Nobody knows anything at all about Art Alexakis's life. Nobody. We can only guess what sorts of things he has gone through. He is a mysterious enigma to us all.
*special introductory paragraph!
*World Of Noise
*Sparkle And Fade
*So Much For The Afterglow
*Songs From An American Movie Vol. One: Learning How To Smile
*Songs From An American Movie Vol. Two: Good Time For A Bad Attitude
*Slow Motion Daydream
*Welcome To The Drama Club
*The Vegas Years
*In A Different Light
*Return to Santa Monica

Everclear was a power trio from Oregon who merged such erstwhile entities as classic rock, power pop, punk and grunge. Art Alexakis was the bandleader, lyricist, singer and guitarist, and he had a real knack and passion for singing about the tragic events of his own life (mother's suicide, drug addiction, dating a black girl much to his community's chagrin, beating his wife, becoming a rock star, falling in and out of marriage, etc). He didn't even really have to put much poetry into it - his nonfiction observations and emotional reactions to them were plenty interesting to sustain a good several albums. Then he replaced his entire band and now they stink. But until then, heck yes! Musically? Guitars! Hit singles? Yes but they SUCKED! The non-hits were so much better. Seriously. "Santa Monica"? AWFUL. "Something To Everyone"? More like "The `Smells Like Teen Spirit' riff inverted"! "Heartspark Dollar Sign"? More like "No Spark Collared Mime!"

I mean, if you're listening to it through really bad speakers.

Reader Comments

bickbyro@altavista.com (Keith Turausky)
Isn't it a little early for April Fool's, Mark? I mean, sure, Everclear weren't the *most* boring band to litter the alternative radiowaves during the late '90s (that would be 311), but 8, 8, 7, 8, and 10? I'll admit that I've only heard the first two all the way through, but I *can* tell you that nearly every single they've put out since "Heroin Girl" uses the same guitar rhythm!

Now, unlike yourself, I found this rhythm (you know the one I'm talking about---BA-DA... BA-DA BA-DA BA-DA...") charming the first time they used it, back on "Santa Monica." But after "Everything to Everyone," "Father of Mine," and "I Will Buy You A New Life"... my word! Repeat yourself much, Art? I guess he broke the cycle with "AM Radio," but only because he sampled "Mr. Big Stuff," which should hardly count as creative progress. "Wonderful" isn't exactly the same ground all over again, but the chord progressions are similar enough to his other work that it almost seems like he's playing that damned rhythm again, even if he actually isn't...

The rest of the album tracks may be golden, and again I wouldn't really know. But I just wouldn't feel right paying even used prices for whatever surrounds such hack work. To even *write* the same song four times is worthy of criticism, but for all four versions to be released as singles is unforgivable. Even Britney Spears broke with formula on her new single, for cryin' out loud...

And don't even get me started on your appraisal of "Brown Eyed Girl" (which I *have* heard). Jesus, Mark, next thing you know we'll be reading about how Fiona Apple really blew John Lennon "clear out the waterbed" with her cover of "Across the Universe." What is the world coming to???

Actually, I would have to say the first time I heard that guitar rhythm Mr. Turansky referred to, I thought: "Hmmm, someone is doing an unplugged cover of the Vandals' impeccable, immaculate and impeccable tune 'The Legend Of Pat Brown.' After all, this song USES THE SAME FUCKING RHYTHM AND THE SAME FUCKING CHORD VARIATIONS!!!" But no, I was mistaken, it was not a terrible cover of a great song about running over cops, but rather, the beginning of a painfully terrible song about swimming out past the breakers in order to watch the world die. Technically Art didn't even write that rhythm. (Not that the Vandals' didn't steal it, because they probably did.)

While I concede that "Heartspark Dollarsign" IS catchy and somewhat enjoyable, anything else this band has ever released is as forgettable as whoever sang that flavor of the week song about being the flavor of the week that failed to live up to its intentions because it wound up being not the flavor of the week, but rather, the flavor of the half-hour. You know who I'm talking about. The singer looked and tried to sound just like Kurt Cobain, except it wasn't the jagoff from Puddle of Mudd.

Anyways, Everclear's cover of Brown Eyed Girl is a fucking travesty. Even Lagwagon's is better. And their cover of the Buzzcocks' "What Do I Get?" For that Art will burn in hell. How can you take such a great song (even if it 1-4-5, the exact same 1-4-5 Glenn Danzig "borrowed" (stole) for "Last Caress") and turn it into such tripe? The other guys in the band, I have no problem with. The drummer actually seems to have some talent. I'm with Keith on this one, though. Along with Blink-182, 311, Third Eye Blind, Matchbox 20 and several other bands without numbers in their names, such as No Doubt and Primer 55, Everclear is definitely one of the worst and most boring bands on the radio. To give any of their albums more than a 6 is pushing it.

adam@eclectric.org (Adam Hammack)

Seriously, Prindle. Everclear? EVERCLEAR? Alexakis has one chord, one theme, and come to think of it, essentially one song. It may be slower or faster sometimes, distorted or clean, and it can even have Beach-Boy rip-off harmony, but it's still the same god-damned song! Comparing these guys to Nirvana is about as dumb as shit. Apart from the fact that neither Art or Kurt play guitar very well, they're worlds apart. Kurt's voice was a wailing, emotive howl; Art's is mediocre -- no range to speak of, unconvincing scream included. Kurt's lyrics were twisted, (sometimes vague) depictions of the sadness (and stomach pain) he eventually succumbed to. Art's are easy, obviously worded whining about his bad childhood and some other stuff that's annoying him. As a song-writer, Kurt was inventive. He used bar chords in a manner that didn't restrict him. His chord changes were ear-catching. Alexicas' work is straight pop/punk/rock bullshit -- easy progressions that have had far better material placed over them than anything old two-tone could ever come up with. (Two-Tone is a reference to his hair and mustache, but also to the dynamic range of his music.) Also, if Kurt were still around, you can bet he wouldn't be making Nevermind Pt 5 right now. Art's evolved about as much in the course of his "carreer" as paramecium have during the history of the universe. (Naught.) Shame on you, Prindle. Heard any good Sum 41 lately? How about Lit? They're about as relevant as Everclear. Go kiss their ass.

