Music News

Live (the band) to Play First Show Since 2008, Debut New Singer

As reported by the York Dispatch yesterday, the 90’s alternative band Live will hit the stage on Monday, March 12th for the first time in almost 4 years. Sure, many bands have had bigger gaps of absence but the landmark of this performance is the debut of a new Live with a new vocalist (who’s name is still unannounced as of this article).

Formed in the late 1980’s, Live rose to international stardom with their sophomore album Throwing Copper in 1994. Copper yielded some giant alternative rock singles, of which “I Alone” and “Lightning Crashes” still enjoy relatively consistent radio airplay today.

Besides defining themselves with brilliantly poetic lyrics and a mastery of building energy with their rhythm section, one of the standout qualities of this group was their lineup. Four high school friends formed a band, became huge, and stuck together. Other than eventually adding a few touring musicians for their live show (Adam Kowalczyk, Michael “Railo” Railton, and Blind Melon’s Christopher Thorn), the core of Live remained the same: Ed Kowalczyk, Chad Taylor, Chad Gracey, and Patrick Dahlheimer. Such a seemingly set-in-stone group of musicians is rare… U2 being an example as well.

In November 2009, guitarist Chad Taylor announced that Live had taken a hit that no one wanted to see happen: Interpersonal differences between vocalist Ed Kowalczyk and the other band members had finally taken its toll, and the band was calling it quits.

Since the split, Kowalczyk has been fronting a solo effort and remains pitted in the lost sea of artists of the Christian faith. The remaining members of Live formed another group called The Gracious Few with Candlebox’s Kevin Martin and Sean Hennessy, and released their self-titled debut in 2010.

After months of hinting at a re-tooling of Live, Chad Taylor will now bring an updated lineup to the stage next week at the Stand-Capitol Performing Arts Center in the band’s hometown of York, PA. Don’t look for tickets, however, as the modest crowd of about 1,200 are part of an invite-only list.

I, like many, are a little wary of bringing in a new singer for an iconic band. Despite Kowalczyk’s current position, there’s no denying the greatness that he brought to Live in the past. A big part of me wants the guys to leave well-enough alone and move on. A smaller part of me is dying of curiosity though.

Replacing any band member is difficult (Our Lady Peace hasn’t been the same since guitarist Mike Turner left the band in 2001), but when it’s your lead singer… the voice that all of your fans identify immediately… the survival rate is very, very low. Van Halen managed it along with AC/DC, but that’s two bands out of how many?

Whatever their motivations and desires, good luck guys! If it’s awesome, it’s awesome. If it sucks, you have a large body of work that none of your fans will ever forget.

Me personally? I’ve made my peace with the absence of Live (my favorite stuff from them stopped around 2000 anyway). I’m hoping for another Gracious Few record 😉

Let’s re-visit one of my favorite all time Live songs: