Collective Soul: Still alive and well at 25

By MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

Collective Soul will be celebrating its 25th anniversary next year.

The group has had a good number of studio albums through the years that have spawned hits like “Shine,” “Gel” and “The World I Know.”

But the group also has developed a solid reputation as a live act in those two-decades plus. However, the group, which now is principal songwriter and front man Ed Roland (lead vocals/keyboards/guitars), Dean Roland (rhythm guitarist), Will Turpin (bassist), Johnny Rabb (drummer) and Jesse Triplett (lead guitarist), had released only one live recording in that time. They released “Home” in 2005, which was recorded with the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra in 2005.

However, 13 years later, the group has put another live recording into the hands of fans, “Collective Soul Live.”

Collective Soul comes to the Mohegan Sun Arena on Aug. 16.

In a phone interview on a rare day off for Collective Soul, Will Turpin said the idea for the new album came from the group’s sound man. “We should do more live recordings,” he told the group.

Will said Collective Soul’s live performances add an energy that often can be lacking in the studio recordings.

However, said Will, live set releases were often thwarted by the band’s own sense of perfection. “We get really picky… We over-analyze.”

But they finally acquiesced and began accumulating recordings for a future live album.

Will said they recorded each of their shows and stored the recordings on a hard drive. The band members later sifted through the recordings and made a list of what performances they really liked. The group’s engineer and co-producer also came up with list of suggestions, said Will.

And from those lists, which were culled from a variety of different shows, “Collective Soul Live” was born.

Will said he was especially proud of the new record because nothing on the album was tweaked with overdubs. What you hear on the recording is what fans heard coming the stage, said the bassist.

“Not a lot of bands do that,” said Will. “In Collective Soul, we manufacture the thickness of the songs and the energy (with our own roster of instruments on stage).”

The live album is still fresh for fans. However, Will said Collective Soul is already has begun the process for a new studio set. “We thrive and grow by creating new stuff,” said Will.

However, this next album, he said, will be special.

As noted, Will said Collective Soul will be celebrating its 25th anniversary.

To commemorate that landmark, the group hopes to have 25 songs for the album, creating essentially an old school double album like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd released in their heyday, said Will.

“We’ve already recorded 20 tunes,” said Will. “We’re playing four of them live.”

Additionally, he said, fans got a hint of what is to come when Collective Soul streamed four songs on July 4.

Will said the band hasn’t set a firm release date. However, he said, he expects it will be ready for release next year.

Collective Soul finds itself in the situation of being part of dwindling roster of active rock bands.

“Rock is not as big as it was,” said Will.

“There are not many bands still playing,” said Will. “Dave Matthew, Pearl Jam… Dave Grohl (of the Foo Fighters) is holding the banner for rock groups.”

Collective Soul’s current tour, The Rock and Roll Express, finds the group touring with fellow rockers and co-headliner 3 Doors Down, and Soul Asylum.

Fan response has been great for the tour, said Will.

When the group takes the stage at the Mohegan Sun Arena, Will said the band will, of course, play “Shine.” Beyond that, he said if the song is not a new track, it’s a song that was a hit.

“We know we can’t get away from playing ‘Shine,” said Will of the inclusion of new tracks “We just want to make it fresh for us.”

Collective Soul, 3 Doors Down, and Soul Asylum perform at the Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville on Thursday, Aug. 16 at 8 p.m.

For more information, go to www.MoheganSun.com

Collective Soul is on the road with 3 Doors Down and Soul Asylum. The band steps into Hartford on Aug. 16.

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