After the '90s Ended, Eve 6 Faced a Rough Road

Nothing says '90s nostalgia like a band that made it big during the dot-com boom, releasing two chart-topping albums, only to face constant struggle in the age of Napster and American Idol. When Eve 6 emerged in 1998, the group revealed itself as a smarter Blink-182 and a less self-pitying Everclear — a bit pop-punk with brusque, almost post-grunge vocals dealing with dark subject matter.

The group's debut album went platinum on the strength of the single "Inside Out," but things haven't always been easy for the La Crescenta, California, band.

Eve 6, which took its name from an X-Files character, was signed to RCA Records while still in high school, back when the band was kicking around names like Eleventeen and Yakoo. Lead vocalist Max Collins and guitarist Jon Siebels met in ninth-grade jazz band and soon were joined by drummer Tony Fagenson. Together, they would pen radio hits like "Leech" and "Here's to the Night."

Eve 6's third album, 2003's It's All In Your Head, was seen as more experimental and failed to meet the same massive sales as their previous albums. At the time, RCA was restructuring itself to cater more to American Idol contestants, which also meant dropping Eve 6 from the label's roster. Shortly afterward, the band went on hiatus for three years.

"I feel like we did some growing up in public," says Collins on the band's website. "I needed to stop drinking. In order to do that, the wheels had to come off. I don't think I could have done it if the band was still going."

But when Collins and Fagenson decided to rejoin forces in 2007, Siebels was more invested in his other band, the indie pop outfit Monsters Are Waiting.

"I was in a place where I didn't want to stop playing music. A couple years later, when those guys wanted to reform the band, I was still in the thick of doing this other band that I started. Couldn't really just walk away from it," Siebels says. "And then, as bands do, that one fizzled out at a certain point. We had some conversations and I decided to do Eve 6 again, but it was never really any sort of bad blood or anything like that. It was just a matter of circumstance."

It wasn't long after Siebels rejoined that they wrote and released the band's fourth album, Speak in Code, in 2012. Maybe it's more pop than punk, unlike previous efforts, dealing with much of the same subject matter as before: girlfriends, parties, nighttime. But it definitely proves that Eve 6 never lost its edge.

Speak in Code was released on Fearless Records, home of At the Drive-In, Sugarcult, and The Aquabats. Going from RCA, the second-oldest label in the United States, to an indie must have been an interesting transition, something Siebels says "makes sense" for the band.

"It's different," he says. "It's less people. It's a smaller operation, but because of that you get more of that personal touch as well. I think it was a good move for us."

It seems things are back together for the band and it's sorted out its dirty laundry. So what does the future hold? Siebels says the band is just focusing on touring and each others' various side projects.

"To go in and make another Eve 6 record would take everything basically," Siebels says. "Being that we've all got different things going on, the time is just not right this moment, but definitely I can see it happening at some point in the future."

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Troy Farah is an independent journalist and documentary field producer. He has worked with VICE, Fusion, LA Weekly, Golf Digest, BNN, Tucson Weekly, and Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Troy Farah