Celebrating 20 Years of DaBelly!  - This article first appeared in our 233rd issue of DaBelly in September, 2019.

Ed Roland of Collective SoulCollective Soul – Getting the Blood Flowing
by Dave Schwartz 

Collective Soul is back on the road with their new record, “Blood.”  First listen will tell you that this is a special record.  A quick look at the charts and you get a clue just how special.  It’s been about 4 years since their last album, “See What You Started by Continuing.”  That is a writing/touring cycle that’s a bit longer than the typical.  And as I watched the show at the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, I could tell just how much their fans had missed them. 

A couple of days after the Comerica show, bassist Will Turpin called in to DaBelly from Costa Mesa, CA to discuss “Blood,” the new tour and the fun they are having on stage each night.  This is how the interview went…

DB:  Well, let’s get going on the interview.  First of all, congratulations on your new record, “Blood.”  This is a really good record and you played much it a couple nights ago at the Comerica Theatre in Phoenix.  I’m eager to hear how the album came together.

WT:  “Blood” is in reference to [family], now you’re also dealing with, especially me, Dean (Roland) and Ed (Roland).  I’ve known Dean and Ed a lifetime.  We grew up in a small town.  One of my first choir teachers was their father at the local church.  My father owned a recording studio.  Even my grandparents and the Roland brothers’ grandparents knew each other.  So, “Blood” is a reference to legacy, the people who were before you, the people that are after you and your friends and brothers while you’re still here.  So, it’s kind of a perspective thing as far as being a band and knowing each other that long.  The lyrical content, Ed got it and I feel this is one of his best.  All of the lyrical content has to do with stuff that is relative to Ed.  It’s about something we either saw or witnessed or happened to one of us or somebody close to us.  So, the overall theme is brotherhood and legacy.  So when we get together and record, that’s creating and it’s still one of the main things that get’s our hearts pumping and blood flowing.  I still get those goosebumps when I know something is right.  We’re proud of it.

DB:  You mentioned the legacy of the band itself.  It is spectacular to know that you’re celebrating 25 years together.  Congratulations.  Did you ever suspect that 25 years would go by this quickly?

WT:  No, no.  Perspective is always so singular, right?  It’s always independent of whatever else you’re speaking about or referencing.  No, the 22-year-old who signed to Atlantic Records never thought about 25 years.  We kept focusing on what was right in front of us, the next record, tour, let’s do another record, tour, let’s do another record…  And obviously we wanted to become a legacy band and be around this long.  But it’s nothing we really thought about or tried to plan for.  It was obviously about what’s the next record, what’s the next song and the next music.  So no, the youngsters really didn’t think about that and like you said, 25 years flying by this quickly – hell no!  I have a 21-year-old son and I still feel like, other than I’m a more mature and responsible person, I still live this lifestyle!  I still like doing the same things.  It’s been an amazing ride and we still enjoy each other’s company and we still really do have fun. 

DB:  It does show through on stage.  Several times you’ve mentioned the bands focus on the music.  You played a large quantity of the new record on stage the other night.  That, of course, is spectacular.  As you’re aware, there are a lot of bands with your tenure that would salt and pepper a few new songs into the set list and live primarily on the robust legacy of their music.  Playing as much new material as you do. acknowledges the strength of the new songs.  Collective Soul continues to bring it fresh and that is remarkable.

Will Turpin of Collective SoulWT:  Yeah, and as far as our set list goes, it’s a great problem to have to say – ‘How can we create the flow to this set.’  That’s really the most important thing.  To get everybody’s energy level and emotions on the same page and getting the flow and the sequence of the songs proper.  Like I said, it’s a great problem to have.  And also, we’re not going to be that band that’s going to play all the new songs and leave out the hits our fans want to hear.  The bottom line is, the fans have allowed Collective Soul music to become part of the fabric of their lives.  It’s part of the soundtrack to their memories.  So, as eager we are and as fun as it is to play the new songs, we try to get the hits in there and make sure the flow is right.  We are not the band that is too cool to play the songs that you remember.  I mean, again, how can you take this lightly?  How can we take it lightly that the fans have allowed the music to become so emotionally connected to them?  So, we take it seriously.  We take it all seriously.  We’re not going to leave off the hit, but we are going to give you some new energy in the shape of the new songs too.  So, like I said, it’s a good problem.  It’s a good thing to have to work through and figure out.  Playing the new songs is kind of cool but the fans really know our music.  It gives us a fresh moment to be able to play the new songs.  To be honest, I kind of get offended when I see a band who are too cool to play the songs that all their fans love.  To me, it’s a slap I the face of the people who love your music. 

DB:  Yes, and I completely understand that the band has played the songs more than once or twice.  It can get old playing all the same songs over each night.  Yet, there is an obligation.  But you’re absolutely right.  Some of the fans are at your show strictly because of the hits and you, the band, is hoping that they will discover the new music along the way. 

