Collective Soul continues its legacy with new album


Collective Soul. 8 p.m. Oct. 3. $32.50-$38. The Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St., Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000,

Ed Roland’s house is exactly what you would expect.

It’s a tasteful, manicured structure on a Sandy Springs cul-de-sac. Nothing flashy, but still befitting a guy who, along with his bandmates in Collective Soul, commanded ’90s rock radio with seven No. 1 hits — and invested wisely.

His lovable goldendoodle, Trooper — a present for wife Michaeline, but the kind of snuggly pup who would probably hop in the car with anyone who smiles at him — bops around and excitedly leads the way to Roland’s downstairs studio.

It was here, in an impeccably lighted room showcasing Roland’s collection of 150-plus guitars, that the latest addition to Collective Soul’s oeuvre was recorded throughout the past year.

“See What You Started By Continuing,” the band’s ninth studio album and first in six years, arrives Oct. 2. The following night, Collective Soul’s 49-date See What You Started tour makes a hometown stop at the Tabernacle.

That the show falls on the same night as the Georgia Bulldogs-Alabama Crimson Tide game and the day before the Foo Fighters seize Centennial Olympic Park isn’t lost on Roland, a Stockbridge native who loves his sports and rock ’n’ roll.

“Playing the same day as the Georgia-Alabama game is not Collective Soul’s idea of a date in Atlanta!” Roland said. “And then with the Foo Fighters the next day? We were like, WHAT are you doing? You’re messing with the SEC and Foo Fighters. I can’t think of two worse things to mess with!

“It definitely wasn’t by our design, trust me. But it is what it is, and we’re so appreciative of everyone who is going to come out.”

At age 52 — and 22 years after the staccato guitar alt-rocker “Shine” debuted on college radio — Roland is visibly and frequently grateful.

He and brother Dean, who plays rhythm guitar, and bassist Will Turpin remain as the core trio. Drummers and lead guitarists have rotated throughout the years, but Roland is authentically effusive when discussing Johnny Rabb, Collective Soul’s drummer since 2012, and Jesse Triplett, their lead guitarist as of last year. “See What You Started By Continuing” marks the first Collective Soul recording for both.

“It’s my dream band,” Roland said. “(Those guys) coming into the band has really been a kick in Dean and Will and I’s (behind). They’re great musicians. They’re fun to be around. They reassured us of what we had accomplished as a band. We’ve never been the band that the press has loved, for reasons I don’t know, and that’s cool. And sometimes you can let that sink in and get bitter, but (the new members) came in and said, you guys kick (butt) and we’re proud to be part of it.”

It’s true that, despite a chart run that included juicy guitar riffers “Gel” and “Precious Declaration” and glistening swoopers “The World I Know” and “December,” the critical assessment of Collective Soul wasn’t always kind. (A 1994 Entertainment Weekly review snidely called “Shine” a “power ballad for 13-year-old girls” and praised the band’s “lovely haircuts.”)

But the Georgia music community showed its respect for the band’s legacy by inducting them into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2009. Last year, the institution instated Roland separately for a songwriting honor.

“This is a band that didn’t sell out or sacrifice their integrity to be a ‘flavor of the month,’ so witnessing a success like that was very moving,” said Michele Caplinger, senior executive director of the Atlanta chapter of the Recording Academy. “What a great musical gift they are to the state.”

Roland harbors no expectations that the songs on “See What You Started By Continuing” — muscular as they are — will gain traction at rock radio. It’s a challenge Collective Soul has endured from the days of MTV’s alternative-rock “120 Minutes” show, which ignored the band’s videos despite their formidable radio presence.

“I think a lot of it had to do with my voice, that it wasn’t ‘rock’ enough,” Roland said. “We were always in between genres and we always just didn’t give a damn. We’re very comfortable with what we are now. We should have been back then. But we definitely are now.”

Fans of Collective Soul’s distinctive sound — the power-buzz guitar, Roland’s sweetly gritty vocals (the “chicken voice” as he calls it) and meticulously structured melodies — will find much to relish on the new album.

Leadoff track “This,” inspired by Michaeline’s efforts to entice her husband back to bed before leaving for a road trip, wallops so intensely that earphones are highly suggested, while “Hurricane” pulses with serrated guitar and “AYTA (Are You the Answer)” reinforces the band’s expert touch with a layered ballad.

Caplinger recently attended a Collective Soul performance in New Orleans that featured plenty of what she called their “foolproof, I dare you not to dance, hook-driven” hits, along with many of the new songs.

“I thought it was just me caught in a lusty musical trance, but everyone around me was totally immersed and invested in the new material as well, and that moment of endorsement filled my heart,” she said. “They’re one of those bands that continues to perfect their craft by penning and performing infectious music that comes from a pure and true place, and it shows.”

Roland acknowledges that he’s a better songwriter than he was two decades ago and affirms the same of his bandmates’ skills.

“Will has played the best bass I’ve heard him play. Dean, the same way. He’s always been very quiet and timid in the studio, but this time he was like, ‘No! Hear me!’,” Roland said with a chuckle.

Some of the artistic and personal growth can be attributed to the time the three members spent taking a step back from their anchor band and pursuing other projects.

Dean Roland formed the ethereal Magnets and Ghosts with musician Ryan Potesta in 2010 (the band will open some of Collective Soul's West Coast dates); Turpin released the solo album "The Lighthouse" in 2011; and Roland continues to moonlight with his rootsy side band, Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project (they'll play on the final four dates of the Collective Soul tour).

Roland also will return to Eddie’s Attic Dec. 14-16 for his annual spate of Christmas benefit concerts.

“Having the time off, everyone taking a breath, looking back and going, ‘We’ve done all right’ … that doesn’t come from arrogance, it comes from confidence, and there’s a big difference,” Roland said.

Through the end of November, he and the band will traverse the country. While, in the past, the combination of travel and boredom might have led to a vicious cycle of bad habits (“You start to go, ‘Eh, I think I’ll do this to pass the time.’ And, before you know it, six months you’ve been passing the time,” Roland said with a wry smile), the band is committed to maintaining a clean lifestyle.

Roland looks healthy and fit, which he attributes to sleep, 20-minute bouts of cardio on an elliptical machine, marrying a younger woman and being a dad to sons Lennon, 6, and Lindsey, 17.

At this stage of his life, family remains his priority and one of the primary reasons he’s remained in Atlanta (the single Dean, whom Ed Roland lovingly calls a “gypsy,” moved to Los Angeles last year).

“I really pride this band on our Southern heritage and Southern culture — and I don’t mean Confederate flag crap. I mean the kindness, the niceness, the thoughtfulness,” Roland said. “My mom is still here. Michaeline’s parents are still here. I’ve learned to love growing up here to see the diversity the city offers that I want my children raised in. I want them to see how all types of people, all religions, come together and act as human beings, and Atlanta offers that. It really does.”