Ed Kowalczyk of Live Talks New Solo EP, Chris Cornell and More

2012-11-29

Story by Anne Erickson

Interview: Ed Kowalczyk chats with Audio Ink Radio about his upcoming EP and what he and other ‘90s frontmen have in common

Ed Kowalczyk is widely known as the lead singer and songwriter of Live, a ‘90s alternative band famous for its grungy sonics and spiritual songwriting. If you dig alternative music, chances are you’ve heard every one of Live’s hits, from “Lightning Crashes” to “I Alone” to “Heaven.”

Never one to stick to conventions, Kowalczyk has branched out with a full-fledged solo career. He released a new solo EP, “The Garden,” earlier this month, and the set features 10 tracks: five new songs and five remixes of those tracks.

A few hours before a gig in his hometown of York, Penn., Kowalczyk caught up with Audio Ink Radio to talk about the solo EP and what he has in common with Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder.

So many frontmen-turned-solo artists try going the solo route and then go back to the band. Why did you decide to forge forward as a solo musician?

Three years ago, I came to a point in my life and career where I was just bored. It’s part of my contemplative nature to ask, ‘What’s going on here?’ I had been doing in for so long in the same way, and I really wanted to branch out and start to do new things and play with new people.

Do you have a favorite song on “The Garden?”

You know, “The Garden” itself is the namesake of the EP, and it’s a song that’s not only my favorite but really consists of the path of this new chapter, being the solo career.

The music industry has changed so much since Live broke out in the ‘90s. What do you think are some of the positives and negatives of the changes?

I think every situation is unique is how you perceive it. This new era for me as a solo artist has been colored more positively for me, because of my engagement with social media and my transition into this new thing. I’m really engaged in this hardcore, tight knit fan collective that continues to support me. I’ve had an incredibly positive experience the past few years, and that’s colored my vision of things. There are ups and downs to it, but I’m experiencing a lot more of the ups right now, because of social media and the fact I’m not in one monolithic record deal. I’m embracing all of that as a certain amount of freedom I wasn’t used to having.

Several ‘90s frontmen are doing the solo thing lately, including Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam, to name a few.

Yeah, I saw Chris’ songbook tour last year in Los Angeles and loved it. There comes a cycle where it makes sense and the fan base is ready for that kind of experience in the life of a songwriter. You mentioned all of those artists and myself in there, and with all of us, we have so many songs that people identify with and know, and to be able to experience those in such a stripped-down, intimate way after 10 or 15 years seems like the thing to do. People are ready to sit down in a theater and really soak that in. There seems to be space for it at some point in a career, and my fans love it.

Your music in Live is very spiritual. Does that carry over to your solo music?

It always has. I’ve always had this contemplative side of me. I’d be interested in these big things other than music, and the fact I’ve been able to channel that into a worldwide recording and performing career as a musician is part of the magic to me as an artist. It’s proof positive that music is ultimately a spiritual thing and it does communicate truths to people in a way that’s unique.

Real quick: What’s the first album you ever bought?

I think Pink Floyd, “The Wall,” was the first cassette I ever bought. It was at a flea market! [Laughs] The first album I bought that I remember really going out and finding was U2’s “Joshua Tree.” That was the first time I really fell in love with an album. (Photo credit: Douglas Sonders.)

Stream Ed Kowalczyk’s New Song, ‘I’m The Proof (feat. Eva & The Heartmaker)’:
[audio:http://audioinkradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Im-The-Proof-feat.-Eva-The-Heartmaker.mp3|titles=I’m The Proof (feat. Eva & The Heartmaker)]




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