It was no way to open a tour.
The band Live was playing in Burlington, Vt. But a snowstorm kept drummer Chad Gracey from making the gig.
So the rest of Live - singer Ed Kowalczyk, guitarist Chad Taylor and So the rest of Live - singer Ed Kowalczyk, guitarist Chad Taylor and bassist Patrick Dahlheimer - did the unplugged thing. Their booking agent even took the drum chair for “bad versions of a couple of Jimi Hendrix songs,” according to Kowalczyk.
It worked. Nobody left, and only two people asked for their money back - after the show.
“We take everything in stride nowadays,” says Kowalczyk, 23. “There’s so much going on, it’s so intense, you just have to take it as it comes.”
Quite a bit has come Live’s way since the release a year ago of the York, Pa., quartet’s second album “Throwing Copper.” It’s sold 1.5 million copies and launched the hits “Selling the Drama,” “I Alone” and “Lightning Crashes.” The latter has topped Billboard’s Modern Rock chart for the past four weeks.
Live played at Woodstock ‘94, and it recently filmed an MTV “Unplugged” segment that will air in April. The group is frequently mentioned as a Lollapalooza headliner, but Kowalczyk says no formal invitation has been extended yet.
“I’ll reserve comment on what we’re going to do if we’re asked,” he says. “Let’s say I wouldn’t look for us on Lollapalooza this summer.”
What clicked for Live, which the four formed to play ‘80s new wave while they were in high school? Unquestionably, it was a second album whose majestic dynamics and probing, philosophical lyrics represented a significant leap forward from the group’s 1992 debut, “Mental Jewelry.”
“With ‘Mental Jewelry,’ we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get something happening,” says Kowalczyk. “I think we lost some of the personality in the music. ‘Throwing Copper’s‘ mission was to begin to get some of that back. I mean, we’re basically hicks, y’know?
“There’s a lot of spirituality and hope in our music that I think people are catching onto.”
For album No. 3, Kowalczyk promises something “looser and more experimental” than the mannered arrangements on “Throwing Copper.”
And while his ambivalent feelings about Live’s success may surface, he does promise restraint: “I don’t want our next record to be about how much I hated getting famous.”