Live and Collective Soul play in Houston
What happens to bands that stick to the same formula for twenty years?
If you’re Live, you endure through the ups and downs of the alternative music scene and tour with like minded bands such as Collective Soul.
"We’re a sinking man’s band, and I think that they are too," Ed Kowalczyk, lead singer of Live, said about touring with Collective Soul. "Its totally different styles… we rock, but the lyrics are something you can really sink your teeth into."
Live struck a chord with 1994’s Throwing Copper, which yielded such hits as "Lightning Crashes," "I Alone" and "Selling the Drama." They followed up with 1997’s Secret Samadhi; both albums went to No. 1 on the charts and combined for more than 10 million in total sales.
Since that time, Live has been a pillar of the alternative music scene that emerged from the early to mid-1990s Kowalczyk said, though, that the alternative radio is now a far cry from the airwaves the band once conquered.
"I don’t like to be the guy who talks about the good old days, but it’s kind of hard not to," Kowalczyk said. "The virgin state of alternative radio then was definitely more interesting in the diversity of music that was being played. Radio and TV has shrunk to a small pallete of style. It seems like the same thing over and over."
Live is resilient to succumbing to the pressures of what is most popular at the moment. Kowalczyk said that the band never looks outside of itself in terms of music, and that’s how the band members have been able to keep their stamp on their music.
"We just go to a place that we feel is creative," Kowalczyk said. "I think that’s one of the reasons that Live has maintained a unique stamp lyrically."
Live’s latest release, Songs from Black Mountain, made its way to No. 3 on the Billboard Top Independent charts, but failed to reach audiences on the pop charts. They have also released a compilation titled Radiant Sea: A Collection of Bootleg Rarities and Two New Songs, which is available on tour and at friendsoflive.com.
The band has reached audiences worldwide, and is always concerned with connecting with their fans at every show.
"The show’s grown in depth in a lot of ways" Kowalczyk said. "We have so many albums and we’re much better at performing than when we first started touring. The audience has gotten stronger and it’s a much deeper reaction."
You won’t see Kowalczyk connecting with fans at any of the local hot spots before or after the show, however. "I put so much energy into the show that I really try to concentrate on working out and staying healthy for the shows."
You can catch Live with Collective Soul and Emerson Hart, formerly of Tonic, at the Verizon Wireless Theater on Tuesday. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $42.