Vertical Horizon's songwriter/frontman Matt Scannell thinks of the Under the Sun tour as a family reunion of pop bands that largely defined the 1990s and early 2000s.

"These are definitely our friends and it's almost like having a family reunion," he said of sharing the stage with Smashmouth, Fastball, Gin Blossoms and Sugar Ray in the tour that pulls into Casino del Sol's AVA tonight. "It's been a long time since we've seen so many of these guys all together, probably ever."

We caught up with Scannell, 43, last week during a break from filming the video for the band's new single, "Broken Over You." It's the first cut off the band's forthcoming album "Echoes From the Underground," due out in September. There's already a lyrics video for the song on YouTube.

That's an evolution for the alternative rock/pop band that got together in Washington, D.C., when Scannell and fellow cofounder Keith Kane were attending Georgetown University in 1992. Kane left the band to pursue a solo career in 2010.

"You've got to put it up on YouTube and you've got to give them the lyrics, which is honestly kinda cool," he said.

Scannell also talked about the tour, Vertical Horizon's longevity and its future.

An evening of hit songs plus some: "These are a lot of hip songs from the late '90s, early 2000s, and that is a nostalgic thing for some and a new thing for others. And that's part of the fun of this, is just to see people bring their families out. ... I'm amazed when we look out at the audience every night and see most of the people singing most of the words to most of the songs. These are very well-known songs, and that's just fun."

We can't believe we're still in the game: "I remember we printed up 1,000 CDs (of self-released debut 'There and Back Again'), and we thought we would have them to give to our grandchildren. You could never have expected this and we've been very, very lucky."

Keeping it fresh: "Art needs to be vibrant and alive and sort of continually fused with drive and passion. ... I love creating. We will continue making records as long as people will buy them or steal them."

Taking chances on "Echoes": "I've listened to some of the electronic music that's out now and the DJs. ... I hear these new sounds and these new styles and I think is there anything that can rub off on us?"

New sounds, pure intentions: "This record was really made with the purest intentions. It was me writing songs that inspired me and trying to get ahold of a new sound I was hearing in my head then bringing it to the guys and saying, 'Can we wrap our heads around this?' I think we did a good job. I'm really proud of this new music."

If you go

• What: Under the Sun tour with Sugar Ray, Smashmouth, Gin Blossoms, Fastball and Vertical Horizon.

• When: 7 p.m. today.

• Where: Casino del Sol's AVA, 5655 W. Valencia Road.

• Tickets: $25 to $75 at

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642.