"We can live beside the ocean/leave the fire behind/swim out past the breakers/watch the world die."
For some reason, that line from Everclear's first real hit, "Santa Monica," a "shake your fist at the world" diatribe set to revved-up, roots-flavored punk that comes on like a reincarnated X, gets me every time. Maybe someday, some young band will think about covering it, just as Art Alexakis and company have remade some of their favorites in their own image for a new covers album called The Vegas Years.
Featuring retooled versions of Hall & Oates' "Rich Girl" and the Go-Gos' "Our Lips Are Sealed," along with Neil Young's "Pocahontas" and a smoking-hot blitz through Little Jimmy Dickens' "Night Train to Memphis," among other tracks, the album collects studio and concert recordings stretching as far back as 1994 of Everclear doing songs that Art grew up with. The album will be released on tax day, April 15.
Alexakis recently chatted with Goldmine about the upcoming LP and all things Everclear. Alexakis, who has a five-month-old baby in tow these days (just to keep him more busy than ever), explains why the time was right for a covers album.
"Well, we had a stock of about 24 covers, and we thought, 'Man, this would be a great thing. Fans would really like it, I think people would really like it, and there are some really great songs there. We went to Capitol — we're not on Capitol anymore — but we went to Capitol to see if they'd license some of them, and they listened to them and said, 'They're really great. We want to put them out.' And we said, 'Well, okay, but we have some songs ... 'cause the personnel in the band changed about five years ago, and we want to do some songs we have [with the reconfigured Everclear], and they let me produce it and gave me a little bit of money to re-mix some of them, and for not a lot of money, for like a fraction of what I used to spend making records, we put this together and made all these songs live together in a way that sounds like an album. There's old songs and new songs, and songs we did with the old band. It ties in the old with the new real well I think."
Alexakis has already gotten some feedback. He said that Darryl Hall of Hall & Oates liked Everclear's version of "Rich Girl" so much, he had his management call Alexakis to invite him to appear on a web cast Hall does.
To read or hear more of my interview with Alexakis, watch the podcast section on www.goldminemag.com for a podcast of our talk or wait patiently, and a story on Everclear will appear in a future edition of Goldmine. In the meantime, let me know what some of your favorite cover songs are, or tell me what songs haven't been covered that you think should be re-done.