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Revenge of the '90s: Sugar Ray, Better Than Ezra, Tonic & Everclear Resurface

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Mark McGrath

Holy flashback! While much of the world has been focusing on the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' arrival in America, four noted '90s rock acts have resurfaced with major announcements in recent days. Actually, they've never really went away, they've just been off the mainstream radar.

First (and the most bizarre), Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath has been cast in "Sharknado 2: The Second One" alongside returning stars Ian Ziering and Tara Reid. Other newcomers making cameos in the Syfy made-for-TV schlock-fest: Kelly Osbourne, Judd Hirsch, Andy Dick, and Judah Friedlander. It's expected to debut in July.

When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. The singer of a band best known for the '90s hit "Fly" in a movie about flying sharks. McGrath also will serve as the host of "Killer Karaoke," an "American Idol"-meets-"Fear Factor" competition, which bows on TruTV Feb. 20.

While he can't top McGarth's big news, Everclear frontman Art Alexakis has been named as the new Songwriting Program Chair of the recently renamed Los Angeles College of Music, formerly known as the Los Angeles Music Academy.

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Alexakis knows a thing or two about songwriting, having penned such '90s rock hits as "Santa Monica (Watch the World Die)," "Everything to Everyone," "I Will Buy You a New Life," and "Father of Mine." Despite the new gig, Alexakis hasn't given up on Everclear. The current version of the band, now a quintet, has dates booked on March 1 at the Bud Light Stage 7th and Geyer in St. Louis and March 15 at the Liquid Sol Music Festival at the Sportsman's Park in Glendale, Arizona.

Also on the bill on the March 15 show is Tonic, best known for the 1997 monster hit "If You Could Only See." The trio's frontman, Emerson Hart, just announced he's releasing his second solo album, "Beauty in Disrepair," on April 15. In 2007, Hart landed the single "If You're Gonna Leave," from his solo debut, "Cigarettes and Gasoline," on Billboard's Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks chart.

His new album sounds like it's a bittersweet effort. Hart recently explained in a statement that the set is partially inspired by the disappearance and murder of his father, which occurred more than 30 years ago. "Early in my life I learned to appreciate the beauty in things as they grew older. Houses, furniture, churches, whatever," he said. "I think it started after my dad was killed: I lived with my grandfather on his farm, this 19th-century mansion. Everything in it was constantly broken, but there was such a beauty to it as well."

Another '90s act coming back with some new music is Better Than Ezra. Two decades ago, the New Orelans trio scored big with such tracks as "In the Blood," "Good," and "King of New Orleans." The band plans to release a new album, its eighth, this summer, thanks to a new deal with The End Records. Although specific details about the album have yet to be released, we do know that it's produced by Grammy-nominated producer/mixer Tony Hoffer, who is known for his work with Beck and Fitz and the Tantrums.

Singer-guitarist Kevin Griffin said in a statement that he's thrilled to team up with The End, which also recently released titles by Cardigans' frontwoman Nina Persson and the Dandy Warhols. "With this upcoming album, it was really about exploring and reinventing a band that has been together for 25 years while staying true to who we are as artists," Griffin added.

The band plans to support the album with a tour, so if you're a Better Than Ezra fan, it's going to be a "Good" spring.

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