So, the new record, “Blood,” has been out for just about a month now and the album really took a strong step into the charts.  Are you happy with the reception of this record?

WT:  Yeah, absolutely.  You know we always used to chase charts.  We used to really focus on that and now, career-wise, I listen to the people who matter.  I listen to the fans and I listen to people like you when I’m talking to you.  I can tell that everybody thinks this is one of those records that stands out.  And I think it should stand out amongst the studio records.  We hit a special high on this one.  Like I said, we don’t fret over the charts too much.  We’re always looking for a good spot for our music.  We’ve been known to find our way into movies over the years.  So, if something like that happens, it would be fricken awesome!  We put our hearts and our emotions into the songs and we know they’re right.  The rest isn’t in our hands. 

DB:  I agree.  The new single, “Right As Rain,” is a classic Collective Soul song.  While doing the research for this interview, I read that Ed commented that the song had a little bit of a Southern feel that you had avoided in the past.  It sounds like you’ve embraced that Southern feel completely and as a result, “Right As Rain” is a classic Collective Soul song.

WT:  Yeah.  Nobody else really sounds like Collective Soul.  This one is just a good, straight up the middle, good feeling song.  It’s got a little bit of a southern sing to the hook – you know, “Right As Rain.”  Obviously, they don’t say that by you in Arizona where there is no rain!  (Laughs) And as far as the Southern musical vibe, we were thinking about the Tom Petty acoustic sound while we were recording.  So, we were leaning on some of what Tom had done.  His death hit us all really hard.  He was definitely one of our favorites.  So, there is definitely a tip of the hat to Tom’s acoustic sound. 

DB:  You had a couple of guests on this record.  Peter Stroud (Sheryl Crow’s lead guitarist and musical director) played on “Right As Rain” and the song “Porch Swing” features background vocals and some tasteful dobro licks from Styx guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw.  Tommy was a surprise to me.  He is a name that I wouldn’t have immediately connected to Collective Soul.

Dean Roland of Collective SoulWT:  A common question to us is – “After 25 years, what’s your favorite thing about this?”  Or, “What’s the most rewarding thing about this?”  Obviously being financially successful is important but the most rewarding thing is being able to call people like Tommy Shaw your friend.  Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, all those people know us and respect us and they are friends.  Ed recorded a vocal for Tommy’s solo record maybe about 15 years ago.  So the relationship with them goes back pretty far.  We saw Tommy play the other night.  We played with him at Sturgis.  He is just one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time.  There’s just no other way to say it. 

DB:  Agreed.  I completely agree with you.  It’s nice to have those friends on your list when you want to find someone to collaborate with in the studio.  It gives you that bridge to change up your sound ever so slightly if you choose to. 

So you’re calling this tour the “Now’s The Time Tour.”  You’re out with the Gin Blossoms and The Black Moods.  Is there a deeper meaning to the title beyond it’s the opening track on “Blood?”

WT:  It really just makes sense to call it, “Now’s The Time.”  That song is more of a sign of the times, a little bit of a political statement. 

DB:  Ahhh, interesting.  I didn’t catch that.

WT:  Yeah, listen to it again.  It’s a political, social statement.  Let’s say that. 

DB:  With the new record out I suspect that you’re going to be doing a great deal of touring.  Talk a little bit about your future tour plans.

WT:  Yeah, well it’s a two-part process.  Part of why we love this so much is the creative process.  But the other part is that we absolutely love being on these stages.  You look out there and see the people and how much joy these songs bring them.  I say it over and over again, we’re having a blast out there.  We’re real loose.  We take the music seriously as far as the performances but we’re real loose and having fun.  The give and take we experience – giving them our energy and getting back their good vibes and emotions – that’s the other part of what we do.  Playing live gets our blood flowing. 

I want to thank Will Turpin for calling in and sharing a moment of his busy schedule.  Make sure to follow Collective Soul on the socials. 

No. Title Length
1. "Now's The Time" 2:57
2. "Over Me" 3:16
3. "Crushed" 2:51
4. "Right As Rain" 3:30
5. "Them Blues" 3:55
6. "Good Place To Start" 3:25
7. "Observation Of Thoughts" 4:04
8. "Changed" 3:21
9. "Big Sky" 2:56
10. "Porch Swing" 4:08

Collective Soul - Blood 

Collective Soul is:

Ed Roland – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards (1992–present)
Dean Roland – rhythm and lead guitar (1992–present)
Will Turpin – bass guitar, backing vocals (1992–present)
Johnny Rabb – drums, percussion (2012–present)
Jesse Triplett – lead guitar, backing vocals (2014–present)

For More Collective Soul

https://www.facebook.com/collectivesoul https://instagram.com/collectivesoul

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