Ed Kowlaczyk--Lead Singer of LIVE
August 04, 2006 20:04
Who is Ed Kowalczyk?
Almost my whole life I've been searching for peace and truth outside myself. In books, in paintings, in other people. Now I've found peace and truth in places I never expected to find them. Indeed, like enjoying a sunset. What has made a big difference is that I've moved with my family from the big city to the countryside. Now I live in the middle of nature. The trees and animals around me give me the feeling that I've returned to earth. And then my fatherhood was added as well. The birth of our child was such an overwhelming experience for me that I can now easily put things into perspective, even those I used to get tensed up with.
I have chosen, with a spiritual practice, to deepen my understanding of my relationship to everything that is arising, and not just to go with the flow. And that is the essence of the music of Live, really, this sort of dissatisfaction with the way things are, with the limitation that just “going with the flow” represents.?What I've been feeling about reincarnation lately is that life itself is evidence of no beginning and no end. If it's really over when it's over, then what are we doing here? I remember as a very young child hearing about the Big Bang and thinking it was bullshit. How could anything come from nothing???
The Western idea of spirituality has always been that you have to be absolutely disassociated from the vital areas of life—give all your material possessions away, find the guru, and live happily ever after in a monastery. Or maybe do yoga once a week to feel better bodily. That's our notion of "spirituality" and it's pretty fucked. It's really just not the case. Our lives are fully integrated. We're incarnated in these physical bodies, and spirituality is essentially about allowing the forces of the divine to descend fully into the body, rather than us ascending out of the body with the intention to go somewhere else. So every moment is an opportunity to confront and transcend our limitations. Being onstage is an intensification of that, with all this incredible energy being created by the band and the audience flying around like bullets from an AK-47. There's so much energy that you have to conduct it somehow. And that in turn benefits the music.
Live on Tour
08/12/2006--St Louis, MO
10/06/2006--San Diego, CA
10/07/2006--Lake Havasu, AZ
Click Here to get details about these upcoming shows!
Live’s New Album—Songs From Black Mountain
Two years ago, when Kowalczyk began writing for the quartet’s seventh studio album, Songs from Black Mountain, he was intrigued by how much of the world’s art has been inspired by the female spirit.
“Historically, the muse has always been a woman – from the muses of Greek mythology to Saraswati in India. And my experience as a songwriter has only reinforced that idea. I’m surrounded by women – my wife and two daughters especially – who spark my creativity,” he explains. “With that in mind, I started exploring the idea of personifying my creative energy as female in the songs I was writing; basically writing songs to my muse. When people listen to these songs they’ll probably hear a love story between a man and a woman, but for me it’s deeper than that.”
The first single from Songs from Black Mountain, “The River,” weaves the album’s heady lyrical theme into a contagious pop melody. Bring your burning skin to my river once again, I’ll give you life.
“This song probably has the most memorable melody we’ve ever recorded,” Kowalczyk says. “I really like how we’re using something so catchy to convey these abstract lyrical ideas I have about songwriting. When I sit down to write a song, I always feel like I’m wading into a river where a nurturing female presence guides me and pushes me along when I need it.”The band came together with producer Jim Wirt (Incubus, Hoobastank) at a studio in Santa Barbara in May 2005 for what became a whirlwind session. In just three weeks, Kowalczyk says, the multi-platinum band recorded all 12 of the album’s songs in a frenetic burst of creativity that surprised everyone. “We haven’t recorded that quickly since Throwing Copper,” he says. “When we got in the studio, we all slipped into the zone. We were working hard, but we were completely at ease, open to each other and in the flow. Everyone was awestruck by not only how fast we were recording, but also by how good it sounded.”
The first song the band recorded, “Love Shines (A Song for My Daughters About God),” is a song about spirituality Kowalczyk wrote for his young daughters. “I have to teach them about God one day and I don’t want to take them to some boring church. This is their catechism,” he explains. “It’s a simple lyric about awareness and how it’s shining all the time. It’s something you can take refuge in. No matter what happens in life, it’s always there. No matter what faith, there’s a presence – whatever name you give it – that’s always there as an internal refuge. I thought that was a beautiful message for kids to learn.”
The album’s title, Songs from Black Mountain, is connected, Kowalczyk says, to the song “Mystery.” Mine eyes have seen the glory of a love that does transcend/Mine eyes have seen the worst inside of man
“Black Mountain is a place near my house in California where the oak trees are so thick that it’s dark there all the time. It has this mystical aura that reminds me of what it feels like to write a song. You’re traveling down a path without knowing where you’re going, but guided by something unknowable the pushes you along. There’s no linear meaning to this song. It’s about using melody to bring people to a place that is beautiful and open to individual interpretation.”
Kowalczyk says some of his favorite songs possess a mysterious quality that take the listener to a point allowing them to personalize the song by filling in the blanks. “U2’s ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ is the perfect example,” he says. “You know the band had a spiritual background, but they approach it so artfully on this song. They didn’t beat you over the head with a point of view because it would have limited the song.”
“Home,” the album’s only topical song, is an anti-war song written from a soldier’s perspective. When they coming home?/When they leaving that place?/To see their lover’s face again/Kids’ll see their daddy’s face again
“I had to be careful writing this song because I wasn’t interested in writing a political protest song that’s locked into a specific point in time. I wanted to transcend the topical and write a song about the human experience of war,” Kowalczyk says. “This song is not just about stopping this war, but all wars.”
The last song Live recorded – “All I Need” – stands out sonically from the rest of the album. “It’s a weird song,” Kowalczyk says. “We saved it until the end because we weren’t sure how to approach it. Because it wasn’t a major priority, we felt like we could take chances with the song. It wound up being one of my favorite songs on the album.
“That’s why making records is fun – sometimes your priorities can be subverted by synchronicities. You expect a song to go one way, but the complete opposite happens. And then when you look back, you realize the song turned out exactly the way it should have. The songs know the way, all you have to do is listen.”
Click Here to purchase Songs from Black Mountain.