Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Q&A with Ed Kowalczyk

Q: What can fans expect from the shows?
It will touch on my work in Live, all the sing along songs and a good cross section of my solo album as well. Who knows? I could throw some surprises in there...I’m going into a new area with this power trio I haven’t tried yet, which keeps me having fun. That translates to really good shows and excitement all around for the fans. After close to 20 years of the same lineup, this is a breath of fresh air for me as an artist and a performer. Everything I’m doing now, I can’t wait to get back out on the road and try new things...With [the current live format], it’ll keep a ‘Storytellers’ kind of environment going on, but at the same time have a good intensity musically.

Q: In many ways, your vocal delivery on the new songs harks back to the mid-90’s Live era. Was that a goal?
That really just came from finding this excitement and passion about the process again. It just came out that way. I recognized it right away, like ‘this sounds like 10 years ago from me.’ The fans immediately responded to that. That was really a result of reconnecting with that passion for the music again. With my delivery, it just fired everything up.

Q: How did working with this new group of guys in the studio compare to Live in terms of dynamics?
It was quite a different experience than I’ve had with the recent past records with Live.

Q: “Zion” has a really different sound for you.
Yeah. I went into that after getting my crash course in guitar evangelists like Blind Willie Johnson. I was always admiring his ability. Obviously coming from a spiritual orientation and an intense, somewhat dark rock element, it spoke to my heart about how I might want to approach doing this. I allowed that to color "Zion." We actually sang those hums through this tiny $5 mike you use to tune acoustic guitars. It sounded really good and we went for it.

Q: You co-wrote “Drink” with Chris Daughtry. Would you consider him a kindred spirit?
Absolutely. He’s and amazing singer and a great guy. Incredible musical intelligence with melody and arrangement. We weren’t even planning on writing together...When Chris sings, you really get the sense that he’s just so connected to his music.

Q: Where did the brief street noise sound effects at the beginning of “Rome” come from?
They are actually Roman city street sound effects. You can find anything on the internet. For $10 or $15, I purchased a snippet of a sample, like a movie sound effect. I wanted to recreate the environment that inspired that song. My first trip to Rome was actually a couple years ago. The traffic jam and all that is kind of historical and real in my life, the rest is interpretive. I wanted to try and recreate how wild and crazy that city is, but at the same time, how deeply rooted in history it is.

Q: Did it take an adjustment going the independent label route after being on Radioactive/MCA and then Epic Records with Live?
I’m enjoying it. It’s challenging. I never had that entrepreneurial relationship with my music as much as people who’ve always been independent have. Being on a major label, you’re a little bit distanced from that. You don’t have those day to day responsibilities. Taking that barrier away and having my own label, and being in a partnership with MRI and RED [distributing], being hands on as I’ve been, has been exciting. Just the thrill of it – it’s sink of swim on your own.

Q: Do you enjoy engaging with fans via Twitter and Facebook?
I do. I use Facebook. I’m newer to Twitter. I tweet as an extension to Facebook. It’s really inspiring to do a show, go down the road and look on my iPhone 4 and [see all the comments]. It’s a fun media, I really enjoy it. I did have tweet fatigue for awhile. I’m much more of Facebook person. If you miss a week on Facebook, it’s ok, whereas if you haven’t tweeted every 30 seconds, it’s like ‘where’d he go?’

Q: What was it like to take part in the 2010 Light of Day benefit concert with Bruce Springsteen in New Jersey?
It was a dream. I got this call at the last minute: could I come and do this? I jumped at the chance. I had never met the Boss. I always wanted to thank him for the first time I saw my crazy last name in Rolling Stone in late ’91 or early ’92, with Bruce Springsteen on the cover. He mentioned ‘this band Live and their amazing lead singer.’ I finally got to look him in the eye and thank him and tell him how much I loved his work too. He gave me a 25-minute full mentor lowdown on the length of his career and how it’s always been ‘damn the torpedoes’ and how from his perspective, he’s just had the best year of his career playing the Super Bowl and all that. He said, ‘every 7-10 years, they write me off and then I have my best year ever.’ I thought that was a great outlook. Just meeting him for the first time as I was about to embark on this new chapter, seemed totally scripted in some way. Having this heart to heart from the Boss at the outset was pretty much a dream.

Q: What is coming up on the horizon in 2011?
I’ve started to write for a new record. We’ve released the second single “Stand” and we’re promoting that. And I have my third baby daughter coming in April. I’m hoping to get back in the studio sometime in the next six months.            


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