Two words are consistently used to describe Live’s music: honest and serious. This seems to be a reflection of what the bandmembers are all about. Not many people keep in touch with the friends they had when they were 13 years old, much less work with them into adulthood. This small-town band, with their strong values, were propelled into popularity thanks to their deep, personal lyrics and their intense live performances. Ely’sa Gardner in Spin remarked that despite lead singer Ed Kowalczyk’s usually mild-mannered demeanor, “A physical metamorphosis seems to occur when he performs, transforming boyish singer into whirling dervish.”
Live started out in their hometown, York, Pennsylvania, as four 13-year-olds called Public Affection. In 1984, singer Kowalczyk, guitarist Chad Taylor, drummer Chad Gracey, and bassist Patrick Dahlheimer decided to form a band for their eighth-grade talent show, and they kept playing together. The members of Public Affection faced a crossroads when they all graduated from William Penn Senior High School in 1989. They each had to
Members include Patrick Dahlheimer, bass guitar; Chad Gracey, drums; Ed Kowalczyk, vocals; Chad Taylor, guitar.
Band formed in York, PA, as Public Affection, 1984; released independent album Death of a Dictionary, 1989; signed with Radioactive Records and changed band name to Live, 1991; released EP Four Songs; released debut album, Mental Jewelry, 1992; appeared on MTV Unplugged, 1995.
Addresses: Record company —Radioactive Records, 70 Universal City Plaza, 3rd Floor, Universal City, CA 91608.
make the choice between college and pursuing the band. “We were bound for college and decided not to do it,” recalled Kowalczyk in Musician. “That was the serious turning point, deciding not to go to college,” echoed Taylor.
Determined to take the band to the next level, Public Affection independently released their first album, called Death of a Dictionary, in 1989. Two years later, Talking Heads keyboardist Jerry Harrison named Public Affection his choice for up-and-coming rock and roll rookies in Rolling Stone. “Public Affection has rock appeal, but they still have acknowledgment of other types of music,” said Harrison. “That’s what excites me about them.”
Soon, word had spread about Public Affection from York, Pennsylvania. Radioactive Records heard their demo tape and signed the band to a contract. “You listen to so many bad tapes and see so many bad showcases that it gets discouraging after a while,” Phil Schuster, a representative of Radioactive Records, said in Musician. “I listened to the first two songs on the tape, and I knew they had something unique. With a band like that, you just know. I saw them play several times, and they always performed with the same intensity, whether it was to a full club or 15 people. They just love to play.”
Once the group joined the Radioactive roster, they decided to change their name to Live. Next, they started working on their first project. Harrison produced the band’s Four Songs EP debut. “Unlike most demo tapes, theirs had real melodies,” Harrison told Musician. “Ed can sing in the classical sense, but it doesn’t cut down on the fervor. He has honesty and intense beliefs. I think that living in York, out of the mainstream, has made them less derivative, more indigenous. When I made suggestions, they weren’t looking over their shoulders at what some other band was doing.”
In 1992, Jerry Harrison took over production once again, and Live released their first full-length album, Mental Jewelry. The band kicked off the beginning of their success with the hit “Operation Spirit.”Mental Jewelry focused on four young individuals struggling with the outside world. As part of the tour supporting the album, Live joined Big Audio Dynamite, Public Image Ltd., and Blind Melon on the “MTV 120 Minutes” tour.
The music industry took note of Live’s potential, as did the press. “I’m really excited about this band Live,” radio consultant Jeff Pollack told Rolling Stone. “The lyrics are really impressive, and this from a bunch of unjaded kids from York, Pennsylvania. It’s the sort of record that reminds me of the old days. It just refuses to be ignored. There’s just something irrepressible about their talent.” Don McLeese wrote in Rolling Stone, “It’s hard to imagine a more serious band than Pennsylvania’s Live, whose moral earnestness makes early U2 sound frat-band frivolous.”
Live went back into the studio and released their next effort, Throwing Copper, in 1994. Elysa Gardner in Spin remarked that the release, like their previous album, was “rife with spiritual imagery and social commentary.” The first single from the album, “Selling the Drama,” delves into the relationship between musicians and their audience. “Being on stage and talking at people is a strange thing,” Kowalczyk explained in the band’s label publicity bio. “You can rape your audience with ambiguity and distance, and they can rape you with prejudice and preconception.” “Selling the Drama” and “I Alone” went into heavy rotation on MTV, furthering the band’s popularity.
Another song on Throwing Copper, “White Discussion,” describes a conversation between two people just before the world ends. “We’ve tried to make Throwing Copper more than your average trip down angst lane,” continued Kowalczyk in the bio. In all, Kowalczyk felt Throwing Copper marked significant growth for Live. “We like to say that the soundscape of Live has totally transformed,” he said. “A lot of good things happen to guitar amplifiers when you turn them up all the way, and a lot of good things happen to lyrics when you don’t think about them as much.” The New York Times ’Neil Strauss wrote, “The difference between Live and many of its slacker contemporaries is that Live treats songs reverentially, as if they are truly inspired by a higher force.”
