s just impossible. There are about six songs that we haven’t played in a while, and we’re going to work on those songs, most of the songs on side two. I’m looking forward to getting into them – it’s just like playing new songs that people know and can sing along with. It’s pretty exciting.”

The legacy of Sparkle & Fade is a pretty special thing to have on your resume, no doubt. It must be great, knowing that that’s out there and people still love it?

“It’s awesome – and the record that followed it was an even bigger record, So Much For The Afterglow,” Alexakis says. “Hopefully we’ll do a 20-year anniversary of that in a couple of years. Yeah, I’m really blessed, man. We’ve made a lot of great music. We’re still making great music. I get to go out, and I’m really grateful to be able to be a part of it and have that as a legacy.”

The band have a gruelling schedule ahead, with seven shows in eight nights on their Australian tour. On their last visit Down Under, in 2012, the strain was showing on Alexakis’ voice by the last gig of the tour, so I ask him how he copes?

“I think it’s more from flying,” he says. “That’s the problem in Australia: you’ve got to fly everywhere because those cities are pretty far apart. You can’t get on a bus like in the States. But I’ve been working out and trying to take care of my voice. I’m doing a solo tour while getting my voice in shape. I think we’re going to have a lot of energy by the time we get to Perth this next time. I’m going to be well aware of that – I’m not going to talk to anybody! I’m just going to have a sign that says, ‘fuck off, don’t talk to me!’