(Okay, Father of Mine and a few others aren't completely awful. I liked 'Father' when it came out, identified with it even. I'm real tired of it by now though. And I still don't think anything else he's done has been toooo great. Certainly not a bunch of sevens, eights and tens.)

Adam Hammack
I still don't like Everclear much, but I just came back and re-read this page and I must admit that your "Everclear-artist-page descriptive phrase thingy" made me fall off my chair laughing. He is rather opaque with his songwriting, isn't he? I may have to go back and give him a bit of a second chance after all. Hell, I like John Lennon's solo stuff, and he had not one but two songs about his dead mommy on his first album. Doesn't get much more emotionally bare than these two.

Lennon had musical talent as well though. You idiot. ;)

World Of Noise - Tim/Kerr 1994.
Rating = 8

If you've ever thought to yourself, "Hey! I'd like to have a band! But all I can play on the guitar are barre chords and single notes! And most of the melodies I write are pretty basic! And my voice sounds like a pothead that works at McDonald's!," Everclear is here to prove that none of these deterrents need deter you from your dreams. They are the "everyman band." The kind of band that had no place getting big - they're not larger than life or punkier than punk or cute AT ALL (unless you're attracted to that singer that looks like he's going to sneak into your house and steal all your albums) - they're just three guys with a wink and a smile. And this is why so many people think I'm an idiot for liking them.

But I DO like them, dammit! They're kind of like Nirvana Jr. (well, Nevermind Jr. anyway), but with much greater career aspirations. Even on this early indie release, the band's radio-ready pop melodies sparkle like a diamond-plated sesame seed in a big smelly poop of loud distorted guitars (and distorted bass! TOUCHDOWN! HOLE IN ONE! HOME RUN! WHATEVER SOCCER PEOPLE GET AFTER KICKING THE BORINGASS BALL AROUND FOR THREE HOURS!). It is the least creative formula in the world, but it's charming as hell because the songs are so darnedidy poppy and catchy - this particular grunge blend is more Cheap Trick than Alice In Chains, if'n you will. Not punkish - most of the songs are midtempo. But there is a BIT of variety (a couple of the songs start quiet before getting really loud - isn't that killer? I can't believe rock and roll went 40 years without anybody having thought of using that kind of dynamic) and only a couple of real duffers. Let's say a really really really low 8.

This was pretty funny - at the Dog Run tonight, Jason Weeks pointed out that a young woman bending over had a tattoo right above her butt. He crudely said, "I bet she has it there so you can look at it while you're having sex with her." So I pleasantly and neighborly replied, "What does it say? 'Shoot here'?"

Actually, written down like that, it's not funny at all.

Reader Comments

I love this record. "Loser Makes Good", "Fire Maple Song", "Pennsylvaina." Great songs, why does nobody email you about this band? Maybe cause they haven't put out a good record since 1995. who knows?

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Sparkle And Fade - Capitol 1995.
Rating = 8

This is the one that broke `em big! The hit singles were "Santa Monica" (that's the one that goes "We'll swim out past the breakers and watch the world die!" and sounds just like that "Romeo and Juliet/Samson And Delilah" song by Bruce Springsteen) and "Heartspark Dollarsign" (that's the one about the black girlfriend). It's poppier grunge than the last one, with bigtime alternative production values, lots of medium tempos and such diversity as is found in an acoustic guitar and in stereo separation. But it's not sissified - the distorted guitars are still really loud, full and heavy, without that chorusy sheen that washes the edges off of Nevermind. The melodicism is still pretty simplistic but catchy and great most of the time (lots of the non- hits are much, much better than the hits). They use as many Beatles chords as Cheap Trick does, but with a post-punk volume and bluster that people as old as Cheap Trick might not be as comfortable performing.

Aside from the Mayhem + Robin Zander = 2Together! cd of course.

So if you like catchy loud heavy pop grunge stuff, that's what the music is like here. Maybe a couple of punkers ("Heroin Girl"!), but mostly not. Now then - the lyrics! They're about drugs, bad relationships, loss, pain, failure - Art Suckmykokis (heee!) has fashioned himself as a Bruce Springsteen for the modern age. No, seriously! "You tie your arm and ask me if I wanted to drive" - "Let's just drive your car, we could drive all day, let's just get the hell away from here, for I am sick again - just plain sick to death of the sound of my own voice ` - "The world resolves into a death's head grin, because I walk with pride with a black girlfriend." These are Bruce-isms! Art isn't a dipshit - he's a great writer! Writing from experiencalisms! Especially the one about his aunt, who turns out to be his real mom, committing suicide by jumping off a bridge! Jeepers creepers.

Say - where did you get those peepers anyway?

So yes, that's my assumption and excuse - the melodies ring true and won't leave your head (THAT FUCKING BLACK GIRLFRIEND SONG HAS BEEN IN MY HEAD ALL GODDAMNED WEEK. AND I LOVE IT THERE!!!!!!) and the dark, realistic lyrics make the music seem all the more poignant in their simple emotionalism. Some of the poppier stuff is crap though - I'll give it another superlow 8 premium. Stick that skyscraper up your ass, Osama Bin Laden!

Did you see that? He may have killed thousands of my neighbors, but I made a macho comment making fun of him! Who's laughing NOW?!!???!!?!!?!??

Reader Comments

st@robusttech.com (Scott Tweedie)
Art is art. The haters that are posting here seem to not really allow them selves to have a good time with the music. I heard a lot of shit in the 90's and Everclear was one of the bands that stood out with great guitar chords, rythems and lyrics. If some of the chrod progressions are similar, who gives a shit. Ever heard Eddie Van Halen? Any of his shit sound the same? We all have our own style....just be happy that Art shares his feelings through song with us.

Look..im 34 years old. I have been listening to music since my first album in 1977, Kiss Love Gun.....and out of all the cd's I own, this is one that I wont leave home without. I don't claim that their last record(s) meant as much to be as Sparkle and Fade...but they came from the heart, and I respect that. Most of you fools can barely look people in the eye, let alone sing to them. And if you think I am full of shit, post a photo....lol.

