Everest is one of those bands that you need to know, even though you probably don’t. Those in the in-crowd, as in, those are music junkies and are familiar with terrific music, have known about the Los Angeles rockers for some time. These guys have such a strong repoire that even the legendary Neil Young has hitched his wagon behind the quartet, even bringing them out on the road before they even registered a blip on the public’s radar.
So why hasn’t Everest broken through? That’s a fantastic question that we addressed in our review of their outstanding new record, Ownerless, which isn’t lost upon the band. Formed in 2007, the band is three albums into their career, yet are doing what few bands are able to: get better with each song they write. It seems like a novel concept, right? But it doesn’t always work out that way. Just ask the millions of bands that have fallen by the wayside.
With its members working in music, albeit in different outfits, for a few years, the band got it’s big break when guitarist Joel Graves played the band’s music for Elliot Roberts, who just so happened to be the aforementioned Young’s manager. After touring with the Godfather of Grunge, the band signed with Warner Bros. Records. This is when things started to go downhill for the group and almost broke them.
After being inked by label exec Tom Whalley, who the band respected and admired and was a strong believer in them, there was a regime change and the band got lost in the proverbial shuffle.
“With every band they don’t know how to develop, they just want to change you,” singer Russell Pollard said about the band’s time at Warner Bros. “They pretty much shot me down when I brought the record into them. It never felt quite right to me, like I was wearing the wrong shoe.”
Even with their nightmarish experience, Pollard said the band took some positives from the experience.
“It gave us a chance to develop our sound a little bit more, and some work on ourselves. Things happen for a reason, but at the time, it felt like one of those decisions that many bands make that destroys them. It’s the same cliché shit that you don’t think it’s going to happen to you and we felt silly.”
Fortunately after being dropped, the band rebounded quickly signed with ATO Records, where there was less pressure on and in the words of Pollard: “they let us do our thing.’ The result was Ownerless, and we can thank this turn of events for allowing for one of the best albums of the year to be released.
But how does a band that hasn’t really caught on, breakthrough? Everest reinvented how to build a fanbase, that’s how. Starting in their hometown, the band performed monthly residencies in select cities, including New York City, Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington DC in the build up to Ownerless’s release and needless to say, the results have been positive. By the last show, there have been many more fans than the first, showing that through word of mouth, radio promotion and good music, people will come to check out a great band.
“Over the course of a month, you make friends,” the singer explains. “People start talking about the band through word of mouth and to an extent, you become local. Usually you leave after one night and don’t have the opportunity to hang and talk to people. But this has helped us grow and I like posting up in a city for a month and getting to know it and making new friends.”
Things happen for a reason, as Pollard alluded to, and in the case of Everest, having suffered through a period that could have destroyed the band, in fact strengthened it and for that, music listeners, like the band, are better off for this.