The four members of Collective Soul spent nearly three months in lead vocalist Ed Roland’s South Carolina lakeside cabin earlier this year, swimming, playing Ping-Pong, and most importantly, writing and recording their latest release, due out August 25. Their second self-titled album, referred to as the “rabbit record” because of its striking bunny-centric cover image, takes fans back to the band’s early music—radio-friendly rock songs such as “Shine”—and away from the slickly produced sounds of their last two releases. “The process was going back to the way we did it in the beginning, and I think there’s a lot of the rawness that was there when we first started,” says rhythm guitarist Dean Roland. “We didn’t rely on too many production tricks this time. The intent was to kind of strip it down.”
Last time the band found themselves recording in a cabin, it was 1996. They had sold more than 7 million albums but were still living in their parents’ basements because a messy, eighteen-month legal battle with then-manager Bill Richardson had frozen their assets. A secluded shack in rural Georgia gave their music a home when they could not afford a recording studio. The resulting album, Disciplined Breakdown, contained an edge of lyrical bitterness that is, thankfully, missing from the new material.
Dean Roland’s favorite track from the rabbit record is the melodic, mid-tempo “You,” which debuted at The Tabernacle during March’s Benefit Concert for Darfur and calls to mind the band’s 1995 hit “The World I Know.” “You” also marks the first time the entire band has contributed to a single song. “The lyrics are, I think, some of the best Ed’s ever written,” says Dean. In a matter of perfect timing, Collective Soul will be entered into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame next month.
Photograph by Joseph Guay