Few artists are rarely ever able to break away from successful bands and go solo. We’ve seen it done so many times before, from Chris Cornell’s less than stellar solo career (did anyone even hear "Scream"?) to the Scott Weiland solo releases (who even knew he released solo stuff?), it’s hard to break away from a popular band. Ed Kowalczyk of the massively successful '90s alt rock band Live is the latest to take the solo plunge with the July, 2010 release of his debut solo record Alive. And while his '90s alt rock counterparts have found it difficult to find their niche in the solo ranks, Kowalczyk it seems has not missed his Live bandmates as much as you might think.
After twenty years of numerous multi-platinum releases and international acclaim, Live announced in June, 2009 that the band would be taking a two year hiatus to work on other projects. Kowalczyk was eager to test the solo waters while the other band members formed a new band with two members of Candlebox called The Gracious Few. Late last year, Live guitarist Chad Taylor announced that the hiatus was more likely a permanent break-up due to what he felt were inappropriate actions by Kowalczyk regarding internal financial issues. The break-up has since turned a bit nasty so there’s really no need to get into the details.
While the band’s break-up has been unfortunate, it has afforded Kowalczyk the opportunity to pursue a new musical direction which didn’t seem possible in Live. Over the last two years he has been hard at work on Alive along with producer CJ Eiriksson (U2, Matchbox Twenty) and his new band featuring guitarist James Gabbie, Chris Heerlein on bass and drummer Ramy Antoun. Alive was recorded at Wire Recording Studios in Austin, Texas and the eleven tracks feature Kowalczyk at his most focused, passionate and introspective. He recently stated "over the last two years, I found myself at a new level of personal inspiration and creativity" which resulted in some very productive song writing.
While it doesn’t rock out quite like some of Live’s biggest hits, Alive isn’t just a bunch of acoustic tracks either. The album features a mishmash of heavier songs that will remind fans of Live during the Throwing Copper days along with a few more toned down, intimate sounding tracks. Alive has been a major hit in parts of Europe debuting at number four on the Dutch album charts and charting well in Belgium and Scandinavia. Kowalczyk and his band are currently wrapping up a string of tour dates in Europe before returning to North America for a U.S. tour through the rest of September and in to October. Alive is very good proof that not every lead singer from a big '90s band is completely lost on his own. Now let’s hope more of his other '90s rock acquaintances can follow suit.
Check out the song: "Stand"
Want our content delivered to your mailbox? Subscribe for updates.