The standard for bands these days seems to be release an album and tour, then record and release another album as quickly as possible to cash in before the craze winds down and the band becomes one more in a holding pattern on the VH1 Where Are They Now? runway. And then there's Everclear. The Portland trio -- singer-guitarist Art Alexakis, bassist Craig Montoya, and drummer Greg Eklund -- is coming through on tour again. The band's not supporting a new album, or even a new single. (No, the group's redo of Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back in Town" that appears on the new Detroit Rock City soundtrack doesn't count.) Everclear is simply milking its 1997 album So Much for the Afterglow until all that's left is dust. And who can blame them? The album's still getting airplay, and earlier this year the band released a video for "One Hit Wonder," yet another track from Afterglow.

In the two years since the album's release, the band members have enjoyed all the trappings of rock stardom. They've done ads for Gap and the Sci-Fi Channel, along with an anti-drug public service announcement. Afterglow went platinum, and Everclear released more videos, graced magazine covers, and toured, and toured, and...you get the point. With one album they've gotten all the benefits of a machine-gun rapid succession of records with a measly one or two singles. They keep drawing fans to concerts (many young enough to be children of the 37-year-old Alexakis) and make sure that no one forgets them until they can get back into the studio to record that mythical third album for Capitol. It's nice work if you can get it, and if you can get it then you're probably a member of Everclear. Or The Toadies.

But before Everclear even records its next album, Alexakis is set to release his first solo album, followed by a brief tour. And he's supposed to be starting his own label, Popularity Records, which will be distributed by a non-Capitol major label. But here they are, back on tour one last time...or something. Hey guys, it's great that Afterglow has been so successful, but prove that you can do it again. Sure, Afterglow was released two years after the major-label debut Sparkle and Fade, but Sparkle had a much briefer run. And while it recorded the next album, the band kind of, well, faded.

Determined not to let that happen again, Everclear released Afterglow, a veritable collection of hit singles that seems at this point inexhaustible. The songs continue to get radio play (they've even broken out of alternative radio and into the '80s-'90s mix stations), and tickets for shows still sell. And if they don't get around to working on the new album after the tour, they can always release a new video for the next single from Afterglow to buy them some more time. It's worked this long.

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Shannon Sutlief