Throwing Copper

The ’90s was a strange and wonderful time when lighters-up power ballads could contain lyrics like “Her placenta falls to the floor.” That kind of thing was almost mandatory, actually. Even the blandest bands were expected to be unrepentantly weird. Into that era strode Live, an ambitious bunch of art-bros from the alleged “Shit Towne” of York, Pennsylvania (per our own Tom Breihan, essentially a smaller version of legendarily bleak Youngstown, Ohio) who knew how to strike exactly the right combination of mystical oddity and milquetoast approachability. Live were unaffiliated with any significant scene or movement, but their REM-meets-Pearl Jam-meets-Counting Crows jangle-wail fit snugly into the landscape of mid-’90s alt-rock radio. Their sophomore release, Throwing Copper, was one of the most dominant rock records of the ’90s, a slow-building success story that spawned four hit singles, sold 8 million copies, and made it to #1 almost a year after its release. It is almost impossible to overstate how popular this album was in its day, which seems crazy now because Live didn’t make it into the canon of “important” ’90s music and has become somewhat of a punchline, but that’s the value in puzzling over history from time to time. Throwing Copper turns 20 years old tomorrow; its time has come.

This is Ed Kowalczyk. In 1994, he was rocking the shaved-head-with-braided-rat-tail look, which never caught on for whatever reason. Kowalczyk represents, for all intents and purposes, the totality of Live in the popular understanding. You think of Live, you think of Kowalczyk spewing mystic nonsense in highly affected post-Vedder gulps, yelps, and shifts, possibly shirtless. That’s not to say the other members didn’t matter or never contributed anything, but nobody besides those who frequent unfortunately named Live fan sites could name any of them or pick them out of a lineup. That’s why it’s strange that, in the wake of money disputes and a lawsuit, the other three members are now touring with a different lead singer while Kowalczyk is out on his own keeping the spirit of Live alive by covering Imagine Dragons and such. But forget the present for a second and let’s bask in the bizarrely beautiful past.

Live were one of the first big post-grunge bands, the guys who ran with Pearl Jam’s baton toward poppier pastures after Eddie Vedder and company opted out of superstardom. (Nirvana ripoffs proliferated too, as wrongheaded Gavin Rossdale haters will tell you, but Pearl Jam had the deeper lasting influence on rock radio thanks to Vedder inventing the butt-rock bellow.) Live are remembered these days for being a de-evolutionary step on the path from PJ to Creed, but they actually started out as artsy college-rockers who regularly gigged at CBGB. Ostensibly that’s where they met Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison, who produced their 1991 EP Four Songs and full-length debut Mental Jewelry. The latter was weirdly released on New Year’s Eve 1991 and spawned several college radio hits, which put Live in position to be all over you/all over me/all over MTV with their Harrison-produced sophomore release.

And so they were. As with many relics of the mid-’90s, the videos are Live’s most lasting contribution. There was “Selling The Drama,” a less bloody “Jeremy” remake filmed before Kowalcyzk shaved his head. There was “I Alone,” the debut of Kowalczyk’s signature frathouse-shaman persona, which basically amounted to Kowalczyk waving his hands around wildly and making bug-eyes at the camera. And there was “Lightning Crashes,” the serious ballad, in which a woman gives birth, THE ANGEL OPENS HER EYES, PALE BLUE COLORED EYES, and everybody seems very somber. (According to an uncited Wiki quote from Kowalczyk, neither the song nor the video is about stillbirth, but rather a woman having a baby at the same time another woman dies.) The “All Over You” video seems to have been wiped from the internet for those outside of Africa, but that was a major hit too.

Those songs deserved to be hits. Chart smashes don’t have to make sense lyrically, and while Kowalczyk did deliver some memorably inscrutable turns of phrase, his real gift was knowing when to raise his voice from a plaintive hush to a clenched roar to crank up the tension. His bandmates (because they do deserve their due, that’s Chad Taylor on guitar, Patrick Dahlheimer on bass, and Chad Gracey on drums) were able to synthesize the dominant sounds of alt-rock radio and then spit them back out as ultra-catchy backyard barbecue jams anthemic enough to make Kowalczyk’s mystic gibberish seem powerful. In typical post-grunge blockbuster fashion, the rest of Throwing Copper is significantly less compelling, but it’s good enough not to derail your nostalgia trip. Opener “The Dam At Otter Creek” admirably sets the stage. Filler such as “Iris,” “Top,” and “Waitress” holds its own against most other grunge deep cuts from the time. (The “Waitress” lyrics could only have been written in the Lollapalooza era: “Come on baby leave some change behind/ She was a bitch, but I don’t care/ She brought our food out on time/ And wore a funky barrette in her hair.”) The aforementioned “Shit Towne” begins with some questionable poetry about crackheads and tall grass but eventually blooms into a legit fist-pumper, and country-tinged closer “Horse” would actually be the least ridiculous song on the album if not for the line “She rode a horse into my head.” Any of those songs would have made a better fifth single than the six-minute “White, Discussion,” but again, such maneuvers were par for the course back then. And anyhow, when your album is as wildly successful as Throwing Copper, you can afford to take some risks.

