‘Honest’ and Raw Live Record, Latest Offering From Alt Rock Legends Everclear

The latest offering from alt rock legends Everclear is a loud, “rough around the edges” live album — exactly like frontman Art Alexakis likes it. 

Live at The Whiskey a Go Go drops Sept. 8 from Sunset Blvd Records, and it fully captures the raw energy the band has pushed over a 30-year career. 

In an interview with Digital Beat Magazine, Alexakis said the album’s unpolished sound is a throwback to the popular live albums of the late 70s and 80s that offered an unfiltered recreation of attending a show. Some of Alexakis’ guideposts, for instance, are KISS’ “Alive!” and “Live at Leeds” from The Who.   

For fans of Everclear, “you get to hear these songs the way they were originally conceived and rehearsed,” Alexakis explains. “It’s an honest record. There are no overdubs. You get what you get.” 

Take “I Will Buy You A New Life,” for instance. It’s stripped down enough that in the culinary world they might call it “deconstructed,” with a slower tempo giving each instrument time to shine in the mix. “Fire Maple Song” turns into almost a sludgy demo, with Alexakis’ vocals ringing out high over the triumphant climax. For longtime Everclear fans, it’s like meeting the lookalike sibling of a really close friend. 

That DIY, punk aesthetic is also reflected in the blurry, chaotic cover art and the choice to film a black-and-white music video for Live’s single, “Heroin Girl.” The collective package is intended to capture the excitement of a live performance and, more fundamentally, enjoying good music packed shoulder-to-shoulder in a steamy venue. 

“That’s what rock and roll is,” Alexakis said. 

The setlist holds few surprises. Alexakis says they’ve always been a band that plays the hits and happily takes requests on social media before a tour stop. (Hint, hint. Everclear hits the road starting Sept. 2 through Nov. 4 with the Ataris and Pink Spiders in support.) 

Live is no exception, with all the big hits you would expect: “Heartspark Dollarsign,” “Father of Mine,” “I Will Buy You A New Life” and “Santa Monica.” They also throw in a cover of Nirvana’s “Molly’s Lips” and two new studio songs, “Year of the Tiger” and “Sing Away.” 

One of the hallmarks of Everclear’s music are the deeply personal and often biographical lyrics. That extends to their live performances; you can hear it in Alexakis’ banter with the crowd, which is warm and friendly and invites you into the songs. “Wonderful” is a great example, with Alexakis’ telling parents in the audience: “Aren’t kids the best? And aren’t sometimes kids the fucking worst?” 

Speaking to Digital Beat Magazine, Alexakis said that’s because Everclear has always been a hard rock band with singer/songwriter roots. While about a third of songs are biographical (“Father of Mine” is a leading example), another two thirds are just inspired by events or stories he creates and sings in first person. 

“If you can’t tell the difference, then I’m doing my job,” Alexakis said with a laugh. 

Ultimately, Live has a little something for everyone. Longtime fans will enjoy the experience of singing along with a crowd who also love Everclear. But Alexakis has noticed shows today are also attended by quite a few fans who were born years after “Santa Monica” was on heavy rotation on MTV. 

That, he says, is because “a good song is a good song. And a good band playing a good song will always resonate.” 

Live at the Whiskey A Go Go drops Sept. 8. 

Track list: 

  1. Introduction (by Matt Pinfield) 
  2. So Much For The Afterglow 
  3. Everything To Everyone 
  4. Heroin Girl 
  5. Heartspark Dollarsign 
  6. Father Of Mine 
  7. Nervous and Weird 
  8. Fire Maple Song 
  9. Wonderful 
  10. Strawberry 
  11. AM Radio 
  12. Local God 
  13. I Will Buy You A New Life 
  14. Santa Monica 
  15. Molly’s Lips (Nirvana cover)
  16. Year Of The Tiger (Bonus Studio Track) 
  17. Sing Away (Bonus Studio Track)