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Collective Soul - Meet Collective Soul's frontman, Ed Roland

2008-11-29 11:44
We spoke to frontman Ed Roland about the past, their present and their plans.

Click here to win their album, Youth


Jean Barker for MWEB: Describe a typical day in the life. Failing that, describe yesterday.

Ed Roland: Yesterday was a day off. That's not a typical day. [laughs] We played in New York the night before. Usually we wake up, we do interviews in the morning like yesterday I got up at 7.30 to do TV and we do interviews 'til around 11. Then we go to soundcheck around four, and then do a meet and greet at 4.30, and after that we get to go relax 'til 8, and get ready for your show at 9... 9.30. (Collective Soul is currently on tour in the USA).

MWEB: Your father was a Southern Baptist preacher and a voice major in college. So did you learn to sing by singing hymns?

ER: Yeah, that's how we grew up. Singing good old Gospel hymns.

MWEB: And now? Is the Baptist faith part of your life now? Do you subscribe to the whole pro-life, pro Bush thing? Or is it different to how people perceive it?

ER: That's how we were raised. I'm a very spiritual man but it's hard to say what you are because people perceive Christians one way, they perceive Jewish people one way, they perceive Moslems one way... [He sounds like he's answered this question many times before] ... So to me, I'll say I'm a spiritual man. I love all God's children.

MWEB: I see you don't like the "Christian band" tag. It's pretty reductive, I guess, a bit like System of a Down being branded a "political" band. What's other annoying perceptions do people tend to have of you? That make you feel constrained?

ER: Oh, nothing's annoying to me. People can have their perceptions. But when you ask, I'll give you where we're coming from. You know, for me, there's nothing wrong with being spiritual. So seriously, anybody can ask me anything.

MWEB: You've been gone for four years, getting divorced, getting a new perspective. Do you still feel famous or are you having to make back some territory?

ER: I think you have to do that every time. I don't care who you are. I think it's all irrelevant, from us to U2. When you come out, you have to earn the people's trust again. You can't just come out making crap. And we're not afraid to go out there and play. And we're very proud of what we've done. We're very proud of Youth. When we create something we create it for ourselves. We don't want someone to purchase or like our music because of a brand name. We want them to truly like it, because they like the songs. It's that simple.

MWEB: For sure. Is a lot of the album about what you've been through in the past four years?

To be honest, no. It's all about positive, looking forward. There's a couple of songs I wrote for my son on there. There's no looking back on anything. It's about looking forward, being honest, band being thankful for what we've had in our past.

MWEB: Rumour is you're newly calibrated. You're happy as Christmas. Is the world done shaking you down?

ER: Oh yeah, without a doubt.

MWEB: What's the oddest question anyone's asked you lately? And what did you answer?

I don't know if they're "weird". I mean, people are just inquisitive about the lyrics, what they mean, and things like that. Is it about religion, is it about sex? And it's always like... to me... I guess because it's so simple cause I wrote it, it's like "It's about whatever you want!" So I don't know if there's one that stands out. For the most, everybody's pretty cool.

MWEB: Would you consider posing naked for Playgirl? If yes, what would you charge, and what would you like to have in the picture with you. If not, how much would you pay me not to sell them a picture I had of you naked?

ER: You know what? I'm not about that. I'd rather go write a tune. I'm not into the gimmick thing. I don't want them to care about what I wear. I don't want them to care about who I'm dating. I truly don't. The band is a music machine. I want them to care about the songs we write.

MWEB: And your plans for after this album?

ER: Right now we're touring, and recording. We just recorded a live DVD with the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra for release end of the year... we did about 20 songs, and we're very excited about that.

MWEB: Any plans to come this side - to South Africa?

Yeah, we're looking at the end of next year. They're trying to coordinate that as we speak.

- Jean Barker

Formed in 1994, Collective Soul has had 19 singles in the Billboard charts in just seven years. They've sold over 10 million albums. You'll probably remember some of their many hits, like "Gel", "Shine", "The World I Know", "Blame", "December", and "Precious Declaration". Youth is Collective Soul's first album since they went independent. The will be released and marketed locally through Gallo.
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