Where were you in ’99?
If you were a news junkie, you watched Texas governor George W. Bush emerge as the front-runner for President in a crowded field of Republican hopefuls. If you subscribed to HBO, you were hooked to a new series called “The Sopranos.” If movies were your thing, you were mesmerized by the special effects in “The Matrix.”
And if you were listening to the radio, there was no escaping Collective Soul’s “Dosage.”
The 1999 album featured two monster hits (“Heavy” and “Run”) that pushed the band to new creative heights and firmly established them as the most radio friendly band of the ’90s.
The super group charted an astounding seven No. 1 hits and 19 Top 40 singles in a seven-year period. They received more airtime on the radio than any other band of its era including Nirvana, Pearl Jam, R.E.M. and Oasis.
Their hook-laden guitar anthems and powerfully melodic songs propelled them to international stardom, multi-platinum status and put their hometown of Stockbridge, Ga., on the map.
Billed as “An Evening with Collective Soul,” the quintet will return to Tempe’s Marquee at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 6, where they will perform “Dosage” in its entirety. Along with “Dosage,” fans will hear additional tunes from the band’s catalog such as “Shine,” “December,” “The World I Know,” “Where The River Flows” and a new song or two from its upcoming studio album.
The lineup features Ed Roland on lead vocals, Dean Roland on rhythm guitar, Joel Kosche on lead guitar, Will Turpin on bass guitar, and newcomer Johnny Rabb on drums.
In an exclusive interview with the Ahwatukee Foothills News, Collective Soul co-founder Turpin discusses the group’s landmark album, how a recent tween flick regenerated the band, and celebrating two decades of making music.
Q: How did the idea come about to perform “Dosage” in its entirety?
WT: The group decided in January that we needed to go out on tour and say hello to our fans again. We had been doing the “Weekend Warrior” gigs here and there over the past few years, but haven’t been on an official tour since 2010. We are a little overcritical of ourselves at times and so we always want to come off as sounding fresh. This time around we don’t have a new record to support so we knew we needed a different approach. We’ve always loved it when other bands have played an entire album in concert from beginning to end, so that’s what we decided to do. From there, the conversation went to “Which one do we do?” We were all pretty much on the same page and we narrowed it down to our second album (“Collective Soul”), also known as the blue record, or “Dosage.” We mulled it over for a couple of weeks and decided on “Dosage.”
Q: It’s been a dozen years since “Dosage” was released. How do you feel about the album today?
WT: It was a very special moment in time for Collective Soul. Each album is memorable in its own way, but with “Dosage,” we really wanted to take our time. The feeling was, “Let’s enjoy this moment, let’s enjoy each other and let’s make a great record.” We usually spent on average about four weeks on each of our previous albums, but on “Dosage” we spent about four months in Miami. We all rented homes on the beach and at times it felt like living in a rock-n-roll frat house. It was a magical time and we were riding a wave of success that a lot of bands never even get a chance to see. Musically and personally, we really bonded and came together for that album.
Q: “Dosage” was recorded at the legendary Criteria Recording Studios, which has produced some great records over the years. Was that intimidating?
WT: We definitely noticed all the gold records on the walls and knew its history when we entered the place. The funny thing is we acted like a bunch of overgrown kids most of the time. The studio had a foosball table and in the same room there were recording masters on the wall. We got pretty animated when it came to competition. When someone lost a game, there were some heated arguments and flailing of the arms. I’d have to say, “Hold on now, before you do anything crazy that’s a James Brown master recording behind your head.” The stuff on those walls belonged in a museum or in a vault.
Q: What role did hit-making producer Anthony J. Resta have in the shaping of “Dosage?”
WT: His style is all over that record. For some reason the word “soundscaping” comes to mind. He’d create these incredible handcrafted and atmospheric keyboard sounds for the songs. For example, he created the introduction to “Tremble For My Beloved.” His forte was programming, building and manipulating sounds. He has an incredible ear for music and sounds, and in hindsight, we’ve done some of our best work with him.
Q: “Dosage” produced two mega-hits (“Heavy” and “Run”) but almost a decade later, “Tremble For My Beloved,” the album’s opening number, was featured on the “Twilight” soundtrack. What impact did that have on the band?
WT: It gave us a huge shot in the arm. Soundtracks have a way of perpetuating the life of the song and when you’re involved with something as popular as “Twilight,” it opens up a lot of new territory. Stephenie Meyer, who is the author of the “Twilight” books, is a big fan of Collective Soul and she handpicked every song on the entire first soundtrack. We’ve been fortunate in our career to have those moments. “Run” was on the “Varsity Blues” soundtrack and “She Said” was on the “Scream 2” soundtrack. Soundtracks widen your exposure to people who might not normally pay attention to your music. I can look back on my youth and the soundtrack for “Singles” played a very big role in my life. It was just as popular as any Alice in Chains or Pearl Jam record and exposed me to a lot of great music. “Twilight” has exposed us to a new generation of fans. I remember seeing a lot of young kids at one of our shows after the movie came out and they knew “Hollywood” and “Tremble For My Beloved.” Then when we’d play something older like “December” or “Shine” you could almost read their lips: “I didn’t know they played that song?” It was almost verbatim every night there for a while. It’s great. We’ve been around for almost two decades but with certain generations, there are dots that need to be connected and those soundtracks are invaluable.
Q: “Dosage” was a technological marvel in its day. That said, is it easy or hard to re-create the album in a live setting?
WT: There are a few songs where you might notice we’ve done something different than the record. We look at them as songs, not model airplanes where if you don’t glue them together in the right way they don’t fit. As a musician and artist, I take major pride in the fact that we can perform multiple songs in many different ways and still feel like the crowd is going to enjoy them as much as they would the recorded version.
Q: You’re coming back to Tempe’s Marquee Theater where you’ve played many times before. Does the Phoenix area hold any special memories for you?
WT: We’ve always had great shows and crowds in Phoenix. Always full if not sold out shows in the area. On a personal level, I like Phoenix because of the great biking trails there. I like to ride my bike because I experience the area on a much more personal basis. I love the vibe of the desert.
Q: Collective Soul will embark on its 20th anniversary next year. What’s it like to play with the same group of people for almost two decades?
WT: When we’re back at home and not on the road, we’re able to do our solo projects, play with different people and keep things fresh. But to answer your question, it’s been a real gift to be in Collective Soul. I’m a very emotional guy and there are times when I’m on stage and I can tell when another member is having a moment. I don’t know if it’s a flashback or if that person is wondering how fortunate they are or they’re just getting into the music. It’s been an awesome ride to be able to create music with people I’m so close to.
Q: For people who have never been to one of your shows, what can they expect?
WT: The No. 1 priority is for everyone to have a good time. On this tour, we’re approaching the show as performance art. I think we’ve always been an exceptional live band, but we’re trying to take it musically to another level. The first half of the show where we perform “Dosage” is going to be more of a performance art piece and then the second half is a more traditional rock concert. We’re going to take the band and the audience to a very special moment in time.
The Marquee Theatre is at 730 N. Mill Ave. in Tempe. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $25 in advance and available at www.luckymanonline.com. For more information, call the Marquee Theatre box office at (480) 829-0707.
• Marshall Terrill is a freelance journalist who resides in the Phoenix area. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.