Summerland concert meant for real-deal rock 'n' roll

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Only bands who are the real deal need apply to perform on his Summerland concert bill, says Art Alexakis.

“You've got to be a real band, not a mothball band. You can't come out of hibernation once a year to do a tour,” says the Everclear frontman, who is founder and organizer of this '90s alternative-music celebration.

“We want bands that are out there regularly, making records, touring and who will (play) the hits, and it's great if they sound like they did back in the day.”

Summerland's third edition stops June 20 at Stage AE, headlined by Everclear, described by one biographer as one of the '90s most consistent hitmakers.

The bands have changed every year, except for Everclear. This year's lineup:

• Soul Asylum, whose triple-platinum album, “Grave Dancers Union,” featured the Grammy Award-winning single, “Runaway Train.” Another album, “Let Your Dim Light Shine,” went platinum.

• Eve 6, a Southern California contingent best known for its hit singles “Inside Out” and “Here's to the Night.”

• Spacehog, whose blend of glam rock influences, including David Bowie and T. Rex, with its wall-of-distorted-guitars sound, made its presence known in the late ‘90s alternative scene. “In the Meantime” was a No. 1 rock single in America.

“It's four bands in three hours and a low ticket price,” Alexakis says. “And I love that place (Stage AE), with a great view.”

He says he started Summerland because there were no similar tours at the time.

“Even though the economy has gotten better, it's not what it was even five years ago. You've got to give people a lot of value for not a lot of money and you've got to bring the goods,” he says. “You have got to have great bands and songs and have a show. No one is getting rich on this, trust me.”

He says his reward comes after a performance and fans tell him it is the best show they have been to all summer.

“I'm so stoked to get Soul Asylum and Eve 6 and I've been friends with Spacehog for quite a while,” he says.

He is pleased to see a variety of ages in the audience.

“A lot of younger people know all the words. They are picking up on great classic rock 'n' roll, an era that doesn't exist anymore,” he says. “It makes me feel good that there are still people out there carrying a torch for great music.”

Alexakis hopes Everclear fans come wanting to be part of the show “because they are going to be, whether they like it or not,” he says, laughing. “I try to make it as interactive as possible. That is exciting for everybody, including myself.”

Everclear has sold 9 million albums worldwide with hits like “Santa Monica,” “Everything to Everyone,” “I Will Buy You a New Life,” “Father of Mine” and “Wonderful.” Alexakis says the band continues to be “a hard-rock punk band that writes melodic songs.”

Alexakis remains motivated and driven by “just the whole thing, rock 'n' roll,” he says. “I love rock 'n' roll — old rock 'n' roll and new rock 'n' roll.”

“We are older, but we still jump around, but probably not as high. I'm not afraid to push it. If I'm not covered with sweat by the second song, I'm doing something wrong,” he says.

The artist sees a two-dimensional challenge to live performance.

“It's the risk and danger of everything falling apart and trying to keep all the balls in the air and make it look effortless, all at the same time,” he says.

Alexakis, who teaches a songwriting class in Los Angeles, is writing an autobiography and working on a new Everclear album, planned for next spring. “It's a very, very rock album. It's kind of raw, too, more contemporary-sounding,” he says.

Rex Rutkoski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4664 or

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