Ed Roland used some quarantine time to form a new band, The Living Room. Photo: Contributed

Mic Check: Ed Roland uses quarantine to create a new band, The Living Room

Editor’s note: With live music and concert reviews on hold due to COVID-19, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is focusing on how Georgia musicians are spending their time in our new feature, Mic Check.

Some musicians are spending their self-quarantine time connecting with fans online.

Others are appreciating the forced time off from traveling by spending time with their families.

Ed Roland surpassed those ambitions and created a new band (and for the record, he also loves being with his family).

The Collective Soul frontman and bandmate Jesse Triplett are holed up in Sarasota, Florida. Former Collective Soul drummer Cheney Brannon and longtime engineer-producer Shawn Grove are paused because of the COVID-19 slowdown, too. So together, they formed the band The Living Room. The four richly melodic songs they produced can be found on YouTube and the Collective Soul Facebook page.

Collective Soul’s summer tour with Better Than Ezra has been disrupted; their June 21 date at Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park is canceled and a concert at Macon City Auditorium has been rescheduled for Sept. 18 (many other shows have new dates as well). Yet, Roland remains upbeat as he acclimates to the current music climate.

Here is what he had to say recently from his Sandy Springs home.

You’ve been really motivated while self-quarantining.

A few of us were down in Sarasota with recording gear, and I said, “Let’s start a new band and call it The Living Room.’” We didn’t want it to sound like Collective Soul or The Sweet Tea Project (Roland’s Americana side band), and we started talking about our favorite bands, and I said one of mine was The Cars. The last week there I woke up, wrote a couple of tunes, and we recorded (four songs) as a band in a 300-square foot living room. It was good to be among friends, but after that three weeks, we wanted to get back to our families, otherwise, we’d be stuck (in Florida) another month. It could have been miserable, but we made the best of it. The neighbors loved us, all the old ladies, we’d be walking in the neighborhood, and this one lady would be clapping her hands like, “Boys, time to get back to work!” We made the conscious effort not to turn the TV on, though we did watch (Dave) Chappelle.

What do you miss about life right now?

I miss touring. I miss my boys (in the band), though I love my family. I miss the fans, and I don’t think there will be meet-and-greets for the next few years as far as I can see. Our new album, “Vibrating,” was coming out in June, but I think we’ll have to hold off. These days, you release new music to promote the tour, but… So I went ahead and wrote the next record. As soon as all of this lifts a little bit, the band will come here, and we’ll finish it. (Being in a band) is part of our lives and you miss everyone. It’s no different than missing your wife or children. I’m a blessed man that we enjoy each other’s company. You get that adrenaline rush from being on stage, and (now) it’s a part of your life that’s lacking.

What are you listening to?

The Sex Pistols, “Never Mind the Bollocks,” U2’s most recent one (“Songs of Experience”), “Honky Chateau” from Elton (John), Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years,” Frank Sinatra’s “Platinum Collection.” I took my shower listening to The B-52s.

How does the concert forecast look from your perspective?

I think it’s going to be 2021 for sure. I don’t think there’s a date, but my guess is not this year. I think in time, all this too shall pass. I know in America we’ll figure it out somehow, and we’ll readjust. Believe me, I’d love to be playing Eddie’s Attic tonight if I could. I want to be positive about this, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. It’s not just the health of people but the economy. If someone has been struggling financially, is the first thing they’re gonna do is spend $50 on a concert ticket?

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About the Author

Melissa Ruggieri
Melissa Ruggieri
Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for the AJC. She remembers when MTV was awesome.  
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