Craig Seymour
August 16, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Metallica they ain’t. L.A. based alt rockers Eve 6, whose single ”Promise” hits No. 3 on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart this week, say they don’t mind if Net savvy fans swipe their songs off of Napster. ”I’m totally fine with kids f—ing getting our whole record,” says Max Collins, the band’s carrot topped lead vocalist and bassist. ”If someone is willing to download an entire album, then they’re interested in the band. They’re at the shows. And they’re probably going to buy a T-shirt. They’re supporting us.”

The charts prove him right. While many fans downloaded the band’s second album ”Horrorscope” prior to its July 25 release date (There were ”kids at our shows singing all of the words to the new songs and the record wasn’t even out,” says Collins), the set still placed at No. 34 in its first week on Billboard’s album chart. ”That’s a very respectable debut for a sophomore alternative record,” says Bob Bell, buyer for the Wherehouse Music chain. ”It’s a healthy number.”

To prove that point, consider the fate of the other bands that shared the radio waves with Eve 6 when their smash ”Inside Out” hit in ’98. Remember Marcy Playground? What about Harvey Danger? Fastball, anyone? ”We’re the only band from that time period to have a song from a second record on the charts,” says Collins. Explains Steve Robison, assistant program director of the BUZZ (KTBZ-FM) in Houston: ”In modern rock, a lot of bands are put by the wayside. But Eve 6 have definitely found their niche. They write really good, hooky songs. ”

That tuneful sensibility may be what separates the trio (which includes Tony Fagenson on drums and Jon Siebels on guitar) from the rabble rousing rap metalheads who currently rule the alt rock roost. ”For me, rock music needs a melody and lyric that’s interesting enough to keep you listening for three and half minutes,” says Collins, adding that he has a ”built in metal meter” to keep their sound from getting too heavy. And don’t expect Eve 6 to add a Limp Bizkit like DJ to their ranks either. ”That would be pretty pathetic,” says Collins. ”I’d feel like a fool.”

For now, the group plans to stick with the same poppy postpunk sound that led their record label RCA to snap them up while they were still in high school. (The band members now range in age from 20 to 22; they got their numerical name from a celebrated first season episode of ”X-Files.”) Collins started writing their current hit ”Promise” back in those angst filled salad days after the band was signed but before they had released their self titled debut. ”It was New Years Eve three years ago,” explains Collins. ”I had come an ass-hair away from flunking out of high school and I was just like, ‘F—, I hope this [music career] is going to work out, because I don’t really have many options.”’

Fittingly, the song’s lyrics, which some critics have called, well, sophomoric, make reference to pursuing ”dreams,” rolling ”the dice,” and running away ”if things don’t go as planned.” But music scribes be damned, it’s scoring with listeners. ”’Promise’ has connected,” says KTBZ-FM’s Robison, who likens the tune to the group’s breakout hit ”Inside Out.” ”[That] was a record that would not go away. And ‘Promise’ could easily fall in the same category.”

Whether this radio success translates into long term record sales is iffy. (Already ”Horrorscope” has slipped to No. 43 in its second week.) ”It’s pretty nerve wracking, because the second record for most bands these days hasn’t been too bitchin’,” says Collins. ”But we’re optimistic.” And retailer Bell thinks the boys have little reason to fret: ”This record is deep in terms of musical content, and it’s a very high priority for RCA. I know it’s going to be around for awhile.” Sounds promising.

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