Live did take a chance with their next album, naming it Secret Samahdi and delving deeper into vaguely defined Eastern spirituality. And though that album sold only a quarter as many copies as Throwing Copper, it still went double-platinum and contained some respectable singles in the genuinely thrilling dark-tinged lead single “Lakini’s Juice” and the tender ballad “Turn My Head.” Live didn’t completely lose their grip on the zeitgeist until they started singing about dolphins on 1999′s The Distance To Here. In an effort to hang out with girls, I tagged along with some friends to see them open for Counting Crows at our local shed in 2000, and they already seemed washed up just five years after the height of Throwing Copper mania — and that was before they even released an album called Birds Of Pray. Kowalczyk was in full-on leather pants everybody-clap-along mode, and the crowd couldn’t wait for the band to dispense with new material and get on to the hits already. They had become a legacy act remarkably fast.

Still, Throwing Copper is a legacy they can be proud of. As a preteen with no concept of cred, I found these songs every bit as mesmerizing as the concurrent Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, and Green Day material that was later canonized as important music. It is easy to poke fun at Live, same as any Clinton-era curiosity, and they certainly contributed to a regrettable trajectory for alt-rock radio. But they didn’t sell 8 million copies on the strength of Kowalczyk’s rat tail. The singles churned, charged, and soared as well as anything on MTV at the time, and they’ll settle in just fine as classic rock staples for Generation X.

So, let’s discuss: Does Live deserve to be remembered as a laughingstock or treated with the same respect as their peers? What’s your favorite Throwing Copper jam? Did Kowalczyk freak you out as a kid? Can you hear the dolphin’s cry? Scream it from the wall below.

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Comments (85)
  1. THIS is why I love you guys Stereogum.

    A lot of blogs would overlook Throwing Copper 20 years later, but it meant A LOT to some of us kids in the 90′s. I’m not in any way defending Live any more than I would defend Green Day post Dookie, but it represents an interesting time in the mid 90′s that can’t be completely overlooked. Lightning Crashes was mesmerizing as a child.

    • oh.  |   Posted on Apr 21st -2

      Although it would be nice if they had literally anything interesting to say about it — this reads like a freshman essay cribbed mostly from Wikipedia.

      “… but that’s the value in puzzling over history from time to time.” It’s just an album that came out two decades ago. It happens a lot and is almost never meaningful. There’s no perspective or thoughtfulness or revelations of context. Just content for the sake of content. Zzz.

  2. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • you honestly didn’t appreciate them at the time?

      • Nope. You honestly did?

      • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

        • and just because you never liked it, doesn’t mean it’s not worth commemorating.

        • they already skipped over Selected Ambient Works Vol II, which bummed me out

        • At first glance, Built to Spill seems like it’d be a great, very Stereogum-ish choice for a 20-year think piece. But as I think about it, these pieces are often as much about what was going on with music culture at that time as they are about the album that’s being discussed. Put otherwise, they’re nostalgia trips, or at least in part. So with that being said, are there many Stereogum readers who are even of age to remember what music culture was like in 1994 (pretty much 30+) who listened to Built to Spill at age 10-15? I’m not sure, but I’d venture a “no.” I myself am 30 and I didn’t discover BtS until I was 16, so that’d be around 2000. But I sure did love shit like Live at age 10.

          If we’ve got people over 40, it’s very possible that they were into Built to Spill in 1994. But I just don’t know how many of them we’ve got.

  3. Used to dig this band during their peak, even kept following them for a few more albums. My tastes have changed considerably since then (high school). It’s funny, when i’m feeling nostalgic i still enjoy listening to some of my favorite albums from that period (such as REM’s Monster, hell even some Sublime or Everclear), but i just cannot get myself to revisit Live… and I think alot of that has to do with reading too much into the stories surrounding their breakup. Ed came off as a greedy jerk

  4. While you’re at it, do a 20th anniversary piece on Hootie and the Blowfish’s “Cracked Rear View.”

  5. While I agree that Kowalczyk’s shirtless, rat-tailed flailing is quite the spectacle, the most hilarious part of the “I Alone” video is and always will be the drummer traipsing about the set with only his drumsticks trying to look cool and failing miserably.

