MILAN, Italy -- The Los Angeles trio Eve 6 may look like
slightly overripe high schoolers, with their jeans, T-shirts, tattoos.
They are, after all, teenagers.
But their experiences in the music industry seem to have made them
wise beyond their years.
Despite their mere half-decade in the business -- starting when they
were adolescents -- and a eponymous debut album that already has sold
more than a million copies, the trio have seen how fragile a career can
be. It's no wonder they are so concerned with keeping their eyes on the
future, planning for a lengthy career in a field marked by one-hit
wonders and flashes-in-the-pan.
"In America, in the last few years it's been sad because the attention
is focused more on the songs than on the artists," bassist/vocalist Max
Collins, 19, explained.
"That is why you see so many new bands sell a lot of records and then
disappear in a few years," he said. "Before, there were more artists
with a lot of fans staying with them for their whole career and growing
with them. So what we're trying to do is develop a fanbase, people that
are gonna stay with us and not with one song or one record."
Thus far, their 1998 debut album, Eve 6, has garnered airplay
via the singles "Inside Out"
(RealAudio excerpt) and "Leech," along the way earning the band
comparisons with early Elvis Costello, the Pixies and the Replacements.
The likenesses were fully on display at a recent show at Milan's
Rolling Stone disco, where Eve 6 played to the curiosity of assembled
fans by showcasing tracks from their album.
"I actually saw one of their videos on MTV and I read in a paper that
they would play for free, so I came to see what they were like,"
explained club-goer Dorina Gelmi, 29.
What they were like changed depending upon the song. While their set
opener, "How Much Longer," was a pop-punk, Green Day sound-alike, other
pieces, like "Jesus Nitelite" (RealAudio excerpt),
had a mature, modern-rock veneer.
At least one fan seemed to like what she heard. "They play rock but
still inspire tenderness," Gelmi said at the end of the show.
Eve 6 came together in 1993 when Collins and guitarist Jon Siebels, 18,
met in high school and began playing in clubs in the L.A. area. At the
time, they found inspiration in such pop-punk
groups as Screeching Weasel and Bad Religion, Collins explained.
But during the recording of the album, their sound started evolving.
"We began to put more emphasis on the lyrics and melodies, like the
Pixies, Elvis Costello and Elliott Smith. We rediscovered Tom Petty,"
"We recorded some songs for a radio show called 'Radio Asylum' and we
got signed shortly after that, with the understanding that we would
not be recording until we graduated from high school," he said. "They
gave us some money to get some studio experience and stuff like that."
Drummer Tony Fagenson, 19, joined the band two years ago, about six
months before the group began recording its debut.
As Fagenson explained it, the band took its name from an episode of
"The X Files." "We used to watch it when we got home from the studios,"
he said. "There was this episode called 'Eve,' in which the government
makes clones of human beings, eight 'Eves' and eight 'Adams.' And Eve
number 6 was this crazy woman in a mental hospital, a strange character"
Eve 6's relative youth has provided cause for concern -- but not
because of the ages of the members.
"The audience in Germany, where we just played, was incredibly
demanding," Siebels said. "If you didn't play for at least 70 to 75
minutes, they got mad. We only have one album, and it's under 40
minutes. Our show lasts about an hour -- depending on how long we stay
backstage before the encore."