Cape Town – As one of the biggest rock bands of our time, it’s not surprising that frontman Ed Roland promises some good old rock 'n' roll when Collective Soul hits our shores next year.
Having produced countless hits such as Shine, December, Where The River Flows, Run and The World I Know, the band have handpicked their best live performances from the last two years of touring for a brand new album, which is out today.
Ed’s in Florida preparing to play the last three shows of a gruelling two-year tour when I get him on the line. He’s super-friendly and excited to be returning to South Africa.
"I look forward to everything in South Africa! I’ve been there a couple of times with Collective Soul, once on my own and then with Kings of Chaos and every time I soak up as much as I can from the culture there, you know to the shark diving, the wine country to the safaris, just everything. It’s a beautiful country I’m blessed to go hang out in," says Ed.
Apart from their live album which dropped today, the band is also working on a brand new album filled with new original songs, and guess what? South African fans will hear the new songs first!
"We’re about 90% down with the new record and the first place we’ll play a lot of those songs will be in South Africa, which kind of excites us. We’ll still play the songs everyone knows of course, but it’s kind of fun to present new material to an audience.
"We’ll probably do about five new songs just to see what the audience thinks,” Ed says laughingly. "Just to see if we did okay with this recording," he adds.
I have to know: "Does the new stuff differ a lot from the older stuff?"
"Well, what we did on the new one was; the guys were kind enough to let me write. I’m old school, so I love albums, I love Side A, Side B or one or two. So the first side is going to be the rock that Collective Soul loves doing, and Side B will be material that has string arrangements, because we love that. We love the early Elton John, The Beatles, so it will be a bunch of songs where there’s rock and then orchestration going with it," explains Ed.
While we’re talking about songwriting, I ask Ed whether there’s a formula for writing a good song.
"I don’t think there’s a formula. I think if there was a formula for writing a good song, I would’ve done it a lot sooner in my life," laughs Ed.
"I think what you do is you have to get comfortable with how you do write. I think that’s the hardest thing I’ve had to learn as a songwriter was first to accept how my voice sounds, which is not normal, you know. Of course everybody wants to sound like Axl Rose, everybody wants to have that voice, but I didn’t get that at first, so I got what I got, and you get comfortable with that. And then you get comfortable with how you write, the subjects that you write on and you just do the best you can.
"Sometimes I think you create your own little formula which kinda of works. Like with us with the rocks songs there’s riffs, and I never really grew up listening to riff type of material, I grew up listening to The Cars, which I guess has keyboard riffs in it. And then you go, ‘ah okay, people dig that’ and it feels comfortable to me and you just write like a mad man."
"How do you go about writing songs, what’s your process?" I ask.
"Just being alone with a guitar or a piano, you know. I don’t wake up in the morning and get a cup of coffee and go, ‘ah I’m going to be by myself for 6 hours and write a song’. I just let it happen. Most of the songs have been written on a bus because we’ve toured so much for the last 24 years. And then I go out and play it to the guys and they go yay or nay, or they go, we’ll give it a shot… We do pre-production at soundchecks," says Ed.
If Ed could give his younger self advice about being in the music industry, this would be it:
"There would be two things. First is have a good attorney. I mean, I know that comes across as… and it’s true, they’re there to protect you. And then the second one would be to just feel comfortable with who you are. Uhm, it’s okay to be different, it’s okay to sound different."
Ed’s and avid golfer and says that for years he never travelled without his golf gloves, but these days, he just takes a nice pillow.
"Make sure you have a nice pillow because you never know where you’re going to get to sleep!"
What excites him most in life besides the music?
"Well, to be honest with you, we get to go home for a couple of weeks, and to me it’s exciting to come home and be with your family. I mean I’m just a normal old joe that enjoys being with his wife and boys. To watch them grow up, watch them enjoy music, watch them just play soccer, whatever it is, that’s my world, and my life."
And on what SA fans can expect from the show, Ed’s very clear: "Rock ‘n’ roll!"
2 February 2018
Ticketpro Dome, Johannesburg
Ticket Price: R460 – R910
4 February 2018
Grand Arena, GrandWest Cape Town
Ticket Price: R460 – R910
Tickets available from www.bigconcerts.co.za.