Then & Now: Live
Back in the mid ’90s, Live were one of alt-rock’s biggest bands. In addition to the eight hits they placed in the modern-rock Top 10, the York, Pa., quartet racked up a pair of No. 1 albums, 1994’s ‘Throwing Copper’ and 1997’s ‘Secret Samadhi.’ Frontman Ed Kowalczyk’s intensity, and bald head, made for some of the era’s most striking videos. Songs like ‘Selling the Drama,’ ‘I Alone’ and ‘Lightning Crashes’ (all from ‘Throwing Copper’) helped define mainstream-friendly alternative rock at a time when the music dominated the pop charts.
By 1999, modern rock was starting to lose favor with general audiences, and Live’s fourth album, ‘The Distance to Here,’ peaked at No. 4. By the time they got around to releasing a follow-up LP, 2001’s ‘V,’ they couldn’t even crack the Top 20. ‘Birds of Prey’ (from 2003) fared even worse: A single didn’t make it past No. 33 at modern rock.
Following the 2006 bomb ‘Songs From Black Mountain,’ the band went on the road for a few years before hitting a bump in 2009, when it announced a hiatus. It turned out to be more than that, with Kowalczyk recording a solo album and the other members working on side projects. After some lawsuits, Live hired a new singer and are currently working on a record. Kowalczyk tours as a solo artist, performing Live songs in concert. He’s still bald.