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Collective Soul

Is Set To Release New Album And Play MGM;

Bassist Will Turpin


June 4, 2019

Collective Soul will be out celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year by hitting the road with The Gin Blossoms.  Both bands will be making a stop at MGM Northfield Park on June 11th.


The band will also be releasing their 10th studio album titled Blood on June 21st.  Fans will get the opportunity to hear some of the new songs in a live setting before the album is released.


We had the chance to talk with Collective Soul’s original bassist Will Turpin to discuss the new album and their upcoming appearance at The MGM Center Stage.


Greg Drugan:  Hey Will, where are you calling me from today?


Will Turpin:  I’m in the middle of nowhere, New York and I’ve got one signal so hopefully you can hear me.


GD:  I can, so we’re good. You guys just started your tour, how has it been going?


WT:  It’s going good.  Where at that point in our career where we love playing live and the current lineup has been here for five years.  Lots of smiles, we just try and really have fun. There’s something wrong if were playing in front of thousands of people and we’re not having a blast.  We focus on the music but we want to have fun and welcome people to a celebration.


GD:  You are touring with The Gin Blossoms this year.  That’s a great double bill, have you ever played with those guys before?


WT:  We’ve played a lot of different festival dates and shows with them in the past but never really logged on for a summer together.  They are really cool guys and I think the songs work well together.


GD:  Do you bring anything special with you when you are out on the road?  Like any comforts from home?


WT:  I bring my mountain bike out on the road with me.  It really ends up being a lot of therapy and it keeps you in shape.  I’ll go out, even on a show day, and do 15-20 miles. Mentally you get to exercise in a different way, but I also get to look at a map and check out some different places.  I started to do that in the late ‘90s and that turned out to be a refuge for me. Just to go out, exercise a little bit but I’m also an explorer, so I get to go out and see things.   


GD:  You are also celebrating 25 years of Collective Soul, does it seem like you’ve been in the band that long?


WT:  It really doesn’t.  I mean twenty-five years is a quarter-century!  It really doesn’t. I still remember the feeling when we signed with Atlantic Records and the first five years of our existence, all I wanted to do was to make another record.  We had a great run. We’ve all had our ups and downs and at this point in our career, we all feel fortunate to be offered this position to be able to entertain people. We take it seriously and we’re really proud of what we’ve done.


GD:  For sure!  Speaking of making another record, to coincide with your 25th Anniversary, you are also getting set to release your 10th studio album Blood.  How would you describe the vibe of this record.


WT:  Blood is basically a reference to family, brotherhood and lineage.  It’s in reference to that and it’s the second record with this current lineup.  Ed’s songwriting is off the charts with this one. We were able to mentally focus on what was right.  For me it’s one of the best and it’s my favorite Collective Soul record.


GD:  I got a chance to listen to it and I really like it.  It starts out rocking, yet you have a variety of songs on there too.  Do you have a favorite track on the album? I really like “Now’s The Time” and the groove you lay down on “Over Me” is great.


WT:  Yeah, “Over Me” feels really good, it gets my blood flowin’ too.  Overall as far as songs that I like, I like some songs but not as much as performing “Over Me.”  “Big Sky” is my favorite melodic and overall vibe on the record.


GD:  I read that you started out playing the piano at a young age and then moved to drums.  What made you decide to pick up the bass?


WT:  I would really love to see a quintessential documentary (on the band) release and we’re really kinda working on that as we speak.  We’re maybe a year and a half away. You have to realize me and Dean grew up one street away from each other. Their father was a Baptist minister and he was the music minister when we were kids.  My father owned this recording studio in the same small town another two blocks away. I grew up around all of this music and my first choir teacher was Mr. Roland (Ed and Dean’s father). The other music teacher was my dad who had the recording studio and there were musical instruments everywhere.  


The first instrument that I officially learned was piano.  That was the basis for everything I did after that. It wasn’t like I was constantly picking up instruments.  It was like, I’m going to focus on this, then I’m going to focus on this. For the longest time it was the drums and the piano.  I picked up a guitar at thirteen and I understood how a fret board relates to a piano and everything made sense to me. I understood music theory at a young age.  I was a music major in college and grew up playing in rock bands.


When we got out of high school, our little circle of friends became the original Collective Soul which included Dean (Roland), Ross (Childress) and Shane (Evans).  We started one by one joining Ed’s band. I was the last one. I tell everyone that I’m a bass player but I’m kinda a refugee on bass. I was in my fourth year at music school and I was always sitting in with Collective Soul, I was playing percussion with them.  It was kinda a light bulb moment where I said we would be the strongest band we could be if I moved to bass. That moment happened before I even played bass. My best friend was on drums, I knew the songs, I knew the history of what we were going to be about. “Shine” was catching all kinds of energy and it was like a snowball going downhill and a few months later, we were signed to Atlantic Records.


