AMSTERDAM – Rock group Live conquered America in the early 90's. Europe and the rest of the world followed later, due to hits like The Dolphin's Cry and Overcome. The band fell apart over a business conflict. Now it seems the legal struggle of Live against former frontman Ed Kowalczyk (38) is casting its shadow over the release of his solo debut Alive. The singer denies all allegations. “I've never done anything dishonest”, he states.
According to the charge, Kowalczyk signed a contract in 2005 that put him as the sole signature of the band's publishing company Black Coffee. Furthermore, he demanded a 100.000 dollar lead singer bonus for a surprise concert at the 2009 Pinkpop Festival in Holland.
In June last year, right after the Pinkpop incident, Live announced that the band would be taking a two-year hiatus. Kowalczyk started a solo career, the other band members focused on their side project The Gracious Few. That the hiatus would turn out to be the end of Live, was no surprise for Kowalczyk. “I don't think I really ever get a writer's block, but you can get an interest block. You're not passionate, there's something missing. It was a process over a few years where I was feeling like I had come to the end of a chapter.”
Whereas Kowalczyk says the break-up followed from lack of interest on his part, the other band members, Chad Taylor, Patrick Dahlmeier, and Chad Gracey, pointed at Kowalczyk's avarice. The bonus affair was discussed in a message on guitarist Taylor's weblog. “That's a mischaracterization of what happened that day”, Kowalczyk counters. “It was a last minute offer [to play at Pinkpop, red.] and there were already arrangements in the studio made that couldn't be changed. There were budgetary issues going on.” Kowalczyk thinks his solo aspirations formed a problem for the other Live members. “It wasn't a very popular decision. The truth is that I've never done anything dishonest. That's the truth.”
With the release of debut album Alive, Kowalczyk wants to put an end to a difficult period. Also Taylor seems to have grown tired of the situation, following a recent message on his weblog: 'We’ve all had a chance to vent our frustrations, anger and anxiety but now its time to heal through forgiveness. [...] I made a huge mistake venting in a public forum and I deeply regret it.' The future will show if Live ever makes a restart.
Alive was released on June 25th via V2
Ed Kowalczyk live: edkowalczyk.com/tour-dates
Interview: Martin Kuiper
Text: Tom Springveld