February 15, 2008
Thank God there was no music stand this time around… Ed musta got bugged about that.. Damn thing buggered up a whole buncha my shots last tour so I wasn’t exactly saddened by it’s absence. I’m gonna get my bitch outta the way first. Collective Soul is a band that loves it’s fan base for the most part. They’re a bunch of genuinely appreciative dudes who are always taking time out to hang and chat with the fans. This I like. And this I’d put money on as being one of the big reasons after 14+ years these youngsters are still layin’ down the Soul.
So it surprises me not that they let the fans in with cameras and they light the place up real nice to make use of them and they are definitely an image conscious band. No they don’t go to the extreme of wearing the latest trendy, looks good for 15 minutes, gear but they are a good lookin buncha dudes who could go up against any band in a pose off. That being said, I must point out that I have shot the band numerous times, each time I was allowed to bring my “professional” camera into the venue cuz the guys really don’t care if their fans get pics.
So why didn’t I have my pro camera at this show you ask? Why did I shoot the entire show with a cheesy little point and shoot?? (by the way thanks Rob for letting me commandeer your rig or there wouldn’t be ANY shots on the Reviewer this time either!) The answer to that question lies in London, Ontario. The most notorious town for venues run by security guards on a mission. The mission is simple if they choose to accept it. NO FUCKING CAMERAS. Kill any real photographer. Hassle the guy trying to get an autograph, and for God’s sake, do NOT ask the band how they’d like these common issues handled. If they asked the band, I wouldn’t have been told at the door that I couldn’t bring in my baby. So back to the freezing trunk of my car she had to sit til the show was over. That’s big bitch number one for me. Those damn London Nazis.
I also have two more though… small but they gotta be said. One is this: Why, do people go to concerts, get up to the front, leave an empty row right in front of them and then not expect someone to walk up and stand there? I was in the middle of about 10 assholes standing around 4th or 5th row, waiting for the end of time to move up closer so I gingerly pushed my way up to 3rd row. Now normally I’d hold my camera like a football and bash the shit outta whoever is in my way until my 240 pound ass ends up within a row or two from the front of ANY stage but I like Collective Soul a lot, and their fans are a different breed so I wanna treat them with respect as well. They’re not those snot nosed kids wielding knives and a red bandana pretending to be from da hood yo. They’re not the bandwagoneers either. They’re generally good, easy going people who are INTO the band. But that’s also me. I’m pretty mellow, I’m generally a good guy, but I’m also a concert goer and I don’t stand back because you were there before me.
That’s where I draw the line. If I’m a fan or I want pics bad enough, I’m going to the front. You won’t like me cuz I’ll deke you out and get past you, I don’t care who you are. So there I am, after slipping quite nicely past all these people without having to use any force whatsoever, and I’ve got at least a dozen of them looking at me with death in their eyes. One guy started into my ear, “hey, we been waiting here since 7 o’clock”, another girl the size of a sawed off toothpick leans on me and starts trying to push me out of where I was standing. Another one kept leaning right up behind me and coughing in my ear. And these people are in their 40s and the one couple looked to be about 160 years old combined. Acting like fuckin crying little kids!! I turned around and faced about 6 of them at one point and said “you guys don’t fuckin get out much do ya??!! What do ya want me to do roll a red carpet out for ya??” That seemed to get them off my back somewhat. I figured either that or I’d get my ass kicked but hey brotha, it’s all in the name of rock n roll…
I was thinking, if this is the criteria for getting close to the band then screw you guys, I win… A) I was here at 6 o’clock, never mind 7. B) I had a meet n greet with the band and was told by Ed himself that I can shoot the band so I guess that clears a bit of a path to the front of the stage doesn’t it? C) I’ve been a fan since the first time I ever heard them.. D) I’ve only seen them 3 times before this show so I needed to get in there and round up that number.. sheeesh.. people. Gimme a fricken break. Lemme to the front!
