The Fight Years of Collective Soul Guitarist Joel Kosche

Joel KoscheIt’s no secret that Collective Soul love Vancouver and the feeling is obviously mutual, as nearly every show the band performs here is sold out regardless of venue size. Rockstar Weekly recently had an opportunity to interview Collective Soul’s guitarist, Joel Kosche, about why the mutual love fest, and touched on Joel’s first solo effort, Fight Years.
Rockstar Weekly: Collective Soul were in town performing two shows during the Olympics last year –how was the response to the shows and did the band get a chance to take in any Olympic events while here?
Joel Kosche: From what I remember of those performances, both nights were equally fantastic. And we did get to see the Olympic Torch go by. Ed (lead singer) got a chance to hold it later that weekend as well. I think a couple of the guys in the band went to see a few of the events. It was a pretty packed weekend.
RSW: When the band was in Vancouver for their last show, Ed Roland thanked Vancouverites for allowing the band to ‘over-saturate’ the market up here, and for being so responsive to the band/shows, is that one reason why Vancouver seems almost a second home to you guys? Is there a danger of over saturation when a band tours as much as Collective Soul does?
JK: Sure. Especially for a band like us who tours seemingly nonstop. And yes, for some reason we always have great shows up there. I can’t explain it – it’s just great Rock + Roll energy in your city.
RSW: Collective Soul does tour almost non-stop! Does the band have any input in where you perform? How do the cities get chosen?
JK: We have a booking agent that handles the touring end. Just tell us where to go and what time to be there! We can always express to our management where we would like to play but it really comes down to routing and what works best scheduling-wise.
RSW: Collective Soul just finished the last concert date, and rumor is you’ll all be heading back into the studio to start your 9th album- any rough completion date?
JK: No, it’s way too early at this point. Ask us again in a month or two.
RSW: Collective Soul’s last album, Self Titled, was more of a collaborative effort amongst all band members than the previous two albums (written mostly by Ed Roland) Ed often introduces one of the songs at the shows as ‘the first song the band has written together’. Was it a painful exercise at the beginning, learning to work together on ideas – or did it just flow?
JK: Painful? No…  collaborating with other people is much like learning another (new) instrument. The more you practice and do it, the better you’ll become with it. The song ‘YOU’ came together effortlessly, and has a great energy to it.
RSW: So you anticipate more band collaboration this with the new album?
JK: I sure hope so, “You” came together effortlessly and had a great energy about it.
RSW: Last year Dean Roland (guitarist) joined Twitter to great response from the fans. Do you anticipate the same sort of lead up to the new album?
JK: I don’t know, there’s just so many damn social-networking sites out there right now you could spend all day fooling with that stuff! I’m sure we’ll do something though, it’s cool to hear directly from the fans in real-time.
RSW: Collective Soul recently played to (rumoured) over 100,00 fans in Peru – and Ed has told audiences that he loves playing Casino shows as he can “see the entire audience, look them in the eyes” – do you have a preference for show size?
JK: If we played to an audience of 100,000 people in Peru we wouldn’t have come back! I think it was more like 8 or 10 thousand. Still pretty incredible for a band that has had virtually no presence in South America. Anyway, that question comes up all the time and really it just boils down to two different kind of energies. Each one is incredibly powerful and moving but in different ways.
RSW: Did you get to explore any of Peru while you were there for the show? How did the people react to you personally?
JK: Yes a little bit – we went shopping and out to eat at a few places. The people of Peru are awesome! Really beautiful, passionate people..
RSW: You recently released a solo album called Fight Years – rumor is that it took nearly 8 yrs to record and release – can you enlighten us on why so long?
JK: I’m not sure it sounds any better- but it only took me three years to record “Fight Years”, not eight. Now, it took me my whole life to write it! I think all things considered though I did pretty good. In that time it took me to record “Fight Years,” I recorded one full-length Steve Walsh record (that I played guitar AND bass on), a Steve Walsh EP, three Collective Soul studio CDs, the “Home” DVD and “From the Ground Up” EP. Not to mention the non-stop touring schedule in between records. That ain’t too bad.
RSW: is that how Steve Walsh became a guest vocalist Fight Years?
JK: Steve and I hooked up through a mutual friend, and that led to me playing guitar and bass on his last solo recordings. He basically did me a huge favor by singing on my songs. Every once in awhile the stars align for one reason or another, and in this case I had one of my musical heroes sing on my stuff and I still can’t believe it!
RSW: How was Fight Years received by Collective Soul fans? By others?
JK: I think all in all pretty good! I think it’s a little heavier than they’re used to (Collective Soul fans) and it doesn’t sound like C.S. so it takes some time to get past that, but overall the response has been good. I think the people outside of the Collective Soul fan base dig it even more, probably because there are no preconceptions.

RSW: Any chance of a Joel Kosche tour? Or of hearing more of your solo songs during Collective Soul concerts
JK: I would love to tour on this record, I’m in the process of “exploring the options” as they say. The problem with playing my songs during the Collective Soul set is that there’s only so much time in the set to play all the C.S. stuff much less my solo songs.
RSW: You have your own recording studio, Flame Under Heel Studios – do you anticipate working with other artists to record their albums?
JK: That would be a lot of fun. Before I started playing in Collective Soul I was producing some local bands/artists in Atlanta and I would like to get into that again. For some reason I always find it a lot easier to tell somebody else how their song should go!

RSW: Where do you hope to be in 5 yrs -personally? Where do you hope to see Collective Soul in 5 yrs?

JK: Me – On a beach somewhere. Collective Soul – Still making music and still playing for the fans.