GD:  That’s awesome!  How many instruments do you play?


WT:  Guitar, drums, bass, piano.  I play all percussion instruments.  I can pick up a trumpet and play it, I also play the harmonica.  


GD:  Who were some of your musical influences growing up?


WT:  I mentioned my father but it’s basically what my father turned me on to: The Beatles, The Eagles, a lot of the classics from the ‘70s like Elton John.  In middle school and high school, growing up in the ‘80s I listened to what was considered alternative. U2, REM, INXS. They weren’t really alternative but they weren’t considered the “rock bands” of the ‘80s. (laughs)


GD:  Do you remember the first record you bought with your own money?


WT:  I don’t, because we always had records around.  I do remember buying cd’s. I had like four or five CD booklets with hundreds of cd’s in them!  I do remember having a Prince 1999 vinyl album and Don Henly’s “Dirty Laundry” album.


GD:  How about the first band you saw in concert and how did that impact you?


WT:  I saw my dad play in big festivals and stuff, but my first arena show I walked into, I was in 10th grade and I saw U2's Joshua Tree tour and it really affected me.  The band wasn’t even playing yet and I walked the arena and the clouds parted and the angels came down from heaven and told me a message, “this is for you!” It wasn’t that dramatic but what a great experience and it’s one of the better live shows that I’m able to say I was a part of.


GD:  I didn’t realize you lived down the street from Ed and Dean.  Were you always in the band when they started writing songs?


WT:  Ed is six and a half years older than me.  From my earliest memories I knew who Ed and Dean were.  They lived two streets over, our fathers knew each other, our grandfathers knew each other.  It’s that small of a town. I watched Ed work on his craft in my father’s studio after one year at Berklee. It was basically me and my friends who he knew of and respected what we did, and it naturally progressed into the Collective Soul that you see.  


GD:  What was your reaction when you first heard “Shine” on the radio and do you remember where you were?


WT:  We were all headed down to Orlando to play a gig at a place called The Station.  The radio station was WJRR and we were in the van and it came on and we were all high-fivein’.  It was pretty quiet so we could hear it on the radio even though we’ve played it a million times. It’s was a feeling like, wow we might have the chance to be a rock band!


GD:  The first time I saw you guys was when you opened up for Van Halen in ‘95.  What was it like touring with them?


WT:  Wow! People ask what’s the most memorable thing about being in the band for twenty-five years?  I gotta say it’s the relationships you make with people like Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony. The things that Eddie Van Halen did for us.  They took us under their wing and did a lot for us. They were there for us when we needed help. And we need help from our first manager and we didn’t know where to turn, and they were there.  Even today, when we see Sammy or Michael it’s great. In 2017 we did twenty-some shows with The Circle, when we see them, he knows me, he knows my kids. That just makes me feel better than anything to have an absolute legend respect and know me as a friend.  That means the world to me.


GD:  The band has gone through a few different members over the past 25 years, what has made you want to stay in the band?  Going back to Blood, is it the family thing that you have?


WT:  Yeah, we had some slow years where we didn’t tour as much as others.  We didn’t focus on Collective Soul as much in the early 2000s. We had to find our feet again as Collective Soul.  Everytime we come back, even after twenty-five years, there’s still a magical feeling and adrenaline flowing through your body.  It’s something we crave and something we almost have to have. So we are continually creating and making memories and making those feelings.


GD:  So you will be playing in Cleveland next week, what can fans expect from the show?


WT:  You can expect a high energy rock and roll!  It’s a celebration of life, it’s the soundtrack to our lives and our fans lives.  You’re also gonna get that energy transfer. We throw those frequencies and vibes out there and it hits their ears and they send their love and energy right back to us on stage.  There is an actual tangible energy exchange. It’s really a celebration of life.


GD:  Absolutely!  I’ve seen you guys many times over the years and it’s always a great show!

Will, I wish you the best on the new album and tour!  I’m looking forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks.  Safe travels!


WT:  Cheers, man!  Enjoy the show and we’ll talk next time.  


Be sure to catch the “Now’s The Time” tour with Collective Soul and The Gin Blossoms at MGM Northfield Park Center Stage on June 11th.  Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased here

Photo credit: Lee Clower

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