From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Band pours its Collective Soul into hits
Collectively and as individuals, the members of pop-rock band Collective Soul have experienced some shining milestones in the last year.
Professionally, the group released its eighth studio effort and second self-titled album, nicknamed “Rabbit” because of its cover art, in August and then was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in September. On the personal front, primary songwriter/lead singer Ed Roland welcomed a baby boy in July, while guitarist Joel Kosche greeted his first child, also a boy, in December.
“We stay busy. This year, we’re scaling back just a little bit. … We’re trying to use this year to spend a little time with our sons,” Kosche said in a recent phone interview from his home south of Atlanta.
“It’s just a new adventure every day.”
The band is continuing to tour in support of “Rabbit,” mostly flying out for a few shows on the weekends and then heading back home for family time. This week, the itinerary includes a concert Saturday night at Shawnee’s Firelake Grand Casino.
“We’re very fortunate, we have a lot of hit songs … and we like to play those because we know they’re there to hear ‘em. And then we like to play some newer stuff or just goof off,” he said.
“We’ll break songs down and try to do our best at covering other people’s songs. It usually comes out terrible, but we try it anyway,” Kosche added with a laugh.
In 1993, Collective Soul lit up the charts with the rock anthem “Shine,” which established the band as one of the top groups on the ‘90s post-grunge scene. For the rest of the decade, the rockers rolled out hit after hit, including “December,” “The World I Know,” “Gel,” “Precious Declaration,” “Run” and “Heavy.”
Despite shifting music trends and personnel changes, Collective Soul — which now includes Roland, his singer-guitarist brother Ed Roland, Kosche, bassist Will Turpin and new drummer Cheney Brannon — has continued making music. Kosche, who started as the tour guitar tech in 1996, officially joined the band in 2003 after the departure of original guitarist Ross Childress.
Persistence has paid off for Collective Soul. The band tapped a new audience when the ballad “Tremble for My Beloved” was featured on the hit soundtrack to the 2008 blockbuster movie “Twilight,” the first in the continuing film franchise based on the best-selling vampire romance books written by Collective Soul fan Stephenie Meyer.
“We’re definitely at the point now where we’ve crossed over generations, which is cool,” Kosche said.
“The ‘Twilight’ thing definitely brought in a whole other group of people, and they’re all different ages anyway. With that genre of movies and entertainment, there’s kids all the way up to older people,” he added. “You can tell when we play the song ‘Tremble for My Beloved,’ you can see those people, they’re up front and digging it. It’s neat.”
In the past seven years, Kosche has become an integral member of the band, co-writing and co-producing the hit “Hollywood,” which was used as the 2008 “American Idol” theme. He penned and sang lead on “I Don’t Need Anymore Friends,” another song from the 2007 album “Afterwords.” On “Rabbit,” he co-wrote the single “You” and the album track “Understanding.”
“Every record it seems like we come together even more,” he said. “Ed is the primary songwriter, so we’re all there to sort of help him realize his vision for whatever that song is that he’s working on. But every record we feel like we contribute more.”
But Kosche also is planning another special delivery: He will release his first solo album, “Fight Years,” June 15 on CD Baby through his own label, Oh So Noir Music/Infinite Repeat Records. He said the solo effort chronicles his musical journey, from fronting the Atlanta band Steep to playing with Collective Soul. Ed Roland, former Collective Soul drummer Ryan Hoyle and Kansas singer Steve Walsh make guest appearances.
“It was important for me to put it out myself because the lyrics and everything are very personal, so I wanted to sing everything. And for once, I wanted to be able to put it together the way I wanted to put it together without listening to other people’s influence and opinions,” he said with a laugh.
“It’s fun in a way to collaborate with people, but sometimes you just want to do it the way you want to do it. So hence, the solo record.”
As a fixture on the Georgia music scene even before joining Collective Soul, Kosche was thrilled when the band was enshrined in the state Music Hall of Fame last fall. The band is not planning to rest on its laurels any time soon, but it’s an achievement he will want to share with his son when he is older.
“It’s so strange to think that we’re in a museum now with the Allman Brothers, REM and Otis Redding. It’s crazy to think, oh, we’re right there with ‘em. It’s definitely a highlight,” he said.
“I have a little nephew that they took a field trip down … there just from school, so he got a real kick out of being able to tell all his buddies that was his uncle right there in the picture.”
When: 7 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Where: Firelake Grand Casino, 777 Grand Casino Blvd.
Information: 964-7263 or www.firelakegrand.com.