    • Apparently I misremembered the part about him having drumsticks. Still, it’s quite the scene –– I let out some pretty hearty guffaws re-watching it just now.

  6. fun fact: an image from Live performing on MTV unplugged (as pictured above) was one of the first Jpegs I ‘downloaded’. I remember it being magical that this image came out of the ether so i could print it out and hang it in my bedroom.

  7. Yeah, I won’t lie, I enjoy Lightning Crashes and I think it’s a great song.

  8. Anyone who pretends that “Lightning Crashes” doesn’t get them weepy is a jerk.

    Also, I did everyone a favor and found the eppy of “Beavis and Butt-head” where they watched “I Alone.” :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzGQj_17Twc

  9. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • You’re really going on the warpath in defense of INDIE CINDY?

      • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  10. i was way into this album as a young teen…. enough to know immediately when you misquoted “lightning crashes” (the lyric is “pale blue colored IRIS.” haha, oh ed kowalczyk). might have to revisit it now, i only remember a couple of the deep cuts off the top of my head, but i’m sure i’ll be able to sing along with everything when it’s playing.

    i tried to like secret samadhi when it came out, but ultimately it’s what killed my love for the band. it had those icky videos, stupid gross lyrics. and a lack of tunes. throwing copper was at this crossroads where they had potential to turn into a really good band, but they blew it. or maybe it was never in them to begin with.

    i always thought it was interesting that they seemed to have more “indie” taste early on (they covered a GBV song in concert before bee thousand was even released, a single from their first album sounded like the smiths, they did a vic chesnutt cover, etc.). but their post-throwing copper stuff sounded like they were chasing popular trends, with diminishing returns.

  11. I liked the hits and videos alot as a youngster and still have the hits as mp3s in my ’90s singles’ folder which get random rotation once in awhile. I will say that Lightning Crashes is definitely the one that I hope will stay in the collective conscious the longest, and I think that truly is a great song. It’s a blast to do at karaoke too. ‘I Alone’ is admittedly catchier, but, I mean PALE BLUE COLORED EYES. Gets me every time.
    And that album cover artwork was definitely one my faves from the 90s. And their logo in general.
    I do distinctly remember my dad saying 20 years ago ‘Are you sure it’s not Live (pronouced Liv)’? Oh dad.

  12. Uhhh, to the author: you do realize the name of the sixth single is “White, Discussion” and not “White, Conversation,” right? Easy mistake I’m sure.
    That was probably the best song on that album anyway.

    I was definitely into Throwing Copper by 1995… shit, EVERYONE was. Then by 1999 yeah, they were already basically has-beens. Very much a product of the 90s, didn’t really belong to any particular scene, and by contrast come off as adult-contemporary rock now.

    But I also distinctly remember that the video for “White, Discussion” was played on 120 Minutes / Alternative Nation EVERY goddamn night during the summer of 1995, or so it seemed.

    Ah well. Memories, eh?

  13. I am not ashamed: I love this album. Not loved. Love. Well, maybe I am a little ashamed, because liking Live has become such a shameful endeavor; but I do love it nonetheless. I actually just listened to it a week or so ago for the first time in years. Some goofy lyrics? Sure. Overly earnest? Definitely. But I still think it’s great.

    Live’s career trajectory was weird and, ultimately, quite unfortunate. I think the band’s own severe trajectory toward crapiness (crappyness?) is one of the reasons they’re today remembered as “being a de-evolutionary step on the path from Pearl Jam to Creed,” as Chris put it. But I can’t help but think that this album would be remembered much differently if they hadn’t released anything afterward. I think if they had just stopped here, they wouldn’t have garnered so much ill will, and people might be able to discuss this album without having such a bad taste in their mouths.

    • You know, I’m actually quite unaware of what happened to them late in their career. maybe that’s why I still have fond feelings for that album. That and the opening track.

    • Honestly, many people don’t remember anything about Live after this album. As far as I can tell, people only remember Live because of this album, and I’d say Chris’s description is pretty accurate. I DO like Lightning Crashes. I think it’s better than Creed’s better songs and worse than Pearl Jam’s.

  14. Ya’ll better stop throwing shade on Throwing Copper.

  15. “Iris” is certainly not filler, good sir.

