I can say it with conviction now. Hands down, my favorite people are bald, and so are yours: Bruce Willis, Steve Jobs, Larry David, Michael Stipe, Seal, Elmur Fudd, Daman Wayans, Kevin Costner, Eugene O. Smith, Gandhi, Yoda, Michael Jordan, and Ed Kowalczyk.
So does a lack of follicles atop one’s noggin lead to a deeper perception of life? Or an inflated level of artistry/business sense? More friends? A higher paying job? Better sleep patterns? More likely to be in a happy relationship? Least likely to get pregnant? All in all, certainly not a Cambridge university study. I guess we will never know the answer since I forgot to ask Mr. Kowalczyk.
Most of us are familiar with the song “Lightning Crashes” as it was a defining song of the ’90’s and is still heard on rock radio around the world with honorable mention to the songs “I Alone” and “All Over You” and “Heaven” too. “Overcome” was also a song released coincidentally right around the time of the September 11th terrorist attacks which turned out to become a major song of comfort during those uncertain times. These are of the better known songs from LIVE, the former band of ex-lead singer Ed Kowalczyk.
Yet, these days, Ed finds himself in a much better place now which was the feeling that I had after speaking with him, a few years after his separation from LIVE and onto his solo career. No jaded band members to tug along for the ride anymore either, only a strong sentiment for passion and the future. Since I’ve always viewed being in a band much like being in a marriage, you know that for some it’s great, and for others it’s more forced and unnatural. Somewhere along the way, the other person (or persons) can potentially lose that particular magic and end up chasing a fish that they will never lure inland the same exact way again.
After all of those years with Live (1991-2009) of bleeding soul and spirit on stage and in the studio, times change and you must move forward. Ed’s solo career is equal to the pedestal that many held Live to in their heyday. Think lyrical and vocal superiority in the rock music scene of not only yesterday but today as well.
I was able to catch up with Ed on the road:
DC LIFE MAGAZINE: You’re in the midst of your 20th anniversary tour for the renown “Throwing Copper” album by your former band Live. How’s it feeling running an entire album of that caliber from top to bottom instead of a mixture of songs throughout the years like a normal show?
ED KOWALCZYK: It feels great. It’s something I have never done before. We started running the entire album straight through in Australia and the reception was much better than we could have hoped for and that’s how this tour came about.
DC: When you think back to the making of Throwing Copper, what memories from the studio stick out the most?
EK: It was very speedy and a much more traditional budget that we were working with then. The entire time we were under the gun, it was very intense process. We recorded the album in Cannon Falls, MN in a blur of only a couple of weeks. A cool fact is that Nirvana recorded their last album, “In Utero” in the same studio as Throwing Copper was recorded.
DC: Your latest record, 2013’s The Flood and the Mercy and your previous solo effort, Alive, have this sense of energy I found on Throwing Copper. In the nicest way possible, I feel you needed to clear the brush and work with other musicians to get back to what you needed to do. What do you think?
EK: Oh absolutely. We (Live) were together for 20 years plus and it began to feel like an over and over routine. I guess you could you could say it was a natural progression for me to go out and re-connect with the fans and the world and it has been a remarkable and incredible experience.
DC: You are a supporter of World Vision. What can you tell me about this organization?
EK: Ever since I began my solo career and released my first album, which has been 5-6 years now, I have had a partnership with World Vision. With a focus on clean water. World Vision and myself have made an incredible reach to make it count for those in need in countries that don’t have access to clean water. A child under 5 dies every 30 seconds due to contaminated water and poor sanitation in underdeveloped parts of the world and World Vision and myself and you can work to change that. Water effect starts at only $17 a month.
DC: When you’re not playing in the US it seems your country of choice is Holland. What is the connection like there?
EK: The people in Holland have always been incredibly loyal and excited as well as very tuned in and their support for me is unique. I love playing there.
DC: Any artist these days that you really think have potential to do big things?
EK: Well, to start I am a spotify fanatic. As for a band that I am really enjoying I would say Alt-J. Other than that, 90% of the music I listen to is 1975 or before. I’m a pretty vintage kind of guy.
DC: We love food at DC Life Magazine. When you are on the road is there is there any meal or any restaurant that you know you have got to have asap?
EK: Everyone on my touring crew is a foodie but when we need to find something good and available then I would say a Chipotle burrito. I usually try to stay away from the red meat side of things though.
DC: Another thing that seems pretty obvious is your addiction to coffee. If you need someone to talk to about this, I’m here to talk to. Seriously.
EK: That’s funny you say that. One of my biggest trials on tour has been how to fit my pour over kettle into my luggage so that I can have coffee all the time. It’s not easy to fit into my suitcase.
You can find Ed Kowalczyk on facebook at facebook.com/edkowalczyk
Please visit World Vision at worldvision.com
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Cultural and Poetry Editor