by MIKE CHAIKEN
If you go
Who: Collective Soul
Where and when: The Big E, 875 Memorial Ave., West Springfield on Friday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge, Ridgefield on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 8 p.m.
TheBigE.com, RidgefieldPlayhouse.org, CollectiveSoul.com
The title of Collective Soul’s latest album is called “Blood.”
In press materials promoting the release, the band explains the word “Blood” has many meanings. But in the case of the new album, the band says “Blood” means family: either those to whom you are related or those who are your close friends.
Such as your bandmates.
The group’s drummer, Johnny Rabb, said family is key for any touring musician.
Rabb said Collective Soul spends most of its time on the road, with the members separated from those loved ones.
Their family may be miles away, said Rabb, but the band members find themselves together for an hour and a half on stage, and another 22 ½ hours off stage.
“We count on each other,” said Rabb.
Rabb said he’s been in a bands where the members don’t get along. He said, “Trust me…it’ not fun.”
The group members – who beside Rabb are lead singer E Roland, rhythm guitarist Dean Roland, bassist Will Turpin, and lead guitarist Jesse Triplett – do have some ups and downs, said Rabb. Most families do.
But overall, from the crew members to the band itself, Rabb said, it’s a brotherhood.
Collective Soul is celebrating its 25th anniversary on a tour that stops at the Big E on Sept. 27 and the Ridgefield Playhouse on Oct. 1.
Rabb said Collective Soul is still vibrant because it continues to mine its own sound.
There also was a shot of creative adrenaline injected into the band when he and Triplett signed on board.
Collective Soul, he said, has now reached a level of creativity that E has always wanted it to be.
And, Rabb said, even after 25 years, Collective Soul keeps moving forward.
Rabb said the band has been on a high as of late. Musically, the members are super tight. E has been writing a lot of music and writing with purpose. The group also has been recording a lot.
They’ve been recording so much, said Rabb, that even though “Blood” was just released in July, Collective Soul already has another album in the can.
There has been a lot of younger fan interest in the bands of the 1990s. Rob Thomas and Matchbox 20 still sell out arenas as does the Goo Goo Dolls. Groups like Bush, Live, and Our Lady Peace have toured with great accolades from the fans. And Green Day has returned with new music.
The bands of the 1990s had timeless songs, said Rabb, explaining the resurgence of that era.
When the band takes the stage at Ridgefield Playhouse, the members of Collective Soul will find themselves in a much more intimate setting than an arena (such as the one at the Big E). Rabb said he likes to have the fans in close like that. It allows for better communication between the members and the fans. The close proximity also provides the group with instant feedback when they can see the reaction of fans all the way to the back of the venue.
Even though Collective Soul often plays the same songs for each show, he said the band recognizes that for many in the audience, this will be the first time they’ve heard the song live. So he said Collective Soul tries to inject each song with the same kind of energy that comes from playing a song on tour for the first time.
Collective Soul performs at the Big E, 875 Memorial Ave., West Springfield on Friday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. The band also performs at the Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge, Ridgefield on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 8 p.m.
For information, visit theBigE.com, RidgefieldPlayhouse.org, or CollectiveSoul.com.