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Same songs, “Different Light” for Everclear

Band’s new album features evolved versions of their classics

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Everclear’s new album features new versions of old favorites portrayed, as its name suggests, “In a Different Light.”

A far cry from the absent father depicted in “Father of Mine,” Everclear frontman Art Alexakis was shopping for children’s clothes with his family in Tuscon, Ariz. when the Weekly caught up with him. Alexakis and his band are bringing their In a Different Light Tour to Las Vegas Saturday night, where they’ll play at the new Hard Rock Café on the Strip.

The tour is in support of Everclear’s new album, but don’t worry about Alexakis neglecting past hits and old favorites. The songwriter for the band since its inception in 1992 says he gets frustrated with artists who refuse to rehash their classics. “You’ve got to walk that line and make people happy and sound like that song that people fell in love with in the first place. I’ve had to evolve it over the years, but I play ‘Santa Monica’ at every show.” The aptly named In a Different Light includes new versions of classic Everclear tunes like “Wonderful” and “I Will Buy You a New Life,” plus a few new tracks. Get a listen Nov. 7, and decide for yourself if this Different Light shines even brighter.

At what point did you decide to do an album with new versions of classic Everclear songs, rather than entirely new material?

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Everclear
Nov. 7, 9 p.m. $20.
Hard Rock Cafe Strip

I’m working on an album of new material and I’m the kind of guy who if it ain’t ready, I’m not going to force it. I’m working on about 17 songs, and four or five of them are great and the others are getting hammered into shape. It’ll work itself down to 12 to 14 really strong songs that I feel great about. When I’m there, I’ll record them. The new album is like doing a live album, but it’s not. The theory is that you get a more evolved and different version of a song that you knew. Songs, especially ones you’ve been playing for 12 to 15 years are going to evolve and change.

Was this something your fans had requested over the years?

The album now is something fans have asked for over the years. Instead of doing it bombastically with big guitars like we usually do, a lot of fans have wanted to hear acoustic versions of these songs. Probably, I’ve gotten a thousand requests over the years. If I didn’t like the idea – if I had a thousand people saying I should do a record with just kazoos because it would be so awesome – then I would be like “Uh, no.” If I thought these songs sucked or they weren’t bringing anything new to the table, I would have said, “Well, that was a nice thought,” but I thought it came out great.

What was it like forming a band over 15 years ago with two guys you met after placing an ad for musicians?

Meeting people out of the paper is a crapshoot. I mean, did you ever try to date with personals? Neither did I. It scares the hell out of me. People lie! You read this stuff like “attractive, funny…” Yeah, who told you that? Your mom? Who told you you’re attractive or funny? It worked out, though. Before we signed with the major label, Greg [Eklund] came onboard and he went from 1994 until 2003. We were never all best friends. We all kind of had different drummers that we moved to. It was more professional.

Was it ever a pointed mission to address social issues like drug use and absentee fathers in a sugar-coated pop song fashion?

[Laughing] No! I just do what I do. I grew up listening to singer songwriters and I grew up listening to hard rock bands. That’s what I like, and ultimately, it was going to melt. I’ve said that before, Everclear is a singer songwriter combined with a hard rock band. Call it alternative, call it whatever you want. It’s big guitars. It’s melodic. But yeah, I get a little bit deeper than some people. I’ve lived a little bit of life.

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