Formed in the early '90s as an outlet for work that he had created during his years as a sound engineer in his native Georgia, Collective Soul released its first product, Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid, on the indie label Rising Storm Records and lived quietly until it caught the attention of Central Florida college radio. The song “Shine” became a sleeper hit.
Based entirely on the popularity of that song and the interest generated for the band, Collective Soul (featuring Ed’s younger brother Dean on guitars) signed with Atlantic Records, and their hard-rock balladry got lumped with the
Their biggest hit, “Shine,” was briefly embroiled in controversy when eternal whiner Billy Corgan claimed the catchy and unforgettable guitar riff had been stolen from the Smashing Pumpkins’ track “Drown.” Corgan lost that lawsuit when Roland was able to provide a demo version predating the Pumpkins’ song. “Shine” has since become an anthem synonymous with '90s music, the spiritual lyric “Heaven let your light shine down” oft-quoted between the “
In the span of five studio albums with Atlantic, the band experienced a gradual decrease in success having mostly to do with studio experimentation and the bizarre pursuit of more pop-driven sounds, which were a considerable departure from the less-polished and more organic sound that ingrained them into the decade’s soundtrack.
Since 2000’s Blender, its last album with Atlantic, the band has continued refocusing its sound. On October 2, it'll release its ninth effort, See What You Started by Continuing, a supposed return to their early-'90s form – banking on that heavy guitar sound that put the band on the map.
Will it be enough to help define a new decade’s sound? Probably not, but as a document of persistence and of continued reevaluation as a band, it is a testament to Roland’s vision that he has continued where others have completely fallen off track. Maybe it's time to finally fully strip Collective Soul of the “grunge” label and appreciate it instead as the rock 'n' roll band it's always been, even when studio tinkering made it more pop-wannabe drivel.
Collective Soul’s The See What You Started Tour with Kick the Robot at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 1, at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale. General-admission tickets cost $30.50 in advance and $33 day of show. Call 954-449-1025, or visit jointherevolution.net.