The Verve Pipe was part of the early 1990’s tidal wave of bands that splashed upon rock ’n’ roll radio.
While Seattle with Nirvana and its grungy brethren diverted a nation from soft pop, new wave and Cyndi Lauper, the Michigan band made noise, too.
It’s first two records were well-received, leading to an RCA deal and the 1996 album “Villains,” which included the singles “The Freshmen” and “Photograph.” The follow up, “The Verve Pipe,” was acclaimed as well, with the song “Hero” getting play on modern pop stations.
“Never Let You Down” and “Happiness Is” from 2001’s “Underneath” also were ubiquitous in the air waves.
And then: 13 years of silence.
Let’s reintroduce the Verve Pipe’s Brian Vander Ark.
“I am the last man standing,” he told Tahoe Onstage from his home in Grand Rapids, Mich.
The only remaining founding member, Vander Ark has re-created the band and has finally released the “Underneath” follow up, “Overboard.”
“I can’t let it go,” he said. “I have that need for the bombast and the bass and the drums that Verve Pipe has always been about.”
The song with the most resonance from the new album is “Crash Landing,” co-written with the actor-songwriter Jeff Daniels, who, Vander Ark said, “really made the story and the characters come to life.”
At first the song was about a woman swimming in Lake Superior. “A couple of weeks later,” Vander Ark said, “I thought it would be much more interesting if she were in Lake Superior at the bottom.”
The dark side of Vander Ark, he said, was the contrasting upshot from his recent work with children’s music.
He and original Verve Pipe drummer Donny Brown were asked to write some children’s songs for charity. He said the process was like a songwriting competition. He took note of his children’s “shenanigans” used his own childhood memories for material.
“By the end of this competition we had we had four pretty good kids’ songs,” Vander Ark said. “We thought, ‘Let’s just write six more and we’ll have a kids’ record.”
The album led to live shows.
“People that came to see us in the ’90s all have kids now and they come to see us. I couldn’t have planned it any better. In fact, if I’d have planned it, I probably would have messed it up.”
What he described as “GWAR kids’ shows” have been performed at children’s stages at Lollapalooza and at Austin City Limits.”
Vander Ark mostly plays solo acoustic shows. A documentary was made of his “Lawn Chairs and Living Rooms” appearances.
With the new Verve Pipe album, the rock band has three or four shows a month. That schedule could grow if the “Overboard” goes swimmingly.
“So far it’s been pretty unanimous,” Vander Ark said. “The fans really like it and the critics like it and we’re happy with it. That’s the most important thing.”
The Verve Pipe
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6
Where: Harrah’s Lake Tahoe South Shore Room