So the last bitch I had was how cold it was outside. Yeah. The temperature outside. Colder than a witch’s tit. Could freeze the balls off a brass chicken. It was so cold you had to punch holes through the air just to talk to your buddy… only the strongest could speak to each other…
Jonas opened up the night with some kick ass tunes. I aint gonna say another word about this dude cuz I’m devoting a page to him real soon. I am predicting right now that this guy is gonna be around for a while. I could be completely wrong but that would be a fricken miracle in itself. ; ) I was hanging back a bit, maybe 5th or 6th row, yapping with a couple girls who flew from somewhere in Michigan to see the show. Apparently the one girl was filthy stinking rich so I asked her if she has a fat old guy fettish and that I could fit the bill no problem. Unfortunately she didn’t need a daddy fulla sugar.
After Jonas left the stage, I made my move. As I got up to the front and swatted off the flies, a buddy of mine excused his way through the crowd, all 6’ 6” of him, to say hi. He dropped me a cookie and we shot the shit for a bit waiting for the band to come out. After he left and took his seat upstairs the dude behind me leaned forward and told me “your buddy aint getting back in”, which caused me to erupt with laughter cuz if that dude wanted to, he could flatten anyone in the house.
The boys started off with “New Vibration” from the latest album, Afterwords, another masterpiece if you ask me. Every album they put out seems to get better.. I thought Hints was awesome, then I heard the self titled, Blue album (right up there with the Beatles White album if you ask me… but then I’m kinda psycho) and I lost my mind. Totally dug that album. Precious Declaration, I liked but not as much as Blue but still grabbed me by the nads and made me squeal. Dosage came out and I wasn’t huge on that one but I really got into “Heavy”.. probably cuz it was kinda heavy.. ?? Just a damn fine tune and a mainstay at every show I’ve seen so far…
Then Blender came out. Supposedly it was their worst selling album, again I could be completely wrong, but I’m pretty sure them’s the facts Jack. Well that was the worst selling album that I thought was the best damn album they’d created yet. Right from front to back, Blender kicked. Maybe it was just the timing in my life.. I had just gotten out of the hospital from a pretty major ordeal, I plugged into that album and it totally fuelled and inspired me to wanna LIVE at least long enough to see them play again.
Most of Collective Soul’s music is like that though. There isn’t a boo hoo woe is me tune out of all the niblets they’ve served up. Not one. While Kurt Cobain was singing about killing himself and making millions doing it, Collective Soul was telling us to Shine, Don’t Cry and that Heaven’s Already Here… Such the total opposite message from the, dare I say, highly overrated Nirvana… and Collective Soul was getting ripped off selling millions of copies but pocketing sweet fuck all over it cuz of a shitty deal with management. So I thought Blender would be it. How many killer albums can a band put out?
Then out pops Youth.. looks me in the eye and says “DADDY… take me home!” Right around the same time my son was born I was spinning that album non-stop. Again.. another album that from front to back, was just simply amazing. Youth being as good as it was, I thought there’s absolutely no way it can get better. Youth introduced us to Joel and Ryan even though at the time Ryan was just a hired gun. I told him at the time, I thought no matter whether we see him again or not, he’s doing a damn fine job filling in and I wished him the best of luck. Well if Youth didn’t only set us up for things to come… Afterwords pulled Joel right out of his shell and put the spotlight on him with the tune “I Don’t Need Anymore Friends”.
Ryan got his horn honked by none other than Paul Rodgers and it seems he IS the man on the skins for the long haul now. So if they pump out this great an album with a freshly solidified lineup, I can’t wait to see what they do next when the guys are totally comfy with each other and free to throw around all kinds of testers. The ideas just don’t seem to dry up for these guys. They’re not using a cookie cutter to churn out their tunes at all. Sure Ed writes quite a few mellow tunes and these tunes end up with heavy airplay but he’s ALWAYS done that. And done it well. You don’t hear a Collective Soul album and think “all those tunes sound the same”.. They shake it up. First they kick you in the nads, with some crunch, then they turn to the girls and divvy them up a nice bow wrapped chocolate kiss, then they’re right back kickin ya in the nads again with some amazing Joel solo.
