The Hippo


Aug 14, 2018








 3 Doors Down, Collective Soul, Soul Asylum

When: Friday, Aug. 10, 7 p.m. 
Where: Bank of NH Pavilion, 72 Meadowbrook Lane, Gilford
Tickets: $35.75 and up at 

Still shining
Collective Soul part of Rock & Roll Express tour


 By Michael Witthaus
Ed Roland of Collective Soul has a lot of love for Boston. It doesn’t hurt that it’s the original home of his beloved Atlanta Braves. Mostly, though, it’s about the city’s music. 
After finishing high school in the late ’70s, Roland went to Berklee College of Music, chiefly because it was the choice of his favorite performers. 
“I was a huge Cars fan,” he said in a recent phone interview. “Elliott Easton and Greg Hawkes had gone there, and then a couple cats from Steely Dan. I thought, man, that seems like the place to go.”
Roland’s first attempts at songwriting were “bad Cars songs Ric Ocasek would have never taken,” but his derivative efforts were the seeds of his band’s iconic, wall-of-guitars sound. 
“Greg Hawkes had some of the best riffs, but they were  played on a keyboard,” he said. “It came from moving it from the new wave to electric guitar.”
His experience at Berklee was more ephemeral than formative, though. 
“When I look back on my time in Boston, it was more of a life learning experience, coming from a small town and very protective family, moving up there and just getting into a different culture, just being on my own,” he said. 
For most of the decade following college, Roland worked as an engineer, played in a few bands and made demos. In 1993, he assembled them into an album and released it independently. Though the phrase “going viral” didn’t exist at the time, a song called “Shine” did just that. It was the first in a string of alternative rock hits that launched Collective Soul to stardom.
Though his band has a deep enough catalog to fill multiple set lists, Roland and his band mates — brother Dean Roland, Will Turpin, Jesse Triplett  and Johnny Rabb — aren’t done making new music. In fact, they’ve been creating at such a pace that a new album’s release date keeps getting pushed out.
“It started last year,” Roland said, adding the plan was to put the disc out in time for the current Rock & Roll Express Tour that stops in Gilford on Aug. 10, but his muse intervened. “I came up with these other songs that I showed the guys, and they were like, ‘Dude, we gotta record these, too.’ … Now we have 22 songs that we’re very excited about.”
Selections from the forthcoming double album have trickled out at shows. 
“We call that pre-production,” Roland said. “We kind of throw ourselves out there to our fans and to see what reaction you get from the song. If your fans like it … it’s  kind of fun to do it that way.”
Release is now set for 2019; fortuitously, that’s the year Collective Soul celebrates its 25th anniversary. 
“You hate to say the word, but let’s mark it,” Roland said. 
In a music world filled with stories of battling brother bands — Oasis, The Kinks — Ed and Dean Roland have kept going without a meltdown. 
“Personally I think it comes from parenting, honestly,” Roland said about his relationship with his younger sibling. “Our parents were awesome and they allowed us to grow. Don’t think Dean and I don’t go at each other — we’re still brothers. But we learned to respect each other early on.”
When the band went on hiatus in 2010, Dean formed Magnets & Ghosts with Ryan Podesta; the duo just released its third album, Space Time Gender. Turpin has also made solo albums, and the time off was a net plus for the band. 
“We came back together and we were just fired up. There was just a confidence level that we haven’t had ever,” Roland said. “We love and support each other, and then when we come together as Collective Soul, it’s like, ‘Man, we feel good now!’”
The band has no Grammy of its own, but “Shine” won in the bluegrass category for Dolly Parton in 2001. 
“I watched her perform it on Letterman and immediately sent her notes and flowers,” Roland said. “To have an iconic songwriter cover your song is just bizarre. … She won a Grammy, but her doing my song is my Grammy. So I got the better award I think.”
Another high note for the band came when Elton John sang co-lead on “Perfect Day” in 2000. 
“There are a couple of other people I’d like to meet but I’ve heard I shouldn’t meet them because it could ruin my perception of them,” Roland said. “Elton is the perfect gentleman. He just makes you feel comfortable and he’s so in tune with music — yesterday, decades past. He’s just an encyclopedia of knowledge. It’s fun to be around him.” 

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