And to the haters...god love you..but you guys that are talking shit as if Art and Everclear owe you something. They owe you nothing. If you dont like the tunes, you can press fast forward. But while I have your attention, please tell me this: Where can I download your music? And when can I catch you on a national tour making people happy and doing what you love?

Why hate on Art? Jeolousy is a weak emotion. Let the man speak and enjoy his live. The deicsions of his past already haunt him enough.

Buy their records and go to thier shows....and u will see what it's all about.

Anyway, I don't think any of you are right or wrong, but I just got home from seeing Everclear play at a big outdoor show here in St. Louis with Everclear's "new" lineup (if only to me, seen them 3 times..this is first time with new lineup). They sounded great.(sound guy..gj)..were very friendly to us backstage and took the time to say hello and take photos, etc. The music was phenominal, the vibe was just laid back, relaxed...and the songs are still great.

Yea sure..the Volvo tune is a bit cheezy..but grow up..thats where we are now..we are 30 somthing...so we sing about volvos and diapers...and if we have addictions we share our pain to prevent others from experienceing the same.

I for one respect Art and cant wait to see he and the band again.

Much peace, love and respect-

P.S. Sorry that this is a bit slurred...I am too tired to proof read, hopefully you understand the point, and dont critic the grammar ;-)

...before you flame me, consider I have about 10 all natural smooth Budweisers swimming around my head :-) Peace to you all and for those about to Rock..we salute u.

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So Much For The Afterglow - Capitol 1997.
Rating = 7

This is the hit album featuring the hit single "Bunion Bill, Bunion Bill (I Get A Thrill) From That Bunion Bill." You probably saw it that time on Nightline. But the truth is that t

This album is a letdown. The big Everclear FAILURE. One of the worst albums ever recorded which is why I gave it 7 "1"s.

But in all seriousness now, as this is a sober issue, this CD removes all the grunge distortion and leaves behind the pop tinklinks, which wouldn't be so bad if a lot of the songs weren't so distressingly generic. The production is phenomenal, with fantastic 180 sound changes and unexpected shifts of guitar tone taking place in the songs (like a REAL band!). Plus, they've stuck in lots of Beach Boys-style backup vocal harmonies that sound trans-riffic! But interesting studio trickery doesn't make up for the fact that only half of these songs are really well-written. The others sound like half-assed tossasides - simple chord sequences that have been used hundreds of times by thousands of bands. I urge you to please not look too closely at the math I used there.

It's certainly a danceable CD, with almost every song featuring the same hip-hop-inflected drum swagger, but this just even furthers the feeling of sameness that creeps over your ears as you hear one pleasantly forgettable alternative pop rock song after another after another. I know I'm being overly negative here so let me explain why I gave it a 7. (A) About half of the melodies are enjoyable enough. (B) Love that big-budget production! (C) Art's a great songwriter - more pain for you here, including "Father Of Mine" and the harrowing "Why I Don't Believe In God" ("I was just eight years old/Heard big words with a horrible sound/Why'd they have to call my school/Tell me my mother had a nervous breakdown").

You know what's a great Frank Zappa song? "What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?" I couldn't believe it when the answer turned out to be "Your Mind!" I was TOTALLY rooting for "Inside Your Poopy Smelly Hairy Ass!"

Luckily, Elton John later released a love ballad with that title.

Reader Comments

gtrman88@msn.com (billyboy thornton)
that album blew. not the sort of blow that evokes images of peace and joy and gently tickles your nethers, but the sort of blow that picks up your Hyundai (!) and takes it far far away *sob*. this album took the nirvana completely out of the formula and replaced them with a couple choice hocks of prime grade-A BALONEY (doom!... death!...... hiss!..... quack!!!!) i found no memorable songs, as every song i attempted to listen to seemed to melt into the others to turn the entire album into a big, garishly happy, ass-pile!! it droned, and not in the good way, like the melvins or the swans, but the bad way like a big, garishly happy, ass-pile!! to summarize, i'll simply say that years from now this will be the most ignored record in the bargain bin.

student@shawvalves.co.uk (Rich the UK's No.1 Everclear fan!)
Just thought I'd add on the whole Kurt Cobain (Nirvana what a bunch of hero's), Everclear what a bunch of losers thing. I seem to remember both Kurt and Art went through a lot growing up, I don't know much about Kurt but I do know about Art's childhood and they were both very shitty by most peoples standards. But which one of the 2 is still alive? Art is! Kurt killed himself taking the cowards way out! Everclears music gives hope to people in similar circumstances all over the world - proving you can do what ever you put your mind too even if your not the best guitarist or lyricist in the world. Kurt showed us there is a nice cold damp bit of earth about 3ft by 6ft marked out for us all, and we can occupy it whenever we want!

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Songs From An American Movie Vol. One: Learning How To Smile - Capitol 2000.
Rating = 8

Their best album yet up to the point when it was recorded! This was part one of a double-CD that was released as two separate CDs to screw the American public like Bruce Springsteen and Guns `N Roses so blatantly did in a previous century. Contrary to what I could have sworn, this album has nothing at all to do with that stupidass looking film An American Movie or whatever it was called. In fact, it's all about Art's real-life courtship, marriage and divorce. But the chronology seems all out of wack (or I can't figure out the story!). Like, right after he marries her, he's already divorcing her. Then he's like dating her - TOO CONFUSING FOR OL' PRIND! I ain't no rocket scientist or paid scholar here! You're not gonna find any books of literary critique in m7 closet! The only PhD you're gonna get from me is when a fresh toot hauls out my ass!

A total 480* (can't find the degree mark) from the soundalikiness of the last album, this is by far the most diverse Everclear album ever, completely turning its back on grunge to present a bunch of different types of mostly acoustic, light fun music. The mandolin madness of the title track - the funky horns of fun of "Here We Go Again" - the Philly Soul nostalgia of "AM Radio" - the GORGEOUS cover of "Brown Eyed Girl" that blows Van "Jim" Morrison's original clear out the waterbed - the cellos and chimes and slide guitars and pop songs and sad acoustic guitars, pianos and lullaby music of all the other songs all scanned through briefly really fast. There are MOMENTS indeed when all the extra instruments reek of pretentiousness a la Mellon Collie And The Infinite Rimjob ("Annabella's Song" is a lullaby. A LULLABY! For his DAUGHTER for the love of God! What kind of pussy writes a song for his daughter when he oughta be out snorting cocaine off of 15-year-old groupie's thighs??? Not the members of NAZARETH, THAT'S for Goddamned sure!).

