Live has something unique planned for the band’s Atlantic City show, which also will mark its final scheduled performance for 2013.
The alternative rock band for the first time will dedicate an entire setlist to one album, its 1994 breakthrough release “Throwing Copper” (Radioactive Records).
“Next year is the 20th anniversary of the album,” says lead guitarist Chad Taylor, who performs with the band 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at the House of Blues. “We were talking about acknowledging it. Since this is a one-off destination, (we thought) it was the best time to do ‘Throwing Copper.’”
The choice is timely in that Live is in the process of launching its second act, following the departure of original lead singer Ed Kowalczyk. The band last year hired Chris Shinn of Unified Theory as its new lead singer, and recently complete their first major tour together, a nine-week outing across North America.
“It was a pretty amazing tour,” Taylor says. “We didn’t know what to expect — we didn’t know how fans would react. It felt like a bit of an experiment — now it feels like we’re really on solid ground.”
Live is now back in its home base of York, Pa., working on its first new album since 2006’s “Songs from Black Mountain.” Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads fame and the producer of “Throwing Copper” and two other of the group’s records is also helming this release, which is set to come out next year.
The goal is to incorporate Shinn into the proceedings while hewing to Live’s signature sound.
“Everyone is cognizant that we’re making a Live album,” Taylor says. “We haven’t put any intentional limitations on it. You can put on an AC/DC record and know that it’s that in 10 seconds. We want the same thing with the Live record.”
With 14 songs in the can and the gig to play “Throwing Copper,” Taylor is simultaneously looking forward and back.
“It’s interesting to pull away from this and go back to learning old material,” he says. “That’s the great thing about a band that’s been together for this long — you have the best of both worlds.”
But Live’s future was far from certain when the band went on “hiatus” in 2009. Kowalczyk made a solo album, and Taylor, with Live bassist Patrick Dahlheimer and drummer Chad Gracey, launched a new band called The Gracious Few with Candlebox’s Kevin Martin and Sean Hennesy.
With Kowalczyk’s subsequent decision to make the split permanent, Live got enmeshed in legal issues, which since have been resolved. According to Taylor, Kowalczyk at one point wanted the two of them to continue as Live.
“He said, ‘We’re the Mick (Jagger) and Keith (Richards) of Live,’” Taylor recalls. “I said, ‘You’re missing the point. I’m a Charlie Watts fan — I’m a Bill Wyman fan. I love how those guys play together with Mick and Keith.’ It’s about a sonic signature. That’s why I love Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. I’m turned on by bands. Ed was turned on by solo projects. At the end of the day, that was not going to work out.”
Although he and his childhood friend are no longer speaking to each other, Taylor remains circumspect about the break-up.
“It doesn’t mean that anybody is right or wrong,” he says. “I respect his opinion about how he wants to make music as much as mine.”
In Shinn, Live has found another showman who takes a “very theatrical” approach to performing.
“It was less a strategy to rebuild the band and more of what it was to get in a room and see what it would be like to play Live songs,” Taylor says of bringing in Shinn. “We sang one or two songs, and it didn’t take long before we said this feels awesome.”
At the same time, the band didn’t want to carry on, just for the sake of doing so.
“If Chris didn’t bring new qualities and dimensions, and didn’t have respect for the heritage and lineage, I probably wouldn’t have done it,” Taylor says. “I tell people, I’m the biggest fan of Live — I’m the last person who wants to screw it up.”
Live’s ‘Throwing Copper’ was commercial, critical breakthrough for Pa.-based band
As Live looks to its next chapter with new lead singer Chris Shinn, the band will be celebrating in its entirety one of its most popular albums, “Throwing Copper.” The 1994 release, which was produced by Talking Heads guitarist and keyboardist Jerry Harrison, proved the band’s commercial breakthrough.
The album was Live’s first release to top the charts and remains its biggest seller. “Throwing Copper” also yielded a pair of No. 1 hits on the Alternative Charts, “I Alone” and “Lightning Crashes.”
According to Amazon.com critic Aidin Vaziri, the record showcased then-lead singer Ed Kowalczyk’s “unparalleled intensity” and revealed Live to be a “group of rare passion.”
For Chad Taylor, Live’s guitarist and co-founder, there is one drawback to revisiting this key release.
“I have to learn a whole bunch of songs I haven’t played in 20 years,” he says.