By Lori Smerilson Carson
Collective Soul is coming to Ohio!
Taking their collection of 25 years’ worth of well-established music along with the Gin Blossoms for their Summer “Now’s The Time To Tour” concert series, Collective Soul will be collecting their fans across the northeast US.
Catching up with Rhythm Guitarist Dean Roland just prior to the tour, he gave insight as to how he and his bandmates Vocalist/Guitarist E Roland, Lead Guitarist/background Vocalist Jesse Triplett, Bassist/background vocalist Will Turpin and Drummer/background vocalist Johnny Rabb, are approaching their show as well as how they became and stayed so successful. This 25th anniversary started with hits like “Breathe” and “Shine” from their 1993 multi-platinum debut LP Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid, “The World I know” and “December” from their self-titled 1995 album, “Heavy” from their 1999 Dosage LP, through their latest release “Right As Rain” from Blood their 10th studio album due to be released June 21st.
No. 4 Magazine: Tell me about the show, the tour. How did this come together with the Gin Blossoms?
Dean Roland: “We’ve been buddies with those guys for years and we come from same time-ish, you know.”
No. 4 Magazine: You’ve played with them over the years too?
Roland: “We’ve known them for years. Yeah, we’ve played shows with them over the years. All these things happen and with timing and then like you know, what were they up to, when they put a record out, where were we at, and it kind of just locked up. We’re big fans of theirs so there’s really not a whole lot of science behind that part. We kind of reach out and say “‘you guys up for it? What do you have going on?” It’s yeah or nay or vice versa. You just go and start putting it together and see what you can make happen.”
No. 4 Magazine: Is that what inspired the name of the tour?
Roland: “Yeah kind of. That’s actually the title of a song off the new record. So, we played off of that.”
No. 4 Magazine: So, tell me about the new record, what inspired it?
Roland: “Oh gosh, I mean It’s so many things. We’re 25 years into this thing. A lot of it’s just our personally experiences in life. Others is having heard different music and challenging ourselves, seeing what do we have left, what feels right. We had a studio, the first time in several years that we actually went away. We’d been recording the past two records at Ed’s studio in Atlanta and this time we packed up everybody and a couple of crew guys and we went to this studio in New Jersey called The Barber Shop and just hibernated there for a few weeks and wrote and recorded a record. We had a blast doing it, because it was secluded from basically the outside world. It was just us. Literally how we used to do it, we just hadn’t done that in quite some time. So, it’s refreshing and that was one of the big parts of really, just the comradery of the band and having fun with one another. It’s being creative and enjoying it.”
No. 4 Magazine: Is that what you felt was a key component to this record? To get away?
Roland: “I think so, you know having the seclusion, no distractions. When we record in Atlanta, we’re from there so there’s fans, there’s family, all types. Not that they’re negative distractions, but there are just other things going on. This was like alright; we’re locking ourselves away for a little while and we’re just gonna see what comes from it.”
No. 4 Magazine: The new album Blood is coming out June 21st and I saw the video for “Right as Rain” What inspired that song?
Roland: “Right as rain,” that saying is like an old southern saying. I remember when I was a kid my grandmother saying that. I think it’s just a hopeful song of I’ve done some things in my life, I need self-correcting kind of thing like we all have. It’s just a promise of a new day type thing.”
No. 4 Magazine: Some of the lyrics sounded almost religious oriented or faithful, having a lot of faith. Sort of a reflection?
Roland: “Yeah something like hopeful, promise of a new day. I mean, it’s not religious, but it’s a spiritual perspective of hopeful and that type of thing.”
No. 4 Magazine: I really like it. It had a bit of hard rock too!
Roland: “A little bit yeah. The guitars”
No. 4 Magazine: You’re part of the songwriting team, right?
Roland: “Yeah. There’s no real one way about it to get to the end result. A lot of times Ed will come in with a clear idea of what he wants from a lyrical perspective and from a production stand point and then we just add our parts. We just create around that. Then sometimes it can be from literally like a drum groove and we just build a song around that particular thing and write musical parts around it. So, it’s really no one absolute way to get the end result. I guess that’s the way it is in a creative process. You have to leave it open to see what’s going to come and see what’s there. Don’t put too many confines on it.”
No. 4 Magazine: Ed is going by E now?
Roland: “Is that what he said?”
No. 4 Magazine: That’s what I was emailed.
Roland: “Hell I don’t know. If that’s what he said, roll with it.”
No. 4 Magazine: Ok.
Roland: “I’ve got my own nicknames for him, so call him what you will.”
No. 4 Magazine: You guys are brothers, right?
Roland: “We are, yeah.”
No. 4 Magazine: How did the band come together?
Roland: “Obviously Ed and I are brothers so we grew up together. Then Will our bass player, we all went to the same high school, and Will’s dad owned a studio in our small town just out of the south side of Atlanta. Ed worked at that studio as an engineer, and so we already knew each other anyway because it’s such a small town, but we were kind of like the musicians in the town. It really just happened like that. Then, it was different configurations of the band early on, and it just kind of settled into what it initially was. Now, it’s Ed, Will and I have been there since the beginning, and Jesse who plays lead guitar and Johnny who plays drums have been there for the past 10 years or so.”
No. 4 Magazine: So, you guys grew up as a musical family? Were you formally trained?
