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Collective Soul to rock the Kootenays

Profiling Collective Soul frontman Ed Roland on the band's success and the 20-plus career as an alternative rock group.
Collective Soul frontman Ed Roland says the band is excited to come to Cranbrook and rock out Western Financial Place.

Ferdy Belland

"It's always great to hear that we have a sold-out show to play to," says Collective Soul's friendly and unassuming lead vocalist Ed Roland about his band's imminent arrival at Western Financial Center in Cranbrook on Tuesday April 19th.

"We rarely get a chance to play smaller cities, especially in Canada, and this will be as much a thrill for us as we hope it is for the people of the Kootenays. It's been seven years since we did any real heavy touring up here, and we wanted to reconnect with everyone and hit as many places as possible."

Collective Soul are one of the most successful American alternative-rock bands to have emerged from the heady days of Grunge. Originally formed in 1992 in Stockbridge, Georgia (the band's name comes from a quote from Ayn Rand's classic 1943 novel "The Fountainhead"), the group has sold over 18 million albums worldwide and have ranked no less than seven Number One hit singles on the international pop charts.

Helmed by Ed Roland (the band's main songwriter) and his brother Dean Roland on rhythm guitar, Collective Soul's current lineup is rounded out with bassist Will Turpin, drummer Johnny Rabb, and lead guitarist Jesse Triplett. The band released its ninth studio album "See What You Started by Continuing" in October 2015, which has garnered much critical and commercial success, and the band shows no signs of slowing down its breakneck pace, let alone shuddering to any sort of halt.

"It's nice to know that after almost 25 years of this, people still care!" says Roland. "It's great that people still like the old stuff...that's how we were found, after all, with songs like 'Shine' and 'Gel'...but I believe we've gotten better as a band, as songwriters, as the years have passed. I know we have. And I'm glad that our fans keep traveling along with us. We're very grateful."

Even with Collective Soul's latest album barely six months into its public release, the ever-inspired Ed Roland admits that his creative spark never loses fire; he's already writing (and performing) songs which will appear on the band's NEXT album (tentatively scheduled for a 2017 release).

"We're trying out new songs on the current run of this tour," Roland says. "Of course we'll play songs off the latest record, but there'll also be unrecorded and unreleased songs debuting live for the first time, as well. The best pre-production process you can have is front of a live audience who has no preconceptions of the we've found out!

"We've always done that, though. Of course we're going to play all the classics that people always want to hear, but we're certainly not just some oldies act. We respect our audience enough to share our craft and our new material with them, in the beginning stages of the song's development."

Roland describes his songwriting process.

"We've basically been living out of the back of a bus for the past seven years, so that's where the acoustic guitar comes in handy. We'll find time in and around soundchecks, or kicking around in a hotel room, to flesh out ideas, and if we're in mid-tour and we all feel confident enough to try out the new song at that night's concert, then we're all game and good to go! We had a month off over the past Christmas holidays, and most of the stuff that'll be considered for the next album was all sculpted up then. Dropped into a studio to record demos, and then back on the road!"

In and around his all-consuming schedule with Collective Soul, Ed Roland takes the time out to indulge in his other band, Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project. A more acoustic-oriented roots-folk outfit (which released its amazing debut album "Devils 'N Darlins" in 2013), the Atlanta-based Sweet Tea Project allows Roland an enjoyable opportunity to delve into a second world of music that might not, er...gel with Collective Soul's established electric-guitar overdrive.

"I really love playing with those guys," says Roland fondly of his other bandmates in the Sweet Tea Project, "but Collective Soul is the Mothership, everybody agrees to that and gets it, but we're hoping that towards the end of the year we can release the second album we've already got recorded and in the can."

Collective Soul's current tour takes them across Canada, after which they will undertake a summer tour of the US with the Goo Goo Dolls. "That'll be fun," Roland remarks. "Our two bands grew up together in the biz, so to speak, and we seem to share the same fans!"

Ed Roland finishes off by speaking directly to the excitable East Kootenay rockers who are eager to zoom into Western Financial Place on the evening of Tuesday April 19th:

"We're Collective Soul, and we're not going anywhere. We don't care what size the room is that we play in. We want to do what's best for the people. We're comfortable if they're comfortable. In the end, we want our audience to enjoy themselves. And what better way to reconnect with a Canadian audience than in a cozy hockey arena in the shadow of the Rockies? Come on out and let's have fun!"

Collective Soul hit the stage at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook BC the evening of Tuesday April 19th. There might be seven or eight tickets left, so hurry.