Rock is having a moment. Stranger Things has pushed Metallica‘s “Master Of Puppets” into the charts. Guns’ N Roses is all over the Thor: Love and Thunder soundtrack. And Everclear has found that the sound that birthed them in the early 1990s is resonating with Gen Z. The group, created and fronted by Art Alexakis, is on tour in support of the 30th anniversary re-issue of World Of Noise, and has been playing to audiences who weren’t even alive when that debut album dropped.
“I’d say 20 to 30% of our shows are [full of] kids in their late teens or early to mid-twenties,” Art tells HollywoodLife when discussing the re-issue. “[These fans] were not around – not even born, or maybe just babies – when we came out in the ’90s.”
What’s drawing these young fans to this guitar-powered sound? “I talked to them, and they’re just hungry for rock and roll,” says Art. Specifically, the sound of the 1990s, when college rock and the underground punk movements birthed the mainstream alternative rock that came to define the decade. “The ’90s are more exciting to them,” Art says of these young fans. “The ’80s seem kitschy and kind of stupid and gimmicky to them. They like ’90s rock. And a lot of those kids who like ’90s rock really like Everclear.”
“It’s a trip, man!” he adds, equally appreciative and astonished. “Little kids like singing all the words, not just the hits – all the hits, even the deep songs. The other night, I played ‘Blondes,’ And there were these two little girls that are like, not much older than my 14-year-old daughter. Maybe 18, 19, college-age, and they’re singing the words to ‘Blondes,’ and one of them is blonde. They turn at each other and point and go, ‘now I know it’s not real!’ And I’m like, ‘am I in some fucking weird parallel universe or something? What is going on here.’”
It’s a fair question: what is going on? While pop and hip hop still dominate the Hot 100 list, there seems to be a resurgence of guitar-fueled music taking hold of younger listeners. Olivia Rodrigo incorporated elements of punk into her album, which may have resulted in fans tracking down Hot Milk, Meet Me @ The Altar, beabadoobee, The Interrupters, and The Linda Lindas. Phoebe Bridgers, Japanese Breakfast, 5 Seconds of Summer, St. Vincent, and Machine Gun Kelly are all focused on guitar tones and fuzz pedals. On top of that, Ed Sheeran wants to make an album with Cradle of Filth, and Demi Lovato is embracing her metal love by rocking out with Nita Strauss.
“I think the element of rock and roll and just the ethos of rock and roll — without trying to sound pretentious — is so strong that it just won’t die,” says Art. “Regardless of what the program directors and record labels and everybody else seem to dictate, that need for communal rebellion is deep, and kids are gonna find it. It’s there.”
“That’s the great thing about the technology. Now, anything you want is right on this little device,” he says when holding up his phone. Yet, for a long time, World Of Noise wasn’t available on streaming services. Art explained that after producing and paying for the recording sessions, he licensed World of Noise to an independent label. “TK records,” he says. “They were like, ‘sell it to us for five grand.’ I was like, ‘No, I’ll license it to you for three grand?’”
“When we went to Capitol Records, they were like, ‘we’d like you to sign over [World Of Noise] here, all ownership and rights for a dollar.” Art shirked at the memory. “I’m like, ‘no, that’s not going to happen.’” Once again, the label tried to buy the album, but Art negotiated a deal to license it to Capitol for five years.
“They put it out on vinyl, which I made them do — vinyl and CDs and cassettes, in 94.” In 1995, the band released Sparkle And Fade, containing their breakthrough hit, “Santa Monica,” along with alternative radio staples “Heroin Girl,” “Heartspark Dollarsign,” and “You Make Me Feel Like A Whore.” As Everclear surged with their newfound success, they released the successfull follow-up, So Much For The Afterglow, 1997. The album featured band-defining songs like, “Everything To Everyone,” “I Will Buy You A New Life,” and “Father Of Mine.”
As Everclear’s career took off, Art admits that he “lost track of the masters” for World of Noise. “I didn’t know where they were.” Fast-forward twenty-something years later, fans wanted to hear the music the band made before they made it — without having to buy the out-of-print album on the secondary market.
Art said he faced a problem: he didn’t want to re-release the album with the 1993 mastering. The mix wasn’t to his liking, and audio equipment had advanced in the thirty years since its initial release. He wanted to ensure the album sounded good on 2022 technology for 2022 listeners.
Thankfully, he wouldn’t have to. Art discovered the long-lost master tapes and from there, he knew what needed to be done. “When I found the masters, it was like, ‘let’s do it right now. I’m going to spend the money’ – and it cost thousands of dollars to bake [the tapes] and master it – but the main thing is now there’s a really good sounding version with really cool bonus tracks. It’s been refurbished a little bit, and I’m really proud that all of my music – including the roots of Everclear – is now available for everybody. And that’s exciting.”
Now that all the pieces of Everclear’s past are together, how does the future look? The band is wrapping up its 30th anniversary tour, which should take them through September. Around that time, they will gift their fans with a new song. “It’s called ‘Year Of The Tiger,’ since it’s the year of the Tiger,” says Art. “It was really fun just doing one song, you know? Just putting all our juice into one song. I think the plan is to do two or three songs a year. Just put emphasis into it, just super-serve our fanbase.”
“I’ve made a lot of albums, man,” Art says with a laugh. “And that’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of work – I’m producing everything and writing just about everything. It’s a lot of work – and I love doing it. I could look back on the making of all of our records fondly, but I’m done. I’m 60, you know? Do a couple of songs a year, and put a lot of work into them. [Spread] lots of love with the band. There you go. Sounds good to me.”
World of Noise is out now. Click here for info on Everclear’s 30th Anniversary Tour and additional dates.