And I’ve said it before.. the crunch is what keeps me coming back. I’m a heavy metaller by default. Always have been since I was a tot. I was always drawn towards the heaviest tunes the radio had to offer… and then some that the radio wouldn’t dare spin to this day. Which brings me to the latest news in the Collective Soul crew. Word around the campfire is that plans are underway to bring us an EP of Collective Soul Crunch. An EP of only heavy stuff. I’m starting to drool with anticipation cuz I KNOW this’ll be good. Sure, we’ve heard Joel kick some ass on a few tunes but now I really wanna hear what this boy can do. I hope they pull out all the stops and just let him go.
So hey.. if you think Collective Soul is a washed up buncha has beens, all I can say is you’re missing the boat man. They put on a great show, delivering more than your money’s worth. Their albums are worth every penny. So think about it. It took all kinds of time and effort to put together as good an album as they possibly can, the least we can do is go spend the lousy $15 to get a copy and perpetuate their existence. Just do it. Shut up and go buy a Collective Soul album today.
Another damn fine show in another damn fine venue. Club Phoenix in London is a great place to party. First off, it's run by guys who know how to treat a customer. I don't know if it was just this particular evening or if it's like any other night, but they had the place lined up for a good time with a lot of treats for the patrons. Early in the night they unveiled a new Lexus which came down from the ceiling suspended by cables. Quite the spectacle. Then my buddy from way back, Chris Chown, fires up his band and treats everyone to some sweet blues guitar oriented songs. He gave away a tonne of cd's adding to the list of freebies and perks we all got just for being there. Over on the other side of the bar, they had a "Candy Shop" set up with a bevy of hot Molson girls feeding candy to anyone willing to partake. The lineup leading to the 2 massage chairs was quite long but my camera and I managed to get bumped to the front of the line for picture purposes... yes, carrying a camera has it's way of opening doors sometimes. Over from the massage chairs were 4 big screen TV's hooked up to PS2 games. I didn't think they'd get touched but surprisingly enough people actually do wanna play video games while out partying... All in all, just a real cool place to do it up. Smoke machines, killer lighting, dance platforms for the girls who wanna show it all off and a bitchin sound system helped to set the mood as well. Now I don't usually go on about a venue this much but a great show is made up of all kinds of little factors that work together that make up the one big fuckin factor which is how to have a good time. The place was comfy man. Even the fuckin bouncers were genuinely good guys who gave you a smile instead of that evil glare that makes one feel like they shouldn't be there for some reason. If you're ever in London, Ontario and you wanna party it up big time, go to Club Phoenix and consider your mission accomplished.
So before the show my buddy and I were hanging around yapping about old times and we look over and there's Ed standing right out front of the venue. At one point I used to think Ed was the most elusive dude around but it turns out he's just not into the after show appearances as much as he's into treating the early birds after sound check. We shook hands yapped a bit, and I took a pic of Ed with my buddy who originally introduced me to Collective Soul back in 95 with their self-titled album. That one was the Summer of 95 soundtrack for us. We wore that fucker out and then kept on playing it some more. So it was fitting that it all came full circle when I got to introduce my friend to Ed Roland. Ed grabbed himself a souvlaki from a vendor on the side of the road and headed back to the bus. A little while later the rest of the band filed out of Club Phoenix and wandered off down the street in search of whatever London had to offer. We went inside the venue after doing a little wandering ourselves. This is when we got into photographing all the little freebies and perks. The Lexus model was stunning, the Molson girls were definitely head turners and I never did run into the Kid Rock look alike to verify if he was the little dickhead who ratted me out at an Aerosmith show with my camera. All in all it was just a bunch of cool events that lead up to the show which put me in one hell of a good mood and ready to party. Boy opened up... they were cool and played some damn fine tunes for us.
