Following the release of their ninth full-length album, 2015’s See What You Started by Counting, Collective Soul made the conscious decision to record more than 160 of their shows over the course of the next two years. The result is the band’s new album, the aptly titled, Collective Soul: Live.
Collective Soul rose to fame in 1993 with Hints, Allegations and Things Left Unsaid, a collection of frontman Ed Roland’s demos bolstered by the monster hit, “Shine.” Since then, the multi-platinum band have amassed an arsenal of #1 hits and album sales, while simultaneously helping to define rock with their guitar-driven attitude.
Guitar World recently spoke with Roland and the band’s guitarist, Jesse Triplett, about Collective Soul’s new live album, music, gear and more in this exclusive new interview.
What made the band decide to record a live album?
Ed Roland: Jesse joined the band about five years ago and our drummer, Johnny Rabb, joined right before that. After 24 years, I feel this is without a doubt the best line-up we’ve ever had and I’ve always said that once we caught the groove, we needed to get it down. So when we started to tour after our last album, [See What You Started by Continuing], we recorded every show.
How did you determine which live versions to include?
Roland: Of course, every night you want to do the best that you can, but some nights were better than others. Afterwards, we all came back and whittled it down to our producer/engineer/mixer, Shawn Grove. We gave him the weeks we thought were good and let him pick and choose. The only thing we made clear was that we wanted no overdubs. We just wanted what it was that night.
Jesse Triplett: Shawn came out and saw us at a few different spots during the tour. I remember during the first part he’d say to us, “You guys sound good” and by the end was like, “You guys are on fire!” There were so many shows that I sometimes forgot we were recording for a live album.
Is there any set of extra nerves knowing that you’re recording a live show and there’s no going back?
Roland: Jesse and I both like to move around on stage, so when we first started talking about recording we were concerned about how far we should take the showmanship and how much we should reel it back and make sure we we’re playing correctly. Jesse mentioned about forgetting that we were being recorded and I think that really helped with the mindset of doing the show without thinking.
Triplett: If you start thinking about it, it gets weird. It’s better to just get out there and play instead of trying to be technically sound.
Roland: Being a front man, you also have to play with a crowd and know how to entertain and bring them in and take them out. I never wanted to be withdrawn from that by having to think about singing something perfectly. It was more about letting it flow, catching the groove and forgetting about it.
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