By Dominique Wald
After taking a year off, the group is back and preparing for the release of its ninth album. Collective Soul is also about to reach an impressive milestone — the band is turning 21.
Lead singer Ed Roland says he and his bandmates are celebrating the only way they know.
“Going out and playing live is the most appropriate celebration,” Roland said. “In what other job do you experience people applauding and cheering for you?”
Fans will have the chance to join the celebration Saturday when Collective Soul takes the stage at Rockin’ on the River in Clarkston.
The Georgia-based band first emerged in 1993, during the rise of alternative grunge, with its rock anthem “Shine,” which led it to international fame. Collective Soul’s debut album was a collection of demos, which Roland released on an indie label, that gained popularity through the college scene. It was picked up for a major-label release, and the rest, as they say, is history.
After a whirlwind of Top 40 hits and arena tours, the band recently decided to take a year off.
“Each person in the group was trying to find themselves as an individual, and that was hard when everything for so long was all about Collective Soul,” Roland said. “I can honestly say that after 20 years and after taking that break, we’re better at what we do and we’re more confident.”
Collective Soul’s crossover appeal speaks volumes about its devoted fan base, which ranges from current college students to older fans who have been there since the beginning. Roland said the secret to the band’s success will always remain a mystery to him.
“I wish I knew the answer, but I think any music done from the heart is good music,” Roland said. “You don’t have to like it, but you have to respect it.”
After spending two decades together , Roland is happy the band’s giddy excitement has not gone away. Moments before taking stage, Roland said, the group can be seen goofing around backstage like “little kids.”
“We’ve had the most fun we’ve ever had in our life, and that honest love we have for each other doesn’t go away,” he said.
Collective Soul’s latest album, “See What You Started by Continuing,” is scheduled to be released Oct. 2.
More information on Rockin’ on the River can be found at www.rockinontheriver.org.
If you go
What: Collective Soul at Rockin’ on the River
When: Gates open at 3 p.m. Saturday, show starts at 4 p.m.
Where: Dave’s Valley Golf, Clarkston
Cost: Tickets can be purchased for $32 in advance at A&B Foods, Rosauers, Lancer Lanes & Casino, Heights Family Foods and Rick’s Family Foods, or online at www.ticketswest.com. Tickets will also be sold at the door for $40.