Sugar Ray's loss is Filter's gain on Summerland Tour

2013-07-25T15:45:00Z 2013-07-25T15:55:32Z Sugar Ray's loss is Filter's gain on Summerland TourBy Kevin C. Johnson 314-340-8191

The first edition of the Summerland Tour rolled out last year with Everclear, Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, the Gin Blossoms and Vertical Horizon.

But for its second year, co-founders Art Alexakis of Everclear and Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray went their separate ways as McGrath left the tour. This year’s installment, Summerland Tour: Alternative Guitars, features Everclear, Live, Filter and Sponge.

Filter frontman Richard Patrick says, “I guess Mark McGrath wasn’t necessarily in the rock vibe.”

But that loss was a gain for Filter. Alexakis personally asked the Cleveland band to join the tour this year.

“(Alexakis) has been my friend for a long time. He’s a great guy. It was one of those things where he remembered we were on some successful tours in the ’90s and said, ‘Let’s do some more,’ ” says Patrick, whose band is known for the hits “Take a Picture” and “Hey Man, Nice Shot.”

Patrick quickly said yes to the offer, though he wasn’t too familiar with last year’s tour. Still, “I always wanted to meet Live, and they’ve turned out to be awesome, as well as Sponge.”

Last summer Filter was busy trying to wrap up work on its new album, “The Sun Comes Out Tonight,” not to mention touring on its own.

With “The Sun Comes Out Tonight” out now, the timing for the Summerland Tour could not be more perfect.

“It turned out to be a great thing, especially since a lot of people are coming to see us,” Patrick says.

The return of Filter is highlighted not only by the tour, but by the success of the single “What Do You Say,” a top 15 hit on rock radio.

On “The Sun Comes Out Tonight,” Patrick says the goal was to release the best and most honest music possible, while conquering radio in the process.

“We’ve got a bunch of radio-friendly songs on there, and a song called ‘Surprise’ that’s an alternative ballad thing that kind of sounds like U2,” he says.

“I grew up on radio, and my favorite bands were all on the radio. If you had a radio hit, you made a huge impact. But rock radio is crazy now. We need big huge hits to bring rock radio back.”

The band used synthesizers for the first time on “The Sun Comes Out Tonight,” taking the band back to its more industrial roots, without getting carried away.

The new album introduces Chicago artist Jonny Radtke, who is new to the band. He’s on board as guitarist and co-writer.

“He is a guitar genius and can do anything on the guitar,” Patrick says. “We come from the same world of style and influences. And he’s a huge fan of Filter and Nine Inch Nails. And his writing was right around the same world as mine.”

Filter will continue pushing “The Sun Comes Out Tonight” on the Stone Temple Pilots tour later this summer featuring singer Chester Bennington of Linkin Park as STP frontman in place of the ousted Scott Weiland.

“I think Chester is a good guy and a great singer, and he’s going to do the songs justice,” Patrick says. “And it’s a good way for (Stone Temple Pilots’ Robert DeLeo) to continue making the music they want to make. Scott, bless his heart, he’s still drinking. He goes into rehab, comes out, drinks, and says, ‘Yeah I’m fine, I’m just drinking.’

“Maybe this will shake him up. We love him. But the wheels are turning, and they should be. Chester is a great singer.”

Patrick knows about addiction firsthand. He has been there himself, abusing drugs earlier in his career. He recalls touring with Nine Inch Nails, getting off tour and watching Trent Reznor buy a new home while he himself had blown most of his money on drugs.

But now, Patrick says, he’s 11 years sober. “I take it one day at a time.”

What Summerland Tour • When 7:30 p.m. Saturday • Where Event Center at River City, 777 River City Casino Boulevard • How much $45-$55 • More info

Kevin C. Johnson is the popular music critic and nightlife reporter at the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at kevincjohnson and add him on Facebook at kevincjohnsonstl.

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