In so far as you're not into it for the loudness and you like acoustic guitars and a bunch of happy songs all leading up to sadness, you've gotta appreciate the upchurn in songwriting that the guys have pulled here. Very strong tunes, performances and production. Not bad for a bunch of swarthy Mexicans!

I've just received a memo informing me that Everclear is not in fact a bunch of swarthy Mexicans.

Reader Comments

pluckybos@hotmail.com (Alex Pluskis)
I just read your review for Everclear's Songs from and american movie vol. 1: learning how to smile. (also known as album to long to type) I like you review quite a bit, but i noticed you said the chronology doesn't make much sense. I do agree with you that Now That it's Over should not have immediately followed. I guess he just didn't have any songs about he and his first wife being happy. However, in reference to your feeling that it goes from them breaking up to dating to divorce, i figured i'd fill you in. I didn't get it either until i found out it turns out his wife had had an affair while he was on tour. The song "Unemployed boyfriend" is not about them dating. It's a song from the other guy's point of view. "I know you sleep with that obnoxious guy. I know he was in that famous band." The song is about another guy trying to talk Art's wife into leaving Art for him. Then...the divorce song. Not sure if you still care, just thought i'd let you know.

leather_jew@hotmail.com (Henry Winkler)
As far as I can figure from the movie version of this album that I saw, this is mostly about Art's struggle with stardom and familial loss. "Pink," Art's alter-ego here, likes to sit around in hotel rooms in stupors while not finishing his cigarettes, which as anyone that has read No One Here Gets Out Alive knows is what rock stars are generally supposed to do, but then we find out that Art's father was killed when he was very young, possibly even before he was born, probably in a war or something judging by all the smoke and green uniforms and planes and such. We get to see a bit of art's childhood growing up in the Pacific Northwest, which looks a lot like England in the 1950's. I guess Art wants something of a father figure, and he lurks around the playground looking morose and doughy, but there are no takers. There are some cartoon sequences here and there to help illuminate what is going on in Art's mind, and they seem to involve pan-sexual animated versions of the H.R. Pufnstuf cast and worms, which really isn't a lot of help. His teachers at school pick on him and mock the lyrics to his most popular songs, which apparently were all written by the time he was seven years old, and this causes all the kids to march around like zombies and fall into a meat grinder. There's also some kind of Freudian thing going on with Art's mother, and after trying to bring a dead rat back to life he marries some woman that cheats on him with a smarmy anti-war hippie, and naturally this drives him insane. Art shaves all the hair off his body and becomes Hitler and fights more worms for the remainder of the film. I don't really remember the ending because I was doing whippits and hit my head on the coffee table, but my friend said it ended just like The Last Dinosaur, which I haven't seen but I guess I'll have to order that from Netflix now if I want to figure this all out.

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Songs From An American Movie Vol. Two: Good Time For A Bad Attitude - Capitol 2001
Rating = 8

I originally gave this album a 10. That is phenomenal. Here is the "10" review:

Right up there with Nevermind as the quintessential pop grunge album. After seemingly rejecting the loud guitar aesthetic with their last two albums, here they embrace it with the arms of a sheep, wrapping the beautifully crafted songs of anger, pain and goofiness in a Saran Wrap coating of heavy distorted chord blasting. The bombast Is HUGE and the songs are really emotional, meaning of course that you have to let yourself fall into the emotions or you might think they're overdoing it a bit. Like Carol Burnett and that donkey. But this entire line-up of songs is so PERFECT. One after the other after the other - the kickass punk "All Fucked Up," better-than-Nirvana "Out Of My Depth" - the only less than creative riff, awesome lyriced song on here is "Rock Star" and even THAT one is funny. Art Alextrebek is at the top of his songwriter game here, where he belongs. Heart on his sleeve? More like "Heart All The Way Up and Down His Entire Track-Ridden Arm With Heroin And Blood Shootin' Out The Holes Like Old Faithful!"

Which I'm told was how the cliche originally went until the Baptists took over. Fuckin' Baptists. You stuff one in a bag and throw him in the ocean, three more crawl out of the muck to take his place. I'll never forgive them for what they did to Nils Lofgren.

The album has a final conclusion and moral, I personally believe, and I see it as thus: Regardless of how awful his marriage was, how much the breakup hurt him and how much pain and misery resulted, it was all worth it to Art because of its product: his little daughter, who means more to him than anything else in the world.

So maybe he won't take smack and beat the shit out of her all the time like he did his wife!

Reader Comments

Hey u guyz are all fags and I bet Art doesnt give a shit about your thoughts because he is making millions with his kick ass music.

ps Fuck off dick suckers

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Slow Motion Daydream - Capitol 2003.
Rating = 8

Never fear -- it's Everclear!

I really need you to understand that I don't walk down the street everyday saying to myself, "I'm an Everclear fan! Man, do I ever like Everclear!" Quite frankly, I don't consider them a terribly innovative band and I never think about them at all. However, whenever I actually bring myself to LISTEN to them, their "emotional" chord sequences, heavy guitars and slick '90s production tricks turn me into a simpering puddle of modern rock fandom on the floor of society's enigma. And now it's happening AGAIN!!!!

Is it MY fault that Art is so expert at putting together chiming repetitive notes and chords that just drip of the early tastes of teenaged freedom? Should I be persecuted because he has the talent to rip off the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" riff over and over, applying it to about 15 different feelings (the FUN CAREFREE "Teen Spirit"!, the CONFUSED UPSET "Teen Spirit"! the ANGRY HARDCORE "Teen Spirit"!)? And most importantly, is it MY fault that every Everclear single that hits the air pales in comparison to the other songs on their albums?