Roland: “Not formally. My father was a preacher. He was the first Minister of music in town. Later became the pastor of a church in town, but music was always a big part of our lives. My dad, he was a vocal major in college. My mom played piano in the church and our dad sang. So, that was a huge component. We played in school bands, high school band type stuff. So, music was definitely embedded into our lives as long as I remember.”
No. 4 Magazine: Who would you say were you’re influences?
Roland: “Obviously it’s different for all of us, but for me I was very influenced by early 80’s music like U2 and INXS, (The) Psychedelic Furs, The Police. A lot of early 80’s stuff, Prince, that type of thing. For Ed it was that, along with Elton John is his main hero. The band in general from a guitar perspective, like AC/DC and (Led) Zeppelin those kind of classic bands with guitar riffs and that kind of thing, played a huge part of us early on and influenced us. The Beatles obviously.”
No. 4 Magazine: What would you say is the secret to you guys staying together and staying so strong the past 25 years? This is your Silver anniversary, congratulations!
Roland: “My mom” (he laughed).
No. 4 Magazine: Oh really?
Roland: “No I’m kidding! With Ed and I it’s like our family, you know. We have our fights and frustrations. That’s just natural with any kind of situation like this, but at the end of the day we enjoy each other and the band. We have fun. And the love of music. our passion for music and knowing how fortunate we are to be able to, I mean, it’s ridiculous. I’m 46 years old and I still get to make music and play music for a living. So, I’m not taking that for granted. Respecting one another, respecting the music and you know working, enjoy and have fun with it.”
No. 4 Magazine: What would you recommend to up and coming bands?
Roland: “I mean as far as the music goes for an up and coming band, make music that you feel authentic about. Be true to yourself. Be influenced, but don’t try to follow in anyone else’s steps. Just do your thing. Be who you are. As far as staying together, I mean those things you know, it’s simple but hard. You’ve got to respect each other’s space. Respect one another’s creative ideas too, but you’ve got to be honest at the same time. There’s a tight rope you’re walking a lot of times. It’s a thin line, but with respect it can be good foundation to make all that happen.”
No. 4 Magazine: How did you guys come up with the band name Collective Soul?
Roland: “Oh, it’s been so long now.” (he laughed)
No. 4 Magazine: I know, it’s an old question!
Roland: “Um, Ed was reading a book. We had several names we were coming up with. I’m trying to think of some of the other ones, but he was reading a book, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. It has nothing to do with the book as far as a philosophical perspective, but it just speaks to mankind of a collection of souls. It just kind of rang the bell ‘oh collective souls.’ We ran with it and it’s kind of taken its own thing through the years.”
No. 4 Magazine: So, has there been anything different with this tour so far?
Roland: “We haven’t started yet.”
No. 4 Magazine: Oh, I thought you all did a few shows in the south.
Roland: “We just did a handful of shows a couple of weeks ago but, not really. We’re just getting cranked up. Yeah, we’re just cooking now. The fun part is we have 10 albums of music to choose from. The new record, we’re playing. We’re going to play a bunch of new songs which is always fun to push new music and just get out there. It’s what we love to do. We get onstage. It’s our playtime. We have fun with it.”
No. 4 Magazine: Is there anything that people will see that they haven’t seen before?
Roland: “I don’t know what shows they been to” (he joked). They’ll definitely hear stuff they haven’t heard before. Like I said, it’s us in our environment, our safe place. Love it. We get up there and do our thing and have fun with it and hopefully it connects with the audience and everybody. That’s really our goal. I hate to say this, but you know, it’s a big thing for people. I know when I go to shows as a fan to see other bands, I want to just go and enjoy myself. Have fun with it. That’s what we try to provide.”
No. 4 Magazine: Who do you like to go see. Who would you say are some of your favorite bands?
Roland: “I haven’t seen a bunch of music lately. I have a newborn.”
No. 4 Magazine: Oh congratulations!
Roland: “Thank you. I have been ‘at home daddy duty.’ The last show I saw, Ed and I actually went to see Elton (John). I guess it’s his farewell tour. We saw him a few months ago in Dallas which was great. We’ve seen him many times over the years. Yeah, I’ve got to get back into the fan game. Haven’t been there in a bit.”
No. 4 Magazine: Would you say that’s another source of inspiration as a musician? Being out there, seeing someone like Elton John.
Roland: “Oh certainly. Going to see live music. When it’s been a while, you just start feeding your musical soul, you have to go do it. But yeah, absolutely. That’s a huge component.”
No. 4 Magazine: Is there anything that you look forward to doing when you’re traveling on the road besides the shows?
Roland: “It depends on the cities we’re in. It can be seeing old friends or a particular city you’re in, your favorite restaurant, that kind of thing. Honestly, I haven’t surveyed. I know kind of where we’re going, but I haven’t looked just yet, but I’ll dig in. You want to get out. You try not to be too held hostage and stay at the venue all day. So, we try to get out and mess around a bit.”
No. 4 Magazine: Was there anything else you want fans to know about what is going on with you guys besides the tour, new album, new video.
Roland: “Yeah, we’ll release a few mores songs off this record throughout the year. We have two records recorded. We’ll probably release another record next year. We’re in a good creative spot, so lots of music coming from us on that end. We’re having fun with that. We’re enjoying the new music side of it. We love getting out and playing it for people. So that’s really it for now.”
No. 4 Magazine: Was there anything else you wanted to add about the show?
Roland: “Just looking forward to it. We’re excited about getting out and playing shows, people hearing the new music and the old ones too. We have fun playing those. We’ve played them a bunch in our life. It’s always fun. Every time’s different.”