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October 3rd, 2012 MATTHEW SINGER | Music Stories
 

Stripes vs. Soul Patches

Comparing the careers of the Oregon Music Hall of Fame’s marquee inductees.

music_bigbox_3847(Left) The U-Krew, (Right) Everclear - U-Krew Photo courtesy Oregon Music Hall of Fame, Everclear photo courtesy moscaphoto.com

YEARS ACTIVE

U-Krew: 1984-1993

Everclear: 1992-“present”

SOUND

U-Krew: An early hybrid of R&B and hip-hop, weaving romantic come-ons with streetwise raps, choreographed dance moves and flashy matching outfits. Imagine five Bobby Browns, all dressed as Afro-centric zebras.

Everclear: Angst, addiction, misery, self-loathing—the usual ’90s stew—translated through gleaming power-pop which, despite accusations at the time, didn’t rip off Nirvana so much as predict the Foo Fighters.

ACTIVE ORIGINAL MEMBERS

U-Krew: Four of five: Kevin Morse, Lavell Alexander, James “J. Mack” McClendon and Hakim Muhammad. Producer Larry Bell died in 2010.

Everclear: One of three. Singer-guitarist Art Alexakis’ latest incarnation of the group features a new rhythm section, plus a second guitarist and keyboardist.

BEST KNOWN SONG

U-Krew:If U Were Mine” (1990), a synth club jam that cracked the pop charts—although some of its sales must’ve come from people thinking they were buying a cassingle of Prince’s “When You Were Mine.”

Everclear:Santa Monica” (1993), a song allegedly about Alexakis’ teenage suicide attempt, based around the kind of insipidly simple riff someone plays when noodling on a guitar for the first time. 

HIGHEST MOMENT

U-Krew: Appearing on Soul Train, where, after spiritedly miming through “Let Me Be Your Lover,” the group was asked by host Don Cornelius, “What’s it like trying to get funky and soulful in Portland, Oregon?”

Everclear: Being named Modern Rock Artist of the Year in 1998 by Billboard magazine, beating out such stiff competition as Fastball, Eve 6 and that guy with the Gilligan hat who sang about beating up Hanson.

LOWEST MOMENT

U-Krew: In 1991, while in the midst of a tour, U-Krew’s label, Enigma Records—also home to Slayer, Poison and GG Allin—went under, leading to the group’s breakup.

Everclear: After the multiple tragedies of his youth, it’s hard to imagine Alexakis was affected by anything that happened in his music career…but “AM Radio” was pretty fucking terrible.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

U-Krew: Muhammad operates the recording studio Soul Deep Productions; Alexander designs sneakers for Adidas; McClendon runs Mack & Dub’s Excellent Chicken and Waffles, which serves just that. 

Everclear: According to public perception, Alexakis is a broken, bitter ex-rock star who spends his days counting what’s left of his money. According to press releases, he spent the summer touring with fellow ’90s castoffs Sugar Ray and Lit. Not sure which is worse.


SEE IT: The Oregon Music Hall of Fame induction and concert, featuring Everclear and the U-Krew, is at the Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., on Saturday, Oct. 6. 7 pm. $25 advance, $30 day of show, $100 VIP. Under 21 permitted with legal guardian.

 
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