Talking inside collective soul with dean roland
Collective Soul was panned in ’94 as a one hit wonder, Pearl Jam wannabe, and just another grunge band to jump on the huge bandwagon. Now with the ashes of grunge spread thinly in our minds and stomped down by a pop music onslaught, the band who was said to have died before they had a chance to get started is still here making a lot of noise. Blender marks Collective Soul’s fifth release in six years. Pretty impressive in an era where on the average it takes a rock group three years or more to turn out a new album. Collective Soul took a new approach to recording this time around which involved a cover song, guests, and more. Find out what vocalist/guitarist Dean Roland had to say about all of this.
What makes Collective Soul so different that you can get five albums out in six years?
Were all pretty ambitious guys and it just kind of happens. Sometimes you just step back and are like, Wow. Its something that none of our peers have been able to do, especially in the 90s.
Did you come right off the last tour and then start recording again?
We took a little time off. We didnt start recording until February and we got off the road in November.
Do you spend a lot of time in the studio?
This album was actually sort of quick for us. It took over the span of three months, but we were in the studio less than that.
Do you try to change up the recording process so it doesnt get boring?
Yeah, we like to change it up. This one was different in that it was recorded in our rehearsal place. We brought the studio equipment into the rehearsal place and it was this big open room. It was real laid back. We had an open door policy where friends could come in. We had some couches in there so it was comfy, and honestly I had a lot of fun recording Blender.
Friends being artist friends too, right?
Because I noticed you had Marvelous 3 come in.
Yeah. Weve toured with them. We are from the same town. We became buddies with them and fans too.
How did the Elton John thing happen?
Hes been a big supporter of the band. We became friends with him over the last few years and finally we got the nerve to ask him if he wanted to do a song with us. He said yeah and it was just an absolutely amazing experience to have him there. It was like a reward for us.
Now Ive been a fan since the first album. Every time I talk to someone about you guys, it seems they remember the slow songs, but the best thing about Collective Soul is the pure rock you guys make. What do you think about ballads outweighing the rock tracks?
Well, there are different elements to our band. I think this cd more than the others, pop has taken over the airwaves, but we are rocking harder than we ever did in the past.
Is the songwriting done by committee?
They come in different ways. Ed is the main creative force in the band. A lot of times hell come in with a song arranged in his head and other times the songs come from drum or bass grooves.
I saw you last year in Pennsylvania and I couldnt believe how great of a rock show it was. It seemed like you guys were having fun too. Is it still fun?
Yeah. Its a lot of fun. Fortunately, we can tour in a little luxury now and be comfortable. It was a lot harder when we first started out. Its always fun to get out there and play for the people, and especially when we can get reactions to the new stuff.
How long before the first album had the band been together?
The first album was basically a bunch of demos, so it was really a demo to get us signed. We used that to make a studio album.
Did it take long after that demo to get signed?
We had been plugging away at it for a while. All the songs on Hints Allegations & Things Left Unsaid were a couple of years old. There was a lot of rejections and frustrations.
So there was none of what people said, that you came from nowhere to ride the alternative wave.
No. Not at all.
I think its funny when a bands song takes off and people think you’ve been together for a few weeks.
Yeah, I know. We actually grew up and went to high school together.
Was there ever the thing where you or your brother early on were like, I dont want to hang with him?
No. Ed and Shane (Evans, drums) started the band in 89, and Ross (Childress, lead guitar) joined about a year later. Then I joined and Will (Turpin, bass) joined. Then over a span of like three years it all came together.
What do you do with your down time?
Wow. Um, actually I dont know. Honestly, it usually has something to do with the band. (laughs)
Is it a little bit of sweet justice that everyone said you were one hit wonders and here you are six albums later still going strong?
Yes. We wont go away.
+ charlie craine