2017 marked a triumphant return for the reunited original lineup of +LIVE+. The band performed 26 shows–including major festivals such as Austin City Limits, Lollapalooza and Arroyo Seco; a run of arena dates with Guns N’ Roses; and solo headlining shows–in five different countries. A recap trailer of their achievements can be viewed here. +LIVE+—Ed Kowalczyk (vocals, guitar), Chad Taylor (guitar, backing vocals), Patrick Dahlheimer (bass) and Chad Gracey (drums, percussion)–will move forward into the new year with excitement as they prepare to announce additional tour dates and release a new single in the spring, their first new music since the reunion (all details TBA).
See a Q&A below with Ed Kowalczyk and Chad Taylor recapping the year and discussing what they envision for 2018.
2017 also celebrated the 25th anniversary release (8/11 via Radioactive/Geffen/Ume)of the band’s 1991 debut full-length album, MENTAL JEWELRY, produced by Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads. The remastered deluxe reissue was released digitally and physically featuring an unreleased studio track (“Born Branded”)from the album’s original sessions; a club remix of “Pain Lies On The Riverside” by Public Enemy producer, Hank Shocklee; two songs from the band’s September 1991 EP Four Songs; and an unreleased 1992 full concert at The Roxy in Los Angeles.
**Q&A WITH WITH ED KOWALCZYK AND CHAD TAYLOR**
Q: Congrats on your big reunion year, with well-received worldwide shows and critical acclaim. Did the reunion tour meet or surpass your expectations of what LIVE as a band could be in the year in 2017?
ED KOWALCZYK: It was such an amazing year full of so many wonderful moments. I would have to say it absolutely exceeded everyone’s expectations. We are really sounding better than ever and our chemistry on and off stage is just at another level. We can feel it and I’m sure the fans can sense that this isn’t some one-off “reunion” where everyone sort of phones it in and then goes about their business. LIVE is back and better than ever at every level.
CHAD TAYLOR: I hung out backstage with Jerry Harrison right after LIVE performed at BottleRock. He was clearly moved by our performance and was beaming like a proud musical father. I felt somewhat guilty sharing how amazing it felt to be back on stage with my brothers, knowing Jerry would love to be reunited with his Talking Heads bandmates. I said, “don’t wait” and I meant it. This feeling, of a reunited LIVE, is magical.
Q: Looking back at 2017, can you describe the experience of playing together as a band in front of audiences who were really pumped to see you? Any highlights?
TAYLOR: By the time LIVE hit the stage at Lollapalooza, we were performing at our very best. Something about the reunion renewed our energy and spirit. The band and our fans have been on fire, like nuclear hot sauce. I’m blown away with how passionate our fan base is. Now I can’t wait to elevate things to an even higher level with new tunes. A clear highlight for me was performing alongside the legendary Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers [at Arroyo Seco]. The band sounded silky smooth, with their signature, never rushed, summer-sound. Mike Campbell is a guitar hero of mine, and Petty himself was a very important influence in my songwriting. Those are two shows I’ll never forget.
KOWALCZYK: The festivals were so amazing. During every show there was a palpable sense of joy in the audience. People were just so happy to see us come full circle, reunited and sounding so strong. Highlight for me was watching Dave Grohl in my periphery rockin’ out to our set at Voodoo Fest in New Orleans. I hadn’t seen Dave in years and by the smile on his face, I could tell he was catching a good bit of the “LIVE-joy” as well…it’s contagious!
Q: Looking ahead to 2018, we understand you will be touring again worldwide and have plans for a new single to be recorded in the new year and released sometime in the spring. Can you talk about the excitement of recording again, starting out with a single first?
KOWALCZYK: It was by design that we went out and played these amazing festivals first, before putting any music out. We wanted the inspiration that we anticipated would be massive from the fans to be in our hearts when we went into a studio/recording period. It worked like a charm. I am more excited than ever to hit the studio with the boys and put out some kick-ass music asap..stay tuned!
TAYLOR: At this very moment, our recording studio in York is all vibes, literally setting the stage for what should be our most adventurous writing session in years. Ed and I have been woodshedding and I’m really encouraged by our songwriting progress. Performing on stage, at all the shows throughout 2017, has us really ready to rock, something I know our fans have been wanting. Most important, we’re having so much f**kingfun being in and enjoying our band!