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Live ( , like "hive") (also typeset as LIVE) was an Americanmarker alternative rock/post-grunge band from Yorkmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, comprised of Ed Kowalczyk (lead vocals and guitar), Chad Taylor (lead guitar), Patrick Dahlheimer (bass) and Chad Gracey (drums and percussion). Live has also toured with Ed's younger brother Adam Kowalczyk as a rhythm guitarist, as well as with British keyboardist Michael "Railo" Railton, and Christopher Thorn of Blind Melon.

Live climbed from modest modern rock success to the mainstream spotlight worldwide on the strength of their 1994 breakthrough album, Throwing Copper, which has sold eight million copies in the US. Climbing to number one on the 52nd week on the chart, it is the third album to reach the top after spending a year or longer on the chart. The first two were Fleetwood Mac's self-titled album in 1976, peaking on the 58th week, and Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl in 1989, which holds the record at 64 weeks. The band is most known for their hit singles "Selling the Drama", "Lightning Crashes" (which stayed at the top of Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks for 12 consecutive weeks), "I Alone", "All Over You", "Lakini's Juice", "The Dolphin's Cry", "Simple Creed", and "Heaven". To date, the band has sold almost 20 million copies worldwide.

While Live remains moderately popular in terms of record sales in the United Statesmarker, much of their current sales come from Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealandmarker. The band has recently enjoyed success outside the United States, especially in Australia and the Netherlandsmarker. On Monday November 30, 2009, guitarist Chad Taylor announced via his personal blog that what was once only a two-year hiatus is more likely a permanant break-up, due to, what he felt, were inappropriate actions by lead singer Ed Kowalczyk.


Early history and Mental Jewelry: 1988–1992

Kowalczyk, Taylor, Dahlheimer, and Gracey first came together for a middle-school talent show in the Pennsylvaniamarker blue-collar town of Yorkmarker. The group remained together throughout high school, going through a handful of band names (such as First Aid, Club Fungus, Paisley Blues, Action Front, and Body Odor Boys) and new-wave covers before settling on the moniker Public Affection and recording a self-released cassette of originals, The Death of a Dictionary, in 1989. Soon after in 1990, Public Affection released an EP of demos produced by Jay Healy titled Divided Mind, Divided Planet through their Black Coffee mailing list. Frequent trips into New York Citymarker to play at CBGBmarker helped net the band a deal with Radioactive Records in 1991.

With the new name Live, the band entered the studio with former Talking Heads keyboardist Jerry Harrison that year and began recording the EP Four Songs (1991). The single "Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition)" went to number nine on the Modern Rock chart, and paved the way for the band's Harrison-produced full-length debut, 1991's Mental Jewelry (which charted at number 73). The album lyrics, penned by Kowalczyk, were heavily inspired by Indian speaker Jiddu Krishnamurti.

Throwing Copper and mainstream success: 1993–1996

Fueled by light touring (including billing at Woodstock '94 and Peter Gabriel's WOMAD tour) and a string of hit singles, Live's next album, Throwing Copper, gave the band the breakthrough it desired. The album featured the singles "I Alone", "All Over You" and the number one Modern Rock hits "Selling the Drama" and "Lightning Crashes". "Lightning Crashes" stayed at the top of Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks for 12 consecutive weeks. The band was invited to appear on NBC's Saturday Night Live where they performed their hits "I Alone" and "Selling the Drama".

The steady success of the singles propelled the album to number one on the Billboard 200 on May 6, 1995, more than a year after the album was released. Climbing to number one on the 52nd week on the chart, it is the third album to reach the top after spending a year or longer on the chart. The first two were Fleetwood Mac's self-titled album in 1976, peaking on the 58th week, and Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl in 1989, which holds the record at 64 weeks. To date, it is their best-selling album and often most highly regarded album by fans and critics. Throwing Copper has since sold eight million copies in the US.

Secret Samadhi and The Distance to Here: 1997–2000

The momentum continued long enough to help 1997's Secret Samadhi (co-produced by the band and Jay Healy) debut at number one. Deriving its name from a state of Hindu meditation, the album spawned four Modern Rock singles, but failed to match its predecessor's success, with sales topping off at two million. The band performed "Lakini's Juice" and "Heropsychodreamer" from this album on Saturday Night Live.

Harrison came back on board as co-producer for 1999's The Distance to Here, which debuted at number four and featured the hit single "The Dolphin's Cry". In 2000, Live embarked on a co-headlining tour with alternative rock band Counting Crows. Frequently, Counting Crows' lead singer Adam Duritz joined the stage for Live's performance of "The Dolphin's Cry", and Kowalczyk sang a verse of "Hanginaround" with the Counting Crows.