Collective Soul took stage to a thunderous applause from the relatively small crowd of about 800 or so. This was an invite only show so the people who were there had to all win some kind of contest or score in on some tickets by word of mouth or internet and radio giveaways. Despite the potential of a bunch of people who don't give a fuck about Collective Soul, there seemed to be a pretty good turnout of CS fans. People who know every word to every song, all the facts about this guy, all the poop on this other guy... ya know... annoying bastards who wanna tell you every detail about their favorite band. I love em though. Without those people you just don't have a band that lasts 10 or more years. And 10 years is a loooong fuckin time when you're a band these days. Most of em last 5 minutes. If that. Andy Warhol said 15 minutes but his watch was busted, he was higher than a kite and had no concept of time anyway. The band ripped through all the great tunes we'd all come to expect from a CS show with minimal fuck ups and only one instance of Ed getting nervous about "people running around behind me"... referring to the roadies who were fixing up something on Will's pedal board. I've seen a single instance of something like that ruining a show completely with no chance of recovery but Ed took it in stride, made a joke out of it and kept on going like a trooper. Another reason why he's lasted more than 10 years in the business.
Someone shoulda told me to shut the fuck up by now so you can just look at the pictures but this isn't an interactive web site so I'll just shut the fuck up anyway cuz I'm sick of typing now. Cya next time.
May 13, 2005
Why the hell is Collective Soul in Club Element? Last time I saw the best band to drawl out of Atlanta, Georgia they played in front of at least 15,000 fans. This time the venue held 870. 870. Not even 1000. The only thing I can think of is that they WANTED to play such a venue. Otherwise they could be playing way bigger gigs. With the huge success of "Youth", constant airplay, and these guys work ethic, they could easily pack venues 5 times the size of Club Element. Not that I'm bitchin. Why would I bitch about that? Seeing Collective Soul in a wee dive like Club Element is a fuckin dream come true. Not only SEEING CS but seeing CS while pressed up against the barrier. Yes friends. Front row centre. Well... slightly off centre but who the fuck cares. I was sandwiched in between gorgeous ladies, drinkin a few beers and I had the ok to shoot one of my all time favorite bands. Heaven let your light shine down indeed. The opening band was The Waking Eyes.
Now, I don't listen to the fuckin radio so I didn't have a clue who the Waking Eyes were. But they came out and made me think twice about getting to know them and I'll tell you all right now, these guys are definitely worth checking out. It's hard to find something original these days but the Waking Eyes have a good uniqueness about them. I'll link them up with a couple pics and a page later. Right now, I gotta get in my 2 cents worth about CS. In a nutshell, the sound was great, the lights were ok and the band was tight. Let me elaborate on the band. They played all their faves. All the shit you'd expect and then they dropped a cover on us. I don't know when they played it cuz it's not even on the set list which I've included below. It was Squeeze Box. Cool tune by the Who. They did it real good. I hope they record it or it ends up somewhere I can get my hands on it cuz they do a really good job of it. Newish guitarist Joel Kosche fit right in yet was not bathed in the spotlight at all.
I don't know if this was a conscious move on the band's part but I was hoping to see this boy take centre stage and show us what he could really do. He did very briefly, I can't remember for what song, (cuz I can't remember jack shit) but I was hoping to see more cuz this guy can really play. Not that Ross couldn't or anything but it's nice to see a fresh face enjoying itself as opposed to someone who looks like they'd rather be somewhere else. I don't know who the fuck was playing drums but he did just fine. After the sudden disappearance (for lack of a better explanation) of Shane Evans, the boys did a fine job replacing him in a big hurry but I truly hope Shane gets his shit together and takes his rightful position back on the percussion throne. Dean Roland looked characteristically nonchalant. I don't know if he was just in some state of euphoria that few of us know or if he was just ripped outta his mind but the rhythm guitar Adonis truly looked like he was on some of the best shit the planet has to offer.
