Three years ago, Art Alexakis, singer and guitarist for the alternative rock band Everclear, organized the first Summerland Tour, featuring popular groups from the ’90s. The Pasadena resident had longed for the past, when radio stations like KROQ would put 10 bands together for five-hour concert tours.
“I wanted to pattern it after that, but I wanted to use bands that both had hits back then and were still real bands, not bands that come out of the mothballs once a year to tour and make some money,” Alexakis said. “These are bands that are constantly putting out records and touring.”
The Summerland Tour will stop at the House of Blues in West Hollywood on Thursday, July 17. Alexakis said that Everclear will play old hits, fan favorites and at least one song from its upcoming album, set for release late this year or in early 2015.
This is the second outing with Everclear for Soul Asylum, but its first on the Summerland Tour.
Lead vocalist David Primer said that keeping a bit of innocent, childish wonder about music is what has kept Soul Asylum from the distracting cynicism of the industry and added to its staying power. It has also been key to the band’s success.
“It’s the ying and yang of putting the innocence with the experience, and that’s the hardest place to get to,” Primer said. “I think it only comes with the turf. It’s also a place that allows for change and a place that allows for tolerance and a place that allows for the ability to continue on. It’s a perseverance thing, and the passion and the patience and the persistence is what keeps it intact.”
New Orleans resident Primer writes all of Soul Asylum’s material. His biggest challenge is trying to figure out whether to bring the band a demo tape of a song or play it on the acoustic guitar and ask the others to play along, he said.
“Both things work, but the second way (presenting it on acoustic guitar) is more exciting because the band feels like they’re hearing it and creating it together in the studio,” Primer said. “If I give them a demo tape where I’m playing bass, drums and everything, it’s exactly the same thing, but it’s more of the illusion that you’re covering something. You don’t really want to hear somebody else play it before you play it.”
There’s been rumblings that ’90s music and fashions are coming back, but aside from Canadian bands, Primer doesn’t see it.
“Once you start to talk about the fashion, you start to talk about flannel shirts, and then you start to talk about music in Seattle and Minnesota — they wore flannel shirts because it was cold,” Primer said. “And you go to Canada, and there’s even more flannel shirts. Whether or not that has anything to do with why that kind of music does not exist where I live right now in New Orleans, it must. There’s plenty of death metal in Florida, it’s just a different city.”
Alexakis said that there is a bit of buzz about the ’90s, however.
“I think it’s just time, a lot of people are tired of the ’80s, and when you listen to what’s called alternative radio right now, it’s very ’80s influenced. I think there’s a lot of people missing guitars,” Alexakis said.
Younger people grow up listening to what their parents and older relatives listen to, so they want to hear similar music, he said.
“I’m waiting for some new bands to come out and blow the doors off the whole culture, just like Nirvana did, just like punk rock and hip-hop did, because we need a change,” Alexakis said.
Alexakis doesn’t see a retro ’90s trend just yet, but he believes it may be just beyond the horizon.
“I see it in music, and I’m sure if the music comes back, you’ll see it in fashion,” Alexakis said. “Skinny models with bad posture listening to blaring music and wearing something flannel — I’m sure it’s going to happen.”
As he finishing his statement with a laugh, we wondered if Alexakis might just be pulling our leg.
The 20th anniversary of Everclear’s iconic album, “Sparkle and Fade,” is next year, so the band is hoping to tour. The group also plans to promote the upcoming release with a tour and arrange a fourth Summerland Tour. Alexakis would also like to do a solo tour to “test drive” Everclear’s new material acoustically.
Soul Asylum has a new album at work in the studio as well, which should be out by the end of the year and followed with a tour.
“It’s a lot of work, but I’m just really thankful to have a job,” Primer said. “I can’t believe I’m going to be working every day for the next 50 days, which doesn’t really happen with many bands. Hopefully, I’ll survive it, and a fun time will be had by all. I’m sure it will be a strange trip to some degree. It never gets any less strange is the good part.”
SUMMERLAND TOUR 2014: EVERCLEAR, SOUL ASYLUM, EVE 6 AND SPACE HOG
When: 8 p.m. Thursday, July 17
Where: House of Blues, 8430 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
Tickets: $30-$41. Minimum age is 18
Information: 323-848-5100; www.houseofblues.com/losangeles
Follow Michelle Mills on Twitter: @mickieszoo