Well okay, you got me on that last point. Hello, my name is Lowry Mays, and I'm the chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Worldwide. You know, when I founded Clear Channel way back in 1972, I didn't know a THING about popular music. I was an investment banker, for Christ's sake! But from the moment I picked up that first radio station in San Antonio, TX, I got the bug. You know the bug I'm talking about! The bug to control all the music that anybody in the world gets to hear on the radio. That was my dream.

And now that I own over 1200 radio stations, 36 TV stations, 770,000 outdoor advertising displays and the world's leading live entertainment company, my dream has come true! I've taken my skill and knowledge accumulated in the important world of business and used it to transform the simplistic, stupid world of "radio" into pure unadulterated ADVERTISING! Clear Channel's crossmedia environment ensures deep penetration to young customers who are too ignorant to realize that 90% of the music we play is complete shit geared towards morons. I've said it before and I'll say it again: "Clear Channel Communications has nothing to do with entertainment or making people happy: We believe the ultimate measure of our success is to provide a superior value to our stockholders."

Thus, we are thrilled to receive the boring, generic "edgy" new Everclear single "Volvo Driving Soccer Mom" and anticipate that the obvious follow-up single "How To Win Friends and Influence People" will be just as successful at helping our customers grow their businesses. And why? Because they are near-exact replicas of songs that were hits for the band ten years ago. As for the rest of the album, well -- it's really GOOD, so I think I'll stick to listening to it at HOME, thanks!

And just a quick reminder to our 50,000 worldwide employees: Continue those pro-war demonstrations. Colin Powell's son is the head of the FCC, and what's good for the FCC is good for Clear Channel Communications!

Reader Comments

rmuegge@adams.net (Russell Muegge)
I've never heard the album, but I agree with your comments about Clear Channel; they're complete cocksuckers.

The same feeling I have about Bad Religion's "No Substance", crap, I gave this record three listens, and the liking was the same, crap. R.I.P. Everclear. Creative differences? No I think it was becoming crap that made them breakup.

(about a year later)

This is DTgringo, I must edit my previous statement, it would seem that Everclear has reunited. I guess I'm happy, one of these breakups will stick though, I swear.

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Welcome To The Drama Club - Eleven Seven 2006
Rating = 4

This is certainly unfortunate. I quite enjoyed having a 'guilty pleasure' as indefensibly bone-brained as Everclear. I can't count the number of times I've joyfully responded to accusations of 'claiming to like obscure shit just to be cool' with "Dude, I gave a 10 to an Everclear album." Unfortunately, Art Alexakaksucker has replaced his classic trio with a similarly-named quintet and recorded a CD as empty, obvious and annoying as most people think his others were.

As I've argued at brief length previously, Everclear's key skill has always been their knack for creating effective 'emotional' music -- chord changes and heartfelt lyrics that manipulate my heartstrings as if I were a 15 year old boy that nobody understands. In contrast, Drama Club far, far too often pushes true feeling to the gutter in favor of novelty funk and cheery cliche. Though produced as slickly and performed as facelessly as every other Everclear album, Drama Club's prominent use of Hammond organ (and handful of wretched 'funky' tunes) imbibes it with the distinctly stinky feel of Lenny Kravitz, the Spin Doctors and other bad '70s throwbacks. Furthermore, this band's chord sequences have always been simple and derivative, but now that most of them also lack emotional resonance, they're almost completely worthless. "The Drama King" and "Broken" move me in that classic teary Everclear way, and a few other songs have strong passages (for example, "Your Arizona Room" is romantic as all hell until the shitty chorus and bridge show up and ruin everything), but the majority of the album is comprised of terrible Clearchannel modern rock garbage. Have you heard the new single "Hater"? Great news! It sucks!

A few other minor points that must be addressed:

- "Under The Western Stars" is Steppenwolf's "The Pusher" with a happier vocal melody.
- "Hater" features the chord sequences from both "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "Just Like Heaven." So come on in, Ramones and Cure fans! This hit is tailor-made for YOU!
- "A Taste Of Hell" incorporates a sonar bloop as an integral part of its rhythm. For like 5 1/2 minutes. Really fucking loudly.
- "Portland Rain" utilizes not only the grotesque lyric "The only place I wanna be/Is watching you on top of me," but also the incomparably vomitous couplet "The only thing I wanna do/Is kiss you while I'm cumming deep inside you." Say, Art! That's ROMANTIC!!
- The record stinks.

To sum up, I guess I don't mind generic chord sequences if they're emotionally affective/effective and the singer guy seems sincere about his feelings. But, unlike every other Everclear release to date, this one is light on the sincerity and heavy on the throwaway novelty-funk and uncompelling smile-grunge.

Either that or it just took me 10 years to realize that this band sucks absolute cock out of my ass, and I'm not even gay so it has to suck some guy's dick right out of his pants, into my unsuspecting mouth, down my throat, through my entire digestive system, and out my anus all without ripping it from the guy's body.

Feel free to use that in your wedding vows if you want.

The Vegas Years - Capitol 2008
Rating = 3

I was excited as a piece of shit when I heard that Everclear was releasing an all-covers album. "Yahoo!" I exclaimed. I couldn't wait to hear Art Alexakis' inimitable take on such alt-rock classics as Fuck...I'm Dead's "Spray Me With Fecal Matter," To Separate The Flesh From The Bones' "Drowned In Semen," and Paracoccidioidomicosisproctitissarcomucosis' "Coitoexamen Sexologico A Una Obesa Bisexual Fornicando Con Una Lesbiana Anorexica. Ambas Con Vaginismo Orgasmico Clitorideo Y Dispareuniavasocongestion Placentera." The excitement built as I pondered, "Will Art treat us to a sparkling update of Facedowninshit's obscure album track 'Fucked'? Or will he stick to mainstream radio fare like Fuck...I'm Dead's 'Infect Me With AIDS'?" Either way, I was balls deep in excitement as I camped outside my local sporting goods store awaiting the arrival of The Vegas Years, a new release by Everclear.