Live recorded Throwing Copper live in the studio, as opposed to the technique of each musician recording his part separately, to be mixed with the other instruments later. They played together, as a band, the way they’ve worked since junior high school. “We’re always out playing,” Chad Taylor told Jon Sutherland in RIP magazine. “Even if we are writing songs for a new album, we’ll go out and play. That’s how we remain a good band.” That’s also how they earned the right to their name. Live will continue to stay on those stages performing their serious rock and roll, just like they did when they were 13 years old, competing in the school talent show.
Death of a Dictionary (independent release), 1989.
Four Songs (EP), Radioactive, 1991.
Mental Jewelry, Radioactive, 1992.
Throwing Copper (includes “Selling the Drama,” “I Alone,” and “Lightning Crashes”), Radioactive, 1994.
Entertainment Weekly, March 17, 1995.
Guitar Player, February 1995.
Musician, April 1992.
New York Times, April 23, 1992; June 9, 1994.
RIP, August 1994.
Rolling Stone, April 18, 1991; April 16, 1992; May 14, 1992; August 11, 1994.
Spin, February 1995.
Variety, May 11, 1992.
Additional information for this profile was obtained from Radioactive Records publicity materials, 1994.
live1 / liv/ • v. 1. [intr.] remain alive: the doctors said she had only six months to live both cats lived to a ripe age. ∎ be alive at a specified time: he lived four centuries ago. ∎ spend one's life in a particular way or under particular circumstances: people are living in fear in the wake of the shootings. ∎ [tr.] lead (one's life) in a particular way: he was living a life of luxury in Australia. ∎ supply oneself with the means of subsistence: they live by hunting and fishing. ∎ survive in someone's mind; be remembered: only the name lived on. ∎ have an exciting or fulfilling life: he couldn't wait to get out of school and really start living.2. [intr.] make one's home in a particular place or with a particular person: I've lived in New England all my life they lived with his grandparents.PHRASES: as I live and breathe used, esp. in spoken English, to express one's surprise at coming across someone or something: good Lord, Jack Stone, as I live and breathe!be living on borrowed timesee borrow.live and breathe something be extremely interested in or enthusiastic about a particular subject or activity and so devote a great deal of one's time to it: they live and breathe Italy and all things Italian.live by one's witssee wit1 .live dangerously do something risky, esp. on a habitual basis.live for the momentsee moment.live in hope be or remain optimistic about something.live in the past have old-fashioned or outdated ideas and attitudes. ∎ dwell on or reminisce at length about past events.live in sinsee sin1 .live it up inf. spend one's time in an extremely enjoyable way, typically by spending a great deal of money or engaging in an exciting social life.live off (or on) the fat of the landsee fat.live off the landsee land.live out of a suitcase live or stay somewhere on a temporary basis and with only a limited selection of one's belongings, typically because one's occupation requires a great deal of traveling.live one's own life follow one's own plans and principles independent of others.live rough live and sleep outdoors as a consequence of having no proper home.live to fight another day survive a particular experience or ordeal.live to regret something come to wish that one had not done something: those who put work before their family life often live to regret it.live to tell the tale survive a dangerous experience and be able to tell others about it.live with oneself be able to retain one's self-respect as a consequence of one's actions: taking money from children—how can you live with yourself?long live ——! said to express loyalty or support for a specified person or thing: long live the Queen!where one lives inf. at, to, or in the right, vital, or most vulnerable spot: it gets me where I live.you haven't lived used, esp. in spoken English, as a way of enthusiastically recommending something to someone who has not experienced it: you haven't lived until you've tasted their lobster ravioli.you (or we) live and learn used, esp. in spoken English, to acknowledge that a fact is new to one.PHRASAL VERBS: live something down succeed in making others forget something embarrassing that has happened.live for regard as the purpose or most important aspect of one's life: Tony lived for his painting.live in (of an employee or student) reside at the place where one works or studies.live off (or on) depend on (someone or something) as a source of income or support: if you think you're going to live off me for the rest of your life, you're mistaken. ∎ have (a particular amount of money) with which to buy food and other necessities. ∎ subsist on (a particular type of food). ∎ (of a person) eat, or seem to eat, only (a particular type of food): she used to live on bacon and tomato sandwiches.live out (of an employee or student) reside away from the place where one works or studies.live something out1. do in reality that which one has thought or dreamed about: your wedding day is the one time that you can live out your most romantic fantasies.2. spend the rest of one's life in a particular place or particular circumstances: he lived out his days as a happy family man.live through survive (an unpleasant experience or period): both men lived through the Depression.live together (esp. of a couple not married to each other) share a home and have a sexual relationship.live up to fulfill (expectations). ∎ fulfill (an undertaking): the president lived up to his promise to set America swiftly on a new path.live with1. share a home and have a sexual relationship with (someone to whom one is not married).2. accept or tolerate (something unpleasant): our marriage was a failure—you have to learn to live with that fact.live2 / līv/ • adj. 1. not dead or inanimate; living: live animals the number of live births and deaths. ∎ (of a vaccine) containing viruses or bacteria that are living but of a mild or attenuated strain. ∎ (of yogurt) containing the living microorganisms by which it is formed.2. (of a musical performance) given in concert, not on a recording: there is traditional live music played most nights. ∎ (of a broadcast) transmitted at the time of occurrence, not from a recording: live coverage of the match. ∎ (of a musical recording) made during a concert, not in a studio: a live album.3. (of a wire or device) connected to a source of electric current. ∎ of, containing, or using undetonated explosive: live ammunition. ∎ (of coals) burning; glowing. ∎ (of a match) unused. ∎ (of a wheel or axle in machinery) moving or imparting motion. ∎ (of a ball in a game) in play, esp. in contrast to being foul or out of bounds.4. (of a question or subject) of current or continuing interest and importance: the future organization of Europe has become a live issue.• adv. as or at an actual event or performance: the match will be televised live.PHRASES: go live Comput. (of a system) become operational.
