Everest scales the heights; melancholic indie rockers opening for Neil Young
Hans Ongsansoy,
Published: Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Everest open for Neil Young on his North American tour. The band's Russell Pollard says their current record, Ghost Notes, is lyrically "a series of letters to people who have passed away or who have moved away or who I've lost contact with for whatever reason."

Why name a band Everest?
Frontman Russell Pollard explains it was a fun nod to the past and a heightened sense of the present that combined to give his L.A. group its moniker. "J. Soda, who plays guitar, and I have a recording space and we named it Everest Recorders," explains Pollard. "It's a Beatles reference. They were going to call Abbey Road Everest. Well, that's the rumour. We also really liked the name, so we kept it for ourselves. In a sense this is our resting place, for all of the guys in the band. This is what we always wanted to do. I think the name fits now. It's, like, the peak of our musical endeavours."

Pollard is no stranger to scaling heights with other bands, having been in several notable lo-fi indie-rock outfits, including Sebadoh and The Folk Implosion. Along with Soda, his Everest band mates include Joel Graves, Elijah Thomson and Davey Latter. And let's suppose that if the group has not yet reached its ultimate summit, then it's at least on its way. It goes like this: back in November, Pollard was demoing a bunch of songs that caught the ear of one Elliot Roberts, who manages none other than Neil Young. Roberts liked what he heard and said he'd put out Everest's record, essentially signing the group to Young's label, Vapor Records.

Earlier this year, Everest got a gig at the Sundance Film Festival, where Young happened to be as well, promoting his film about Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young entitled Deja Vu. Young came to welcome the group to the label and see the fellows play, asking them to open a couple of shows for him in Europe, then eventually inviting them to tour North America with him.
This had the slightly melancholic, at-times-soaring rockers rubbing elbows with fellow tour invitees Wilco and Death Cab for Cutie.

There's also a new record, Ghost Notes. The band performed the standout track "Rebels in the Roses" on Late Night With Conan O'Brien late last spring. "To me lyrically, the record is a series of letters to people who have passed away or who have moved away or who I've lost contact with for whatever reason. (Rebels in the Roses) is particularly a purge of feeling a loss of people in my life and calling out to them," says Pollard. "It's a heavy thing."

Seeing how Pollard's particular expression of angst plays out live will be interesting. However the former drummer turned lead singer/songwriter knows who the main attraction will be -- especially if you were to poll the talent itself. "Watching Neil play every night is like following this shaman through an incredible journey. To get to see him perform every night is about as big as it gets for anyone who I think is going to be on the tour," Pollard said. "Neil is unstoppable. He's putting on a really great show and killing it. I can't really fathom him quitting any time soon."

It's likely you won't see Everest heading back down the mountain any time soon either.

Everest's Canadian tour dates:
16 Oct. Winnipeg (w/ Neil Young & Death Cab For Cutie)
18 Oct. 2008 Regina (w/ Neil Young & Death Cab For Cutie)
19 Oct. Calgary (w/ Neil Young & Death Cab For Cutie)
22 Oct. Vancouver (w/ Neil Young & Death Cab For Cutie)
29 Nov. Halifax (w/ Neil Young & Wilco)
1 Dec. Montreal (w/ Neil Young & Wilco)
2 Dec. Ottawa (w/ Neil Young & Wilco)
4-5 Dec. Toronto (w/ Neil Young & Wilco)