Imagine my urine sample when the CD arrived and Everclear revealed themselves as the worst cover band in the history of the world. Whether regaling our ears with cutesy bullshit ("This Land Is Your Land," "Speed Racer," "Land Of The Lost"), terrible pop songs that should never have been written in the first place (Hall & Oates' "Rich Girl," Yazoo's "Bad Connection") or jaw-droppingly misguided revisions of previously excellent compositions (Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back In Town," Tom Petty's "American Girl," Neil Young's "Pocohontas"), Art and his band(s) do everything in their power to make every song sound as sterile and lifeless as an Everclear original.

And yes I know I gave them high grades - let me explain. First of all, I haven't listened to Everclear in years; for all I know, I could absolutely LOATHE all those old albums at this point. Secondly, and more importantly, the soulless over-processed production was never the appeal of the band for me in the first place; it was the melodies and, to a lesser extent, Art's honest lyrical approach. If anything, the melodies overcame the polished radio-grunge mix; they certainly weren't ENHANCED by it! But what the band has done here is take a bunch of diverse melodic songs by a wide range of artists, completely ignore what made them great in the first place, and simply dumb-em-down and slick-em-up into what I guess they consider "the Everclear sound." And it's horrible. You've heard Neil Young's "Pocahontas," right? Imagine it as an Everclear song. See how bad it is? There, now you don't have to buy the album.

As if the gross digitally pristine sound weren't enough reason to hate it, The Vegas Years also plods like insane, sucking all the energy out of songs that previously thrived on that very trait. "The Boys Are Back In Town," for example, is performed as if the drummer has never heard the Thin Lizzy version in his life. You know how the drumming in that song boisterously propels the song forward by accenting and 'goosing' the guitar chords in each line? Well, nobody in Everclear does. They play it as a straight, dull, midtempo 4/4. Might as well have used a drum machine. Even worse, you know how Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers highlight the exuberant melody of "American Girl" by playing the whole thing at an excited speedy tempo that gets your foot tappin' and your head bouncin'? Everclear plays it at quarter-speed.

I'd love to blame this atrocity on Art replacing his entire band after Slow Motion Daydream, but apparently The Vegas Years is only partially a new recording; most of the songs were previously released as b-sides, bonus tracks and soundtrack submissions -- "American Girl" even pre-dates Sparkle And Fade! So shame on everybody who has ever been a member of, or spoken to (or looked at), Everclear. You've ruined music for everybody.

Having said that, they nail exactly three songs -- The Go-Gos' "Our Lips Are Sealed," Cheap Trick's "Southern Girls" and Tommy Tutone's "867-5309 (Jenny)" -- unexpectedly providing them with all the verve and go-get-em spirit that the original artists suggested. They don't do quite as stellar a job with Paul Revere & The Raiders' "Kicks," but come on it's a fuckin Paul Revere & The Raiders song. How often do you get to hear somebody cover one of those? Besides, be thankful - they could have gone with "Indian Reservation."

Or Cher's "Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves," which I heard for the first time just this morning. It's actually not bad, though it'd be better with her voice all wiggling around like in that terrible "Believe" song. Couldn't she have jiggled her voicebox with her finger or something? Come on people in 1971, stop smoking the pot and give it a little elbow grease.

Reader Comments

Being the total cover junkie I am, I had to listen to this even though I hate Everclear and you gave it a bad review to boot. The only thing I disagree with in your review is that you said that they nailed "Southern Girls". I think they sucked the life of that song as well. They did nail the Go-Gos and Jenny though. 2/10

You said "worst cover band". I had to think hard on that. First, I was going to automatically eliminate amateurs who can't play any song decently although I found this two hilarious vids:

Nothing came to mind so I started googling and other people suggested Pat Boone "In a Mental Mood", Rush "Feedback", and Duran Duran "Thank You". All are much better than this pap.

That leaves me with the song that draws bad cover artists like a moth to a flame. Yes, I'm talking about "Rocketman".

William Hung - he is beyond horrible, but makes me laugh without fail, which is better than Everclear. I have an MP3 (sorry, can't find an online version) of him and Ellen doing a duet of "Rocket Man". She's the better singer but not much.

William Shatner - This is even funnier (watch the whole thing, it gets worse as it goes): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvQwXOCKNLY

So yes, Everclear, you are the Worst Cover Band.

Bob Royale
I had completely and blissfully forgotten about these guys til taking a half-assed stroll through your GBV reviews as you've honestly turned me onto a couple of bands I ended up liking. Your review system is not inherently flawed, as it reviews the band against itself, so don't sweat that. On the subject of Everclear...yeah, they sure did what they did and it was on the radio for awhile, the songs were never horrible but never really creative or memorable either. The problem with this guy is that he tries SO hard to be a tragic artist! I mean c'mon- life's not automatically easy. Lots of things are a complete pain in the ass- MY BED IS UPSTAIRS IN MY APARTMENT RIGHT NOW! Many, MANY people get dealt a bum hand.

Ya know, I like Aerosmith OK. I hate Monkey on My Back for the EXACT same reason I hate this band. People fuck up. EVERYONE fucks up. Life is not easy all of the time, but when you go selling your sad sack story to people over the chords to the biggest hit of the 90s inverted, don't go blaming me when I think this band fucking sucks.

That said, Heroin Girl is a good song even if I REALLY want to hate it.

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In A Different Light - 429 2009
Rating = 5

One sec.

(*jerks off all over God's face*)

Okay, what were we talking about? Ah! Yes, the new Everclear album. You'd think an album with only TWO NEW SONGS could at least earn a 7/10 on the strength of its old hits and classics, but unfortunately the band (or should that be "bland," har har!) chose to re-record only their least offensive radio hits. And I know you're laughing so hard that milk is shooting out your brain right now at the thought of Everclear recording anything that ISN'T inoffensive radio crap, but these guys used to play LOUD music! They had to, in order to rip off Nirvana. And with those super-loud distorted guitars, emotionally manipulative chord changes and sad lyrics, they very often managed to tap into an embarrassing part of my psyche that falls for shit like this. I have no problem making fun of myself for enjoying the work of the original Everclear line-up (because it's all so OBVIOUS), but I'll be jigger padiggered if I can stop enjoying it.

