Collective Soul celebrates 25 years
By DEBORAH ANN TRIPOLDI
Family means fans as well as blood relatives to Collective Soul, according to the band’s bass player and background vocalist Will Turpin. The band released “Blood,” their 12th studio album, in July; Turpin said the title refers to the idea of family, and to what the group has become over the course of 25 years together.
“People before you; a legacy you will leave behind in family,” he said.
The group is all set to rock the Wellmont on Sept. 21 with their “Now's The Time” tour. Opening for them will be Sir Cadian Rhythm.
The band, Collective Soul, is composed of lead singer E. Roland on guitar, Dean Roland on rhythm guitar, Jesse Triplett on lead guitar and background vocals, Johnny Rabb on drums and background vocals, and Will Turpin on bass and background vocals. Like children in a family, they have matured in those 25 years.
“Blood” comes four years after Collective Soul’s last album, “See What You Started by Continuing.” “Right as Rain” was released as the album’s first single, followed by “Good Place to Start.” Turpin said the band should have another album out next year.
Turpin paused in August for a phone interview from his tour bus, while preparing for a concert at the Deschutes County Fair in Oregon that evening.
Collective Soul’s songwriters use their life experience in their song lyrics. Most are written by chief songwriter E. Roland, as well as by the rest of the band members past and present.
“We have been going through a lot of things like everybody does when they get older. Deep stuff has happened to us personally or someone we know,” Turpin said.
Turpin explained how some of their big hits came to be, such as “The World I Know,” which in 1995 was Number 1 for four weeks on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. E. Roland wrote the lyrics after he traveled around New York City while on a day off from their tour. “‘Shine’ was [written] in a time when Ed was not working on his craft [for] a long time and he was looking for answers; ‘December’ when a manager was doing us wrong,” he said.
Not all of Collective Soul’s songs are personal. “‘Big Sky’ is a reflective thing and may not be a personal story,” said Turpin. Fans grasp onto the band’s lyrics and relate to them with their own life experiences and logic, he explained. “We create art and music for a living and put it out there for people to use in their own ways.” While their music has changed since the ’90s, the band keeps the same alternative rock style it always had. “I think music is a lifelong endeavor, never reaching the peak, always looking for something other than your style or your band’s creative style. We definitely approach things differently and always understand the outcome,” Turpin said.
Years ago, Collective Soul focused on notes and rhythms, he explained. Now the band focuses on capturing the emotions of the song. “Emotion is what makes you stick. It’s the emotion that captures you... think more big picture.”
Turpin also has a solo career, and released his first solo album, “Serengeti Drivers,” in 2012.
“We don’t have to focus on one thing at a time, and I will have more songs out early next year.
If songs are coming out of you, my father told me, get them and write them down. And I still sit down by the piano and when the timing is right it just pours right out of me; a different vibe than Collective Soul,” he said.
The band recorded double records, a total of 22 songs, 10 of which are on ”Blood.”
“Blood" tells only half a story. A second album, related to "Blood," will come out next year. Turpin would not elaborate on the future album, keeping it a mystery for now. “The inspiration is still coming, still pouring out of us,” Turpin said.
As a band that has been on the scene for 25 years, Turpin said, Collective Soul’s fan base looks forward to hearing their older songs at their concerts, as well as the new songs. “We are very fortunate to, as Collective Soul, be the soundtrack to their lives and their memories. [The music] brings back memories,” Turpin said.
Fans can expect to hear new songs as well as hit songs “December” and “Shine.”
The set list, Turpin said, “becomes more about a flow and the high waves. [...] The energy exchange is real. I can’t describe it in a scientific way; I can’t explain it in a human way but it’s tangible,” he said. “They are hanging onto every note and we are giving it back to them.”