Last updated: 03/20/2012 12:00:00 PM
You'd think that after almost a year of non-stop touring on their last opus, The Distance To Here, Ed Kowalczyk, Chad Taylor, Patrick Dahlheimer and Chad Gracey would be ready for a little R& R. Not so. Fresh off a world tour, the group that calls itself LIVE still forgo time off to hunker down at a Los Angeles recording studio. Three and a half weeks later they emerge with a near-finished record.
Kowalczyk explains further, The Distance to Here world tour was just an
unbelievable experience. That record is just so uplifting and seeing the looks on people's faces all over the world for fourteen months was enough to inspire me for decades. I was writing music in hotel rooms, tour buses, bathrooms, everywhere and constantly!
LIVE approached record making in a way that proved unique to past adventures in hi-fi. Case in point, tracks "Call Me a Fool" and "Flow" were both written in the morning in co-producer Alain Johannes front
yard and recorded that afternoon and evening. This was palpably unusual for a band that's sold over 17 million albums worldwide and is used to taking six months to make a record. Nonetheless, it has suited them just fine being a rock band that has seized moments of inspiration and, with this, the band's fifth offering appropriately titled V, have broken through expected molds.
V embodies the same sense of youthful urgency as in LIVE's debut release Mental Jewelry (1991). It features the same impressive songwriting as breakthrough smash Throwing Copper (1994)-- an LP that pulled in 27 platinum albums in 6 countries, (selling 12 million records worldwide) and boasted classic radio hits "Selling The Drama" (#1 on the Alternative charts that year) "I Alone", "All Over You", and "Lightning Crashes", prompting Spin and Rolling Stone cover stories, a Saturday Night Live appearance (complete with standing ovation), and a legendary MTV Unplugged event. The experimental spirit of 97's #1 record Secret Samadhi and the sensitivity of the most recent platinum long player, The Distance To Here is in check, too.
The new record re-exposes the fiery spirit of LIVE like no other. V burns hot with a battery of spiraling, fast-paced rockers like "Deep
Enough", (a remix of which can be heard over the front title sequence in the #1 film The Fast And The Furious and is a bonus track on the record), and the Kowalczyk/Glen Ballard-penned "Forever May Not Be
Long Enough", the theme song of box office smash The Mummy Returns. The unrelenting and uplifting kick-off track "Simple Creed" features guest Tricky, who, in-turn, enlisted Ed to sing on his current single, "Evolution, Revolution, Love". That said, the band's
knack for memorable melodies is not lost on this long player as demonstrated on tunes like the soulful "Transmit Your Love" and
"Nobody Knows", complete with a luxuriant chorus and a neat whistled reprise.
An obvious sense of experimentation is also harnessed. This, being in no small part, due to the chemistry between the band, Johannes (also of the band Eleven, who's most notably worked with Chris Cornell) and co-producer/keyboard whiz Michael Railo, who employed and encouraged the use of loops, samples and synths throughout. Kowalczyk says, "The coolest thing about this record is that we've been really conscious of not losing the band's rock roots in the midst of experimenting with new sounds."
But Kowalczyk is quick to point out that while the experience of making the record has been a transcendent one, LIVE's fans are what's important. Ed explains. "All anyone has to do is stand in my shoes on
stage for five minutes and look out there. The sheer joy that is being communicated back and forth is enough to make you explode."
V is set for release on Radioactive Records/MCA on September 18, 2001.