  16. PJ Harvey opened for them on this tour, believe it or not.

    • I saw this tour at Jones Beach. It was Live / Veruca Salt / PJ Harvey.

      • I saw them a few times in their touring for this album. The first time, and probably the most exciting, was in Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD show at Great Woods.

        Then I saw them headline in the fall The Sting in New Britain — Weezer opened.

        http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/live/1994/the-sting-new-britain-ct-1bd6edd0.html

        Finally, I saw them at Mullins Center at UMass and they had put plastic bags over a lot of the seats so that people in the stands wouldn’t jump onto the floor, and into the pit. It made us in the stands feel like we were watching other people at a show, as opposed to the show being for us. That was the last time I saw Live live.

  17. I was in college when Mental Jewelry came out and can confirm that album had a decent amount of buzz around it. “Pain Lies on the Riverside” was a good little jam. However, when Throwing Copper came out and “I Alone” started getting play on MTV, they were a joke. “Lighting Crashes” is so over the top and tries way too hard. Our Lady Peace were much better and had better songs.

    • totally true about OLP. i used to think of them as the canadian live, but they put out better albums and had a longer career before they started sucking.

    • I really liked Our Lady Peace as a teen but when I go back I think most of it is pretty unbelievably cheesy. I think I knew it then too but was on too many drugs to let it bother me. Basically I still like “Starseed” and “One Man Army” and that’s about it. I think the first two Live records hold up much better.

    • YES! I used to love OLP. Clumsy, front to back, is still one of my favorite 90s albums. I even enjoyed one of their later releases, Gravity, quite a bit.

  18. This is a great piece. Affectionate and insightful where you’d perhaps expect a great dose of snarkiness and dismissive rhetoric. Personally, I still hate them, as they were one of the reasons why, as a young adult, I found myself thinking “Hold on, this is just the new hair metal”, and drifted off into other stuff, throwing away Gin Blossoms, Candlebox and Counting Crows albums in the process. But those who read music criticism and thinkpieces just to validate their own point of view are idiots. So hats off to Chris and Stereogum.

  19. mptc  |   Posted on Apr 18th +3

    I used to despise Live during their heyday. I’m certain that one point I probably felt they were the epitome of mainstream cheesy poseur alterna-rock. And were i to find this album in someone’s CD collection I’d have probably questioned their “cred”… If only in my head. But I was in my mid to late teens when anyone actually cared about Live and full of angst.

    In a bit of 90s grunge nostalgia I downloaded “Throwing Copper” five or so years ago and I was surprised how well i knew most of the songs (which i guess isn’t all that surprising since it was being played on the radio non-stop). But I was also surprised at how catchy the whole album was and how much I just kinda enjoyed having it on and singing along.

    I don’t think i’ll ever think of it as canonical and i don’t think it changed music in any sort of relevant way, but I can now appreciate it as a fun albeit at times cheesy listen. Of all the 90s bands who’ll only ever be remembered for a handful of radio singles and videos, “Throwing Copper” is probably one of the better albums from any of those bands.

  20. This album was way beyond all the clone bands of the 90′s. It was a huge leap from their debut album. This is a solid LP with a lot of great songs that flow together, even though I got really sick of hearing “Lightening Crashes”. Unfortunately they never really got better than this. One of the best shows I saw back then was Live and Weezer(both albums had only been out a few weeks) playing this large club on a freezing November night. It was packed and hot as crap in the venue but they both really delivered.

  21. I think “Throwing Copper” is incredible, and I think that the author of this article is way to quick to label Kowalcyzk’s lyrics as non-sensical gibberish. “Lightening Crashes” came out when I was ten years old, right around when my mother died and that song and video perfectly illustrated the beauty and necessity of death. You know, someone dies but in the same second someone is born. It’s all recycling from a greater source. That was and still is really powerful stuff and it really helped me to be at peace with my mother dying.

    Beyond my personal reasons for harboring a soft spot for it, I think the singles were all strong and the rest of the album was entirely listenable, notably “Dam at Otter Creek” and “Waitress.” And I love that they released “White Discussion” as a single, that song is great. I know it’s hard not to judge the totality of a band’s career on the nearly inevitable embarassments that visit them after the fall from their high water mark, and the leather pants and playing five year old big hits thing is about all I need to know that I oughta be judging them hardcore. But for a minute let’s just look at the album on its merits. “Throwing Copper” was some good good shit.

