Enduring success is an unusual feat in an industry where the survivability of initially über-successful acts is subjected to fleeting musical trends tied to the fickle attention spans of hundreds of thousands of people. After braving 24 years of intermittent and intense close contact, alternative-rock group Collective Soul, one of the first bands to fall under the label of post-grunge alongside bands such as Bush and Candlebox, has undoubtedly earned its stripes in that regard.
Rhythm guitarist Dean Roland has been part of Collective Soul from the very beginning alongside his older brother and vocalist, Ed Roland, and bassist, Will Turpin — from their immediate success with the iconic hit single “Shine” to the release of their newest album, 2015’s See What You Started by Continuing. The name of the album seems like an ode to their persistent existence.
Dean, who was able to call in for an interview with The Santa Barbara Independent in advance of their July 16 Santa Barbara Bowl appearance with the Goo Goo Dolls, said that the recording of Continuing went a lot smoother than their past albums. “Usually it happens where there are those [difficult songs] where it’s a musical thing we’re not getting right, or something’s not flowing creatively,” Roland recalled. “On this one, for whatever reason, when we came back together, we hit a stride, and there really weren’t major hiccups as far as the struggle of busting these songs out.”
Roland iterated that his favorite songs from Continuing were “Exposed” and “AYTA (Are You the Answer),” citing “the attitude of [‘Exposed’]” as an up-tempo rock song with “staccato, rhythmic, folky” guitar playing. He said “AYTA” is “a quintessential Collective Soul–type vibe, where you get the mid-tempo folk-song melody and lyrics, and some reflective lyrical content.”
The creation of Continuing happened after the band took a six-year break from recording to focus on side projects and solo careers. According to Roland, “Ed had a solo project that he did; I had a band project I put together that we’re still doing called Magnets & Ghosts; Will did a solo record. So we were still actually making music, but we just weren’t doing it together necessarily, and then it felt like it was getting to a place where the timing was right; we were energized, [and] we felt inspiration to get back together and do it again.”
Fostering an environment where there was no pressure to maintain a singular creative devotion to Collective Soul allowed for a more authentic and willing connection between band members. “We just get in and try to have fun with it, y’know?” he said.
Alternative-rock group Magnets & Ghosts was Roland’s main focus from 2010 until the recording of Continuing in 2014. The duo consists of Roland on vocals and rhythm guitar with lead guitarist Ryan Potesta, with touring musicians playing the bass and drum parts in concert. The band formed when Potesta, then a student at Berklee College of Music, “started working with Collective Soul years ago on some engineering-type stuff. We had a similar taste in music, and it just started out as us getting together and writing a couple songs, and it just blossomed into a more serious project.”
Though Roland is currently touring with Collective Soul, he confirmed that Magnets & Ghosts “is in the process now of finishing up our third record,” though the title and release date are still to be determined — though I’m sure Roland has no desire to rush it, preferring it, like Collective Soul, to unfold naturally.
Collective Soul plays the S.B. Bowl (1122 N. Milpas St.) on Saturday, July 16, at 6:30 p.m. with the Goo Goo Dolls and Tribe Society. Call (805) 962-7411 or see sbbowl.com.