V and Birds of Pray: 2001–2004

On September 18, 2001, the more experimental V (originally scheduled to be titled Ecstatic Fanatic) was issued to mixed reviews, preceded by "Simple Creed" as the first single. However, with the events of 9/11—which occurred a week before V's release—the melancholic "Overcome" began receiving significant airplay, superseding "Simple Creed" and becoming V's selling point. Live's commercial stock—compounded by their petering radio airplay—had fallen further since The Distance to Here, with V reaching number 22 at home, and failing to reach gold status. That same year, Live contributed a live performance version of their song "I Alone" to the charity album Live in the X Lounge IV. "Overcome" was used at the end of the final episode of season 2 of The Shield.

In May 2003, the band released Birds of Pray, which was bolstered by the unexpected success of "Heaven", Live's first U.S. Hot 100-placing single since "The Dolphin's Cry". In November 2004, Live released Awake: The Best of Live, a career-spanning compilation that included "We Deal in Dreams", a previously unreleased song from the Throwing Copper sessions, and a cover of Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line", as well as Birds of Pray's "Run Away", re-imagined with Shelby Lynne on co-lead vocals.

Songs from Black Mountain, rarities album and live DVD: 2005–2008

In 2005, Live signed with Sony BMG Music Entertainment's Epic label, and released a new album entitled Songs from Black Mountain in June 2006, preceded by "The River" as lead single. The album topped out at number three on the Billboard independent chart.

On season five of American Idol, finalist Chris Daughtry was accused of performing Live's rendition of Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" and calling it his own interpretation of the original. One week later, Daughtry acknowledged it was not his own rendition, even saying Live was one of his favorite bands. In May 2006, Live appeared on The Howard Stern Show and addressed this issue. On May 24, 2006, the band and Chris Daughtry performed "Mystery" on the season finale of American Idol. On June 7, a new version of "Mystery" was released on the Friends of Live website, featuring Daughtry on guest vocals.

On September 14, 2007, the band released their first album since 1989 on their own Action Front Records label, Radiant Sea: A Collection of Bootleg Rarities and Two New Songs, featuring two brand new songs: "Beautiful Invisible" and "Radiant Sea". Live also recorded their first "live" DVD in the Netherlandsmarker during two shows at the Paradisomarker on June 30 and July 1, 2008. Live at the Paradiso - Amsterdam was released on November 11, 2008, and is available in DVD and CD editions of songs from the concert performances. The band spent the rest of mid-2008 headlining a US tour with Blues Traveler and Collective Soul, and completed the year touring in Europe.

An unreleased song by the band, entitled "Hold Me Up", is featured in the 2008 Kevin Smith movie Zack and Miri Make a Porno, during an emotional scene between Zack and Miri. Smith made the following statement about the song's inclusion in the movie:

In spite of Smith's endorsement, the song does not appear on the movie's soundtrack album.

Hiatus and break-up

The members of Live announced in June 2009 (after an appearance at The Palazzomarker in Las Vegasmarker) that the band would be taking a two-year hiatus as they work on other projects. Kowalczyk plans to release a solo album and the other band members formed a group with Kevin Martin and Sean Hennessy of Candlebox called The Gracious Few. The band is currently recording an album in California and plan for release in early 2010.

On November 30, 2009, Taylor confirmed that the hiatus of the band was most likely a permanent rift. He cited Kowalczyk's demands of a $100,000 "lead singer bonus" at the 2009 Pinkpop Festivalmarker and a 2005 contract that put Kowalczyk as the sole signature of the band's publishing company, Black Coffee Publishing Inc., as reasons for this break-up. These sentiments were also conveyed in a letter to fans from the band (minus Kowalczyk), sent via e-mail to members of Live's mailing list at Taylor, did however, leave open the possibility of a new vocalist for Live. As of November 30, Live's official Facebook page was updated to remove all mentions of Kowalczyk's name from the line-up.




  1. " Interview with Ed Kowalczyk in 1999."
  2. Allmusic, Live Profile Allmusic
  4. Chart History at Billboard
  5. "LIVE to Perform at The Pools at The Palazzo on June 11". Reuters. May 7, 2009.
  8. Chad. "Live Planning to Take Hiatus". June 28, 2009.
  9. "The Gracious Few".
  10. "Not the ending I wished for" All Things, Chad Taylor. November 30, 2009.

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