On Tuesday, June 17th the 2014 Summerland Tour comes to Irving Plaza, where those in attendance will attempt to party like it’s 1999. Nostalgia will be in full effect as this year sees headliners Everclear joined by Soul Asylum, Eve 6, and Spacehog. To adequately prepare you to ’90s rock, we’ve assembled a quick guide to what each band’s been up to since you last heard their alternative staples dominating the airwaves. This is the Road to Summerland 2014.
In the ’90s Everclear offered to buy you a new life, but for the past three years they’ve been selling you a new summer of memories. Frontman Art Alexakis first envisioned the Summerland tour, originally with Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, and now Summerland’s third incarnation is going coast-to-coast with one of the best received line-ups of any traveling summer tour. It’s a strong start to the decade, considering Alexakis’ problems throughout the 2000s. While the millennium started promisingly enough with Everclear’s two Songs From an American Movie albums and Alexakis’ own Popularity Records imprint on the Artemis label that saw the nationwide release of Flipp’s Volume album. Alexakis’ fortunes took an unfortunate turn in 2005 when he filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy after amassing about 3 Million dollars in debt and having to sell off his rights to the Everclear catalog. But he’s since bounced back, releasing a new Everclear album (he’s the only remaining original member) Invisible Stars in 2012 as well as actively pursuing acting and inspiring the now thriving market of ’90s rock nostalgia tours.
From Minneapolis, Minnesota (the home of Prince and where they filmed The Mighty Ducks movies) Soul Asylum found their way into the hearts of ’90s alternative rock fans with hits like the missing child saving “Runaway Train” and heartwarming moments like lead singer David Pirner wearing a Spaghettio’s shirt to the MTV Video Music Awards. Pretty much every ’90s thing a band could do, Soul Asylum did, from playing one of Bill Clinton’s inaugurations to scoring a Kevin Smith film to collaborating on-stage with Wyclef Jean.
At the end of the decade, the group took a break until reforming in 2004. They recorded The Silver Lining that year while bassist Karl Mueller battled throat cancer, ultimately succumbing to the disease after the album’s completion in 2005. The group then became something of a Minnesotan dream line-up with Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson and Prince’s New Power Generation drummer Michael Bland joining the group. After an extensive compilation of the group’s work on A&M Records was released in 2007, the next Soul Asylum record, Delayed Reaction came in 2012. Pirner has also made some interesting guest appearances including The Hold Steady’s “Chillout Tent,” and Dutch symphonic metal outfit Within Temptation’s 2014 album Hydra. This year, Soul Asylum’s releasing an ambitious series for four EPs of covers, starting with next month’s No Fun Intended which will see the band tackle The Suicide Commandos, Joy Division, and MC5.
“Wanna put my tender heart in a blender” was one of the most vividly emotionally transparent couplets in all of ’90s rock. Earnest enough for the emo kids and blunt enough to be quoted by Fred Durst in Limp Bizkit’s “Nookie,” it was the line that launched Eve 6 into immortality. Couple that with 2001’s “Here’s to the Night” becoming a generation’s end-of-an-era growing-up tune that somehow out-graduationed Vitamin C’s “Graduation Song,” and you have a group whose name may not top many “favorite ’90s band” lists, but has their music forever interwoven into countless personal memories. In a move surprisingly common amongst their contemporaries, the group broke-up after an experimental third album in the early 2000s. Changing with the time, lead singer/guitarist Max Collins and drummer Tony Fagenson formed the duo The Sugi Tap as one of the very first musical outfits to closely align with MySpace. After one EP release exclusively in the MySpace Music Store (yes, we’ve checked and we’re certain that was a thing) The Sugi Tap ended as Eve 6 got back to turning alternative rock “Inside Out.” Collins also spent the late-2000s doing writing/production work for puddle of Mudd and actor Haley Joel Osment’s sister Emily Osment. In 2012 Eve 6 released a new album Speak in Code with the group’s original producer Don Gilmore. Between that and the film Can’t Hardly Wait (a film driven by the group’s deep cut “Open Road Song”) being added to Netflix’s streaming library, there’s never been a better time to see Eve 6.
If you were in grade school during the ’90s, chances are at one point you giggled at the cover art for Spacehog’s debut Resident Alien, boasting an identification of an alien with the “Sex:” classification followed by an “OH YES.” More than enough of a reason to dust off your Big Johnsons shirt for tonight’s show, you may also know the modern glam rockers for their 2001 hit “I Want to Live.” The sex-fueled intergalactic rockers never drifted too far into the overly wacky or campy aspect of their image, maintaining an unironic cool that would be harder to come by through the rest of the decade. Since then, lead signer/bassist Leeds, England-native Royston Langdon married actress Liv Tyler, who gave birth to their son Milo in 2004 before amicably splitting in 2008. Around that time, Royston and his brother/Spacehog guitarist Antony Langdon and drummer Jonny Crag were joined by fellow Langdon brother Christian to form the side project Arckid. While an Arckid album was reportedly near-complete, it was never officially released as Spacehog reformed in 2008. Around this time, Antony became a close associate and frequent collaborator with actor Joaquin Phoenix during his delusional “joke” period where he attempted to launch a hip-hop career. Antony popped up in Phoenix’s the doc/mockumentary I’m Still Here during one of the film’s many fights. Spacehog bounced back comparatively big in 2013. Along with releasing their first album in about a decade in As It Is On Earth, they were named by People Magazine as the #2 90s band still touring. The group found further admiration in Boy George who told The Guardian that their Resident Alien album was a record that “changed his life.” This year, just in time for Summerland, Spacehog also welcomed Derreck Hawkings of Stabbing Westward into the fold.