But this album is a demonstration of exactly the side of the band that I never liked -- the cutesy side that plays "Smells Like Teen Spirit" chords back to forward and renames it "Something For Everyone," the gentle side that rips off Bruce Springsteen/Patti Smith's "Fire" and renames it "Santa Monica," the strummy jangle side that doesn't even conceal its cliched chord changes by drenching them in fuzz and anger. I can't say I hate any of these songs (except the ever-loathsome "Santa Monica") because I still have a soft spot for Art's emotional hooks and sad autobiography, but they are so much weaker with no volume backing them up. Plus, free of loud/quiet dynamics and '90s production tricks, every song sounds exactly the same!

One of the two new songs ("At The End Of The Day") is actually quite good though, if you enjoy hearing about depressing divorces.

Remade within are 3 So Much For The Afterglows, 2 each Sparkle And Fade and Songs From An American Movie Part One, 1 each World Of Noise and Songs From An American Movie Part Two (the worst song on the album, of course), and not even the first thing at all from Slow Motion Daydream! It's 4:00 AM now, so I should hit some sacks. But I'll leave you with a list of instructions for taking care of Henry The Dog should he ever show up outside your home.

For diarrhea: If it’s mild diarrhea, feed him one small container of cooled Chinese take-out white rice as one of his meals. Diarrhea should get better within 24 hours; if not, call the ASPCA hospital.

If he swallows a bone or other dangerous object: Give him a shot-glassful of hydrogen peroxide, repeat every 3 minutes until he vomits it up OR pour a tablespoon of salt on the back of his tongue, repeat every 3 minutes until he vomits. If unsuccessful, take to hospital.

Food and Treats (And Leaving The Apartment Without Him!): Give 1 1/3 cups of food in the morning and 1 1/3 cups in the evening. You can also give him maybe 10-15 treats throughout the course of the day. If you want to go somewhere without him, the best way to leave is to fill up his Kongs with treats (make it so he can get them out – not too tight!) and leave them out of view of the door. Then say “Bye Henry! I’ll be back soon!” and clear out. He is allowed to have rein over the whole house while you’re out. Just be sure there’s nothing lying around that he might chew on (socks, etc).

Rawhides: You can give him ONE (no more than one) rawhide bone each day. They are in the white cabinet. The best time to give one to him is if you are trying to eat and he’s bugging you. PLEASE NOTE: For some strange reason, occasionally he won’t be able to just sit and enjoy the rawhide unless he thinks that it’s valuable to us. If he just lets it sit there, looks at you and whines, then go “Oooo, I want that!” and pretend to be reaching for it. He will probably growl and immediately grab it in his mouth. Repeat as needed until he finally just lies down and chews the damn thing.

Water: He drinks out of the downstairs toilet, so ALWAYS flush after use and ALWAYS leave the lid up.

Bathroom: He’s used to going out in the morning, evening, and before bed (usually only poos in the morning and evening though). His bathroom command is, “Hurry Up.” If there is an emergency, he is trained to go in the bathtub. This is a GOOD thing, so if he goes in the bathtub, say “Good boy!,” give him a treat and just wash it out with the shower.

Exercise: If possible, try to let him spend a couple of hours in the dog run every day. Any time is fine. If there aren’t any dogs he wants to play with, there are usually lots of tennis balls in the run that you can kick so he’ll chase them and get exercised. He knows the phrase, “Henry! Wanna chase a ball?” and usually gets really excited about it. Just kick them hard along the ground (you don’t have to touch them with your hand). He loves to wrestle with other dogs, sometimes roughly. He doesn’t usually get in fights, but keep an eye out just in case a dog attacks him or something. If you want to leave the run and he doesn’t follow you (might happen until he gets to know you), say “Bye Henry!” and walk to the gate - see if that works.

Playing At Home: He likes attention. If he gets restless, he’ll start whining for your attention. He has all kinds of toys you can use to wrestle with him (or you can wrestle without a toy if you don’t mind him biting you!). Sometimes he just whines because he feels lonely, and it’s enough just to pet him and call him a good boy or let him lie next to you on the couch or something.

His Waking Hour: He usually whines to be taken out at 7:00 AM. This is a good time to catch the morning dog run crowd. Or if you want to go jogging in Central Park, you can take him along. But keep him on the leash at all times.

His Enemy: A big dog that looks like a rug lives at the bookstore on Lexington between 90th and 91st (right around the corner). Henry is VERY afraid of this dog, so afraid that he will try to get out of his collar to get away from it. If you see this dog being walked outside (it’s huge, looks like a rug, should be white but is never bathed so it’s gross and brown, it’s name is “Schmata” or something Yiddish like that), please go a different direction. There’s also a big dog that we hate named Dudley (big white bull mastiff with leopard-looking spots), but Henry isn’t afraid of it. Dudley attacks dogs, so that’s good enough reason to keep Henry away from him! Neither of these dogs go to the dog run so you don’t have to worry about them there.

On Walks: Please hold the leash tightly because he darts for squirrels, birds, dogs… when you least expect it, he’ll dart. Might be a good idea to take some treats along to keep his attention on you. If he somehow does get loose (PLEASE DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN – HE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND THE DANGER AND COULD EASILY GET LOST OR HIT BY A CAR), but if he somehow does for some reason and is going too fast to catch, shout “BYE, HENRY!” and walk in the opposite direction. Usually he gets scared of being left alone and comes back.

Sleeping: He can sleep wherever he wants. Bed, couch, wherever.

Hide Your Valuables: If you leave any of your objects on the floor (even shoes, clothes, etc), he will think that they’re fair game for him to play with or chew on. Use our closet and shelf space!

Barking: If he hears somebody in the building or sees someone suspicious on the street, he may start barking loudly and angrily. If he does this, just keep reassuring him, “Henry – it’s OK! Thank you! It’s ok!” and call him back with a treat or whatever you have to do.

Oops! Actually, that was his old information -- before he developed Kidney Insufficiency. So ignore the previous diet information, and stick to this instead:

ALWAYS have water available. The absolute worst thing that can happen to a kidney-problem dog is dehydration; it could totally destroy his kidney. So leave the bathroom door and toilet open at all times. And when you take him for a walk, take a bottle of water and Tupperware dish or Ziploc bag with you in case he gets thirsty. He may also try to pull you to the ‘Dog Bar’ at the Barking Dog on 3rd Ave. if you’re in that area.

