There aren’t many bands left from the golden age of alternative rock in the 90s, but Collective Soul is one of the few. The Stockbridge, Georgia act is still going strong, with vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Ed Roland, his brother Dean on rhythm guitar and bassist Will Turpin being the creative core since 1992. Everyone knows the hits of the group “Shine”, “December”, and “The World I Know”, and they have released 10 studio albums over their 30-year career. They actually have an 11th LP on the way with “Vibrating” which will be released through their label Fuzz-Flex Records on August 12. A few days before the disc unveiling, they will be coming to Indian Ranch in Webster on August 6 as part of their national tour with Switchfoot.
Some things have changed within Collective Soul over the past three decades. They’ve matured as people while welcoming new members into the fold, but they still love being in a band together and all that.
“It could be a two-hour documentary, but we’ve matured as musicians,” Turpin says of the band’s growth over the past 30 years. “I feel like when we walk into the studio these days, there’s this level of musicianship and artistry that we’ve developed over the years that’s super strong. I’m really happy with the new record, I’m happy with all of them. I think our previous album ‘Blood’ is one of the strongest albums we’ve ever done, but we’ve evolved in all kinds of ways musically and personally, we all have families now.The original Collective Soul band was a small town affair, the five of us were tight as a rope in Stockbridge.
“Over the years things have happened of course,” Turpin says. “Now we’ve had Johnny Rabb on drums for over a decade and Jesse Triplett has worked with us on lead guitar for over eight years. The unit we have now is different, but in my mind we’re more strong now. It’s art so it’s a continuous evolution, it’s a bit hard to describe in so few words but we still enjoy each other’s company. We still do a lot of the same things that made us laugh when we were 23 and on the road for the first time. Getting into the studio is always a process that we love and we always love performing live in front of our fans.
Outside of Collective Soul, Turpin has his own reputable solo career with his backing band, The Way, often accompanying him on live performances. His main band definitely influences the way he records and writes, which he considers “his life’s work”.
“It’s an ever-evolving process with what you experiment with and what you do in the studio,” Turpin says of his solo career. “As many records as Collective Soul has done, it definitely influences the way I record my own music. My solo stuff mostly starts on a piano or a Rhodes and it just flows. I just go by feel. With Collective Soul , I’m more in charge of the beats on bass, I make sure the rhythm section is ripping with Johnny, the turnarounds are exciting and how we go from phrase to phrase so it sounds really cool I also have to focus on the lyrics of my music and I consider Ed Roland among the best of our peers when it comes to lyrics I co-wrote a few songs with Ed but with my solo stuff I wear a slightly different hat.
“I start the songs myself with these melodies in my head that I turn into music,” he adds. “I sometimes include my bandmates, but most of the time I do everything. It depends on the song, but Collective Soul definitely influences what I do as a solo artist.
The group released two singles, “All Our Pieces” and “Cut The Cord”, before the release of “Vibrating”. Turpin describes the former as a song you can drive down the road and shake your head to, while saying the latter is a straight riff rock song.
“Listen to it and put your ears to it,” he said. “They’re a rock band that still rocks, when we walk into the studio, we’re comfortable and we know how to focus on what we’re going to do very quickly. I’m super proud of it and it comes down to an energetic emotion, everything is in the album.