Click here to listen to the interview
Recently, the folks at the historic Florida Theatre reached out to me to see if I had any interest in talking to Collective Soul. I hadn’t talked to Collective Soul singer/songwriter Ed Roland in almost 30 years, so I leapt at the opportunity.
After finishing high school, Roland studied songwriting and guitar at Berklee College of Music in Boston, then served as the lead engineer and producer at Real 2 Reel Studios in Stockbridge, Georgia. In 1985, he joined a band called Ed-E and another in the late 1980s/early 1990s called Marching Two-Step, which is how we first met.
After using the name Brothers & Brides briefly, Roland changed the name of his band to Collective Soul. Not finding success, however, he became frustrated and almost gave up on the music industry. He had been active in the local Georgia music scene since the early 1980s. Despite the initial rejections, Collective Soul independently released Hints, Allegations & Things Left Unsaid in 1993 on an independent label called Rising Storm. It was a compilation of some of Roland’s songwriting demos created when he worked at Real 2 Reel Studios.
This collection eventually caught the attention of college radio stations including WRAS Atlanta 88.5’s Kevin Howard (my replacement host), who began to play “Shine” on the Georgia Music Show, and it became an underground hit. The popularity of the song convinced Atlantic Records to sign Collective Soul to a long-term contract. Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid was re-released worldwide in early 1994, and the band experienced a sudden rise from obscurity to international fame.
Collective Soul features Ed Roland on vocals and guitar (he’s also the band’s primary songwriter), his brother Dean Roland on rhythm guitar, Jesse Triplett on lead guitar and background vocals, Will Turpin on bass and background vocals, and Johnny Rabb on drums and background vocals.
As of publication, Collective Soul’s 18th and latest release Vibrations is at No. 4 on Billboard’s Alternative Album chart and No. 5 on the Rock Album chart.
Collective Soul performs at the Florida Theatre Sept. 13 with good friends Switchfoot. CS will be showcasing their latest release Vibrations as well as the hits we know and love. Tickets are available at floridatheatre.com.