No rawhides, bones, pig ears or anything like that. Minimal treats. If you go to Petco, he’s allowed to eat a few treats from the Dog Treat Bar, and if you go to Furry Paws you can get him a small treat (like a Dog Slim Jim at the front counter), but nothing more than that per day.

Meals: Three a day, consisting of:
½ cup Kibble and 3-4 glops of Tripe or Innova Senior (both found in cans by the Kibble bag)

Medication: To be given twice a day (once with breakfast, once with dinner):
- 1 Amlodipine Besylate tablet (cover in tripe/Innova or he won’t eat)
- 1 Glucosamine Chondroitin capsule (cover in tribe/Innova or he won’t eat)
- 1 Fish Oil softgel (no need to cover – just drop on the kibble)
- ½ Milk Thistle capsule (just sprinkle the powder on his kibble)

Actually, you know what? If he shows up outside your home, just call me at the phone number on his tag and I'll come get him.

Also, I love this sentence in Wikipedia's write-up of In A Different Light: "It is the band's first album with 429 records."

Say, that's a lot of records for a band with one album!

Reader Comments

"A big dog that looks like a rug..."

It's a Komondor, a Hungarian herding dog. I remember it well. Even years ago Henry and that dog already hated each other...but then Hungarians and Germans have never gotten along.

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Return to Santa Monica - Cleopatra 2011
Rating = 3

If you've been reduced to issuing not one but two CDs in a row featuring almost nothing but re-recordings of your old hits, you're either a member of The Ventures or your career is in the toilet. And if that second CD happens to be on Cleopatra -- essentially the RC Cola of record labels (i.e. flat, watered-down dog piss) -- then I'm guessing it's the latter.

Now is not the time to discuss why I, to this day, enjoy every single release by the original Everclear line-up. I'm leaning towards "somebody hypnotized me into hearing it wrong," but let's move on. The important question here is 'Who on Earth did they think would pay actual money for this shit?' First of all, Return to Santa Monica has twelve songs on it. Guess how many of these were already re-recorded for In A Different Light just two years earlier?

Give up?

FIVE!!!! FIVE OF THESE TWELVE SONGS HAVE NOW APPEARED IN DIFFERENT YET NEARLY IDENTICAL RECORDINGS ON THREE DIFFERENT EVERCLEAR CDS! And honestly, "Everything to Everyone," "Wonderful," "Santa Monica," "Father of Mine" and "I Will Buy You a New Life" were never the greatest songs to begin with -- who the hell wants to hear them three times? Are they just trying to trick old people into thinking these CDs are greatest hits compilations? Because trust me, old people are much more likely to order the CDs entitled Ten Years Gone: The Best of Everclear 1994-2004 and The Best of Everclear than to even suspect that these recent abortions are anything but lousy late-period studio releases like Welcome to the Drama Club.

The only new songs here are cover tunes: a surprisingly faithful and enjoyable adaptation of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down," a dull power pop cover of Death Cab for Cutie's already awful pussyass wimp song "I Will Follow You Into the Dark," an atrociously lazy and tuneless version of The Police's "Every Breath You Take" and a staggeringly unfunny 'novelty' cover of Steve Miller's "The Joker" in which Art Alexakis tries to sound witty and charismatic, but instead comes across as the biggest loser and dumbass in the world of rock (besides Glenn Danzig).

Here, I'll quote the entire song for you:

"Yeah, it feels like 1974 in here!
Is this on?
For some reason, people call me the Space Cowboy
Some call me a gangster - and they don't even know me!
And I've never spoke to the pompatus of love, because that's not even a real word!

They say I'm doing you, which is cool. But then they say I'm doing you wrong, which ain't so cool.
And by the way, who are "they" anyways? They are the people from high school that made all of our lives miserable!
The football players. The head of the cheerleaders is now 42 years old and she works at Hooter's!
Most likely to succeed? They were wrong!


Look out -- aaaaaah.
You are the finest thing that I ever did see.
I gotta tell you, I love you so much, I almost love you more than I love food -- and I really love food!
Check this out - when we're having sex sometimes, I can't even believe we're having sex! I feel like I'm in a science fiction movie! I'm not saying we look like gillmen or anything. What I'm saying is 'out of this world'.


You know what? I'm getting tired of people talking about me all the time.
Sometimes they say I'm too old, they say I'm too weak.
I am a middle-aged man with bleached blonde hair, a lot of tattoos, one nipple piercing because the cat took out the other one.
I've got a baby, a kid in college, I've got bills, I've got all this stuff - what do people even care?
I like to eat, I like to have sex and I like to hang out with my friends! Just like any guy! It's a good time!
You know what? You are the finest thing that I ever did see.
I really want your peaches, and I don't even know what peaches are! (EDITOR: ARE YOU SERIOUS!?!)
The first time I heard this song in 1974, I was in sixth grade. I was rolling, hanging out with a girlfriend who was three years older than me. She had boobs the size of my head. Life was pretty good. I could go for a giant pastrami, and I could have sex. What more do you need!?


Can I have something to eat?"


Reader Comments

Billy Barron
We'll go with the "hypnotized" answer as to why you enjoy them. They have the worst singer on the planet. I wanted to see if the re-recordings improved things as these awful songs are always on the radio. I didn't think it was possible but these new recordings suck at least 25% more than the originals. " Their version of "I Won't Back Down" is even worse than their re-recorded originals. I'll put my vote for "The Joker" as the worst song of 2011 - I didn't know it was possible to make Steve Miller's songs even worse, but Everclear found a way . The only thing that saves this train wreck for 0/10 is the rhythm work on "Everything To Everyone" is still pretty good. 1/10

Adam Naworal
All I have to say about this is Cleopatra actually did a good job on the recent Brainticket box set. Other than that, eh to that label and bad sign for Everclear that they're apparently on it now.

Add your thoughts?

Buy your Everclear CDs HERE! (not the new one though - it's terrible)

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