A lot can happen in 30 years. For rock guitarist Art Alexakis, that’s the amount of time to found the alt-rock band Everclear, record 11 albums, tour globally, sell six million records, reform the band when its original drummer and bassist left, and continue to play and record.
Alexakis and his band mark those years with a 30th anniversary tour, joined by rock bands Fastball and the Nixons, that starts Thursday and rolls into Waco next week, with a June 16 show at The Backyard.
Alexakis knows the path here. It’s the third time the band has played Waco, he said, and though much of his 60 years have been spent in California, part of his teenage years were in Katy. “I get Texas,” he said in a recent phone interview from Pasadena, California. Joining the guitarist and lead vocalist are guitarist Dave French, bassist Freddy Herrera and drummer Brian Nolan.
The anniversary tour finds the band working through the music that put the Portland, Oregon, quartet on the map, but with a larger dose from its 1993 debut album “World of Noise.” “Everclear fans were harassing me for years to put (“World of Noise”) on a digital platform for years,” he said. The re-release of “World of Noise” on streaming platforms seemed an appropriate 30th birthday present, but Alexakis got a pleasant surprise once he began work on the project.
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“We found the original mix tapes. I thought they were gone. I thought we had lost them,” he said. Even better, they sounded better than the mix that Capitol Records had used in pressing the album. “They were bigger and ballsier and had more depth ... It’s a document of where we were then. There was a lot of angst in that record,” Alexakis recalled.
The Waco show will be more aggressive, Alexakis said, thanks in part to the “World of Noise” selections, and fans can submit requests through Everclear’s Twitter account.
Everclear’s second album, “Sparkle and Fade,” became its first to sell more than a million copies, thanks to the band’s first major hit “Santa Monica” and cuts like “Heroin Girl.” The band’s next two albums, “So Much For The Afterglow” and “Songs From An American Movie Vol. One,” also went platinum.
Did he ever anticipate Everclear still playing decades later? “Hell, no,” he laughed. About a third of Everclear’s concert crowds weren’t born when the band started, but have found a taste for its rock.
The grind of touring takes a heavier toll than it once did, though. “There’s a physical wear and tear to it and I have MS (multiple sclerosis). I have to work hard at it, eat right, work out like I do at home and take my MS medication,” he said. “When you get older, things get hard.”
Still, there’s room for the new. There’s a new single “Year of the Tiger” coming out in September and Alexakis plans to return to college to earn certification in being a life coach and counselor as well as a degree in psychology. He’s not hanging up his guitar, however. “I’m going to play music as long as I can,” he said.