Hey Dean, I'll take TWO hits of whatever you're on buddy!!! Share that buzz!! Despite his apparent aloofness, he hit the nail on the head for every song and treated us to the best poses he has to offer; albeit mostly in subdued light so I couldn't take 8 million shots to show you what I'm talking about. If you've seen CS, you've seen Dean, Dean, the posin' machine. Nothing wrong with that. The chicks were drooling all over themselves like Pavlov's fuckin dogs. I met Dean before the show. He was kind enough to pause for a handshake and a few quick words. After the show he disappeared like his big brother who also was nowhere to be found. Will Turpin, shaved head and all, kept it all together on his little 8X8 stage perched up above the rest of the band in the back corner. I met him on the street earlier, paused for a handshake and bit of a yap and then he trudged off through the scummy downtown core of Kitchener dragging his luggage, in search of his nightly accommodations.
Anyway, Will's seemingly effortless bass prowess shook the very core of that whole Club Element. Every time he hit a note I felt myself vibrate right off the spot I was standing on. Now that's LOW END. So after all that, I guess I gotta mention the guy who really IS Collective Soul. Ed. Ed Roland. One of the most talented dudes you're ever NOT going to meet. Sure you can take his picture. You can cheer for him. You can buy his albums. You can buy his T-Shirts. But you will NOT get to shake Ed's hand. You will NOT get to say hi to him. You will NOT get to tell him he is one of your biggest influences. You will NOT get his autograph on your left tit. Or your right one. Ed has always been a very private individual. He stays hidden almost always and he disappears immediately after the last note of Shine. Kinda sad. I mean how fun is that? Distancing yourself from any reality to the point where reality is the back of a tour bus or a hotel room. I guess if that's how he keeps going then so be it. I'm not here knockin Ed, I just wanna understand.
As Dr. Phil would say, "how's that workin for ya?" If it is, then fuckin do it. As for Ed's performance, he really IS a performer. He has the moves, he has the looks (I think) and he's got talent to spare. I mean when Elton John calls you up and wants to do a song with you. You've got IT. Whatever IT is... I don't got IT. Ed does though. Maybe that's why he hides. Maybe he doesn't want anyone to take IT away from him. Regardless... Collective Soul has IT and IT came from Ed Roland. I love this band. I hope you do too. Go buy all their fuckin albums. Like NOW.
On a side note, after I posted this article, a million and one people came out of the woodwork to tell me I'm a fuckin idiot cuz THEY got to meet Ed. They got some shit signed and they shook his hand too. So I apologize for saying Ed isn't the most accessible dude around when clearly he can be!!
July 19, 2001
I've always liked Collective Soul from the very first time I heard them. These guys know how to rock, make you wanna mosh, and they can even slow it down and show you some technical ability that blows away a lot of other bands.
As you can see from the ticket, this is another infamous Sarnia Bayfest show. I met these guys back in '97 when they were promoting the Disciplined Breakdown CD. After coming off the success of their 2nd album, the self titled masterpiece was sure to be a hard one to follow.
Not for these guys though. We're talking about professionals here. Ed Roland, singer, songwriter, guitarist, I think he's into plumbing too, has more talent in the mole on his big toe than most bands have in all the moles combined in their whole families.
Anyway, I met them at this tiny little hardly known radio station located in St. Thomas, Ontario called "the Hawk". Sure everyone in the area knew about "the Hawk" but who knew the main office was located in a 2 horse town like St. T?? I could hardly believe my ears when I heard Collective Soul was coming to town to promote their new CD.
So, I skipped school that morning, went to St. T. and shot myself some pics of the guys out on the street. They were totally cool. Next time I heard they were around was for the Blender tour. The very end of the Blender tour.
Supposedly, they were taking a break from everything for a couple years and we were seeing them for the last time as that particular lineup of Collective Soul. The lighting wasn't the best but I managed to get a couple shots sort of worth looking at.
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