Formed: 1984, York, Pennsylvania
Members: Patrick Dahlheimer, bass (born York, Pennsylvania, 30 May 1971); Chad Gracey, drums, background vocals (born York, Pennsylvania, 23 July 1971); Edward Kowalczyk, vocals, guitar (born York, Pennsylvania, 16 July 1971); Chad Taylor, guitar, background vocals (born Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 24 November 1970).
Best-selling album since 1990: Throwing Copper (1994)
Hit songs since 1990: "Selling the Drama," "I Alone," "Lightning Crashes"
The rock band Live (pronounced with a long i ) was formed in the band members' home-town of York, Pennsylvania, in the mid-1980s as an after-school project of four middle-school students: Chad Gracey, Patrick Dahlheimer, Edward Kowalczyk, and Chad Taylor. Theirs is a stereotypical rock and roll story: A small-town band is discovered and signed by a record label's representative and then goes on to international fame and fortune. Their second album for Radioactive, Throwing Copper (1994), resulted in overnight success; with the popularity of "Selling the Drama" and "I Alone," Live found an audience thirsty for idealistic, honest rock music with a message.
Live's debut album, Mental Jewelry (1991), is notable for singer Kowalczyk's propulsive, passionate tenor and the stellar, steady rhythm section of Gracey on bass and Dahlheimer on drums. On Throwing Copper, Live manages to keep their raw sound while smoothing it out with a clean, glossy layer. Throwing Copper landed near the top of the charts and earned the band a spot on the popular Lollapalooza tour.
In many respects, Live is an unlikely rock band because of its preoccupations with religion, spirituality, mortality, and hot-button issues. The powerful, muscular Throwing Copper features some hit singles, including the passionate "I Alone," "Selling the Drama," and the moving crescendo of "Lightning Crashes," whose elliptical lyrics tell the story of a classmate who was killed by a drunk driver in 1993.
Unfortunately, even though their next albums—Secret Samadhi (1997), which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart and The Distance to Here (1999), which debuted at number four—sold reasonably well, critics dismissed them as dry, joyless, and didactic, earnestly retreading the same thematically sanctimonious turf. Toward the end of the 1990s, renewed by the energy of popular nu-metal bands such as Limp Bizkit, Live went back into the studio to record their fifth album, appropriately titled V. On V, Live's anthems are delivered with a heavy hand and offer little inspiration despite the fervor of their message.
Live has yet to equal or surpass the majesty and power of Throwing Copper. Nevertheless, they continue to create rock music that aspires to grapple with serious social issues.
Mental Jewelry (Radioactive, 1991); Throwing Copper (Radioactive, 1994); Secret Samadhi (Radioactive, 1997); The Distance to Here (Radioactive, 1999); V (Radioactive, 2001).
if you want to live and thrive, let the spider run alive proverbial saying, mid 19th century; it was traditionally unlucky to harm a spider or a spider's web.
live and learn often as a resigned or rueful comment on a disagreeable experience; proverbial saying, early 17th century.
live and let live often used in the context of coexistence between deeply divided groups; proverbial saying, early 17th century.
live to fight another day survive a certain experience or ordeal; from the proverb he who fights and runs away, may live to fight another day.
they that live longest, see most proverbial saying, early 17th century, often used to comment on the experience of old age. An earlier related saying is found in early 14th-century French, ‘he who lives [long], sees much.’
See also better to live one day as a tiger, eat to live, those who live in glass houses, lives, man cannot live by bread alone.