  22. I never thought Live was a laughingstock. They were an excellent band for the time that had some excellent popular songs. “Throwing Copper” is an excellent album and I think it is one of the great albums of the 90′s, hence why we are talking about it 20 years later.

  23. “Lightning Crashes” is a great song. And yes I did hear the dolphin’s cry.

  24. Ok I just watched the “Selling the Drama” video and I have to comment again. How many of this sorta-kinda-grunge-maybe-not-really bands used the “long haired crazed guy and his band in the woods being shot from unflattering angles” theme for their videos? Man. Also I notice that Kowalcyzk’s vision problems seemed to clear up as soon as he shaved his hair into a rat tail and took that thing off his head. What good fortune.

  25. My two memories of Live are:

    Buying Throwing Copper on the same day as Jesus and Mary Chain’s Pscychocandy, then busing it to Lollapalooza ’94 the next day. I still do like Selling the Drama, which is why I bought it, but hated everything else. I think I gave it to my brother’s g/f at the time… JAMC is in my top 10 albums of all time.

    The second memory is reading a magazine article about Live and someone wrote in the next issue to say something like – “every high school in America has a total jack-ass named Chad that goes to it. Now I discover that Live has two guys in the band named Chad” Still cracks me up.

  26. I became a fan of Live around the time Secret Samadhi came out, a dark, bleak record that seemed to come out of left field. With it’s non-sensical lyrics and emo-like themes, I think it’s brilliant and feel it still holds up. Throwing Copper on the other hand, had it’s hits but also some deeper cuts that holds the album together well; songs like “The Dam at Otter Creek”, “T.B.D.” And “Pillar of Davidson” give the album a darker edge and reminds us that Live is not just in it for the hits.

    ‘Throwing Copper’ should not be compared or judged by what other trends were popular in the 90s but instead be appreciated for nothing else but the music. I’m probably in the minority as someone who enjoyed this album as a whole and not just the hits.

    Live’s fourth record ‘The Distance to Here’ was still good IMHO, but it was after this album that even I lost interest in the band, not as many darker-moody songs but still solid.

    …God I miss the 90s.

  27. This is legitimately the best thing I’ve ever read on Stereogum. Funny, insightful, and absolutely dead-on. This was an ubiquitous album for a while; it’s nice to see someone recognize that.

    “And to luuuurv….a gawahd.”

  28. This is a completely biased story!! Ed did nothing except open his mouth and steal from the rest of the band. This is a celebration of LIVE, not Ed.

  29. Readers who are dismissing this article are missing out on some good stuff. Not the music, because that is frankly subpar, but certainly a look into a huge shift in music trends and culture.

    I grew up long after the 90′s alt-rock revolution so my feelings toward bands like Live, Everclear, Candlebox, and Pearl Jam, that have legacies ranging from bad to sort of revered in the indie community, are strictly based on the music. There are a few tracks from the “Nirvana-to-Creed” movement that I enjoy, but for the most part it all seems like bands that couldn’t write anything worthwhile, so they used the cool and edgy post-grunge sound to be relevant. I’ve come back to these bands at different points in my life to give them a try, but it’s never clicked and I don’t think it’s ever going to.

    That said, I have a few friends that were teenagers at the time Throwing Copper and the bunch came out. Some of them still occasionally give the albums a play, some do their best to avoid admitting they owned Sixteen Stone. The one thing they all agree on is that it seemed like the rock side of indie/alternative music was going in the direction of bands like Live and in the post-Nirvana landscape it was possible for those kind of bands to even be cool and hip. They all admit to having been swept up in a movement, as if being born later on and having a more objective view of the music would give them a totally different level of appreciation or disdain.

    I find this fascinating because I constantly wonder what new bands I love that are going age poorly because they only seemed great within the current trend or movement, and mid-90′s music seems like a great example of it in the indie/alt community.

    I’m pretty sure some of the synth tinged indie-pop bands that so desperately want it to be the 80′s again are going to be some of the biggest offenders that are big right now, but I still love them and I’m sure I will 20 years from now. Just like those who still believe in Throwing Copper’s greatness.

    • Also, props to Chris for once again bringing a sincere view of music that people want to immediately discount without a discussion. Possibly my favorite music writer on the world wide web (sorry Tom, I could only take so many Mac Demarco disses).

  30. This makes me incredibly nostalgic.. The singles from this album are like a time capsule back to the mid to late 90s for me.. Why the hate? Not like yall were subjected to reading through a Barenaked Ladies write-up

  31. Auto  |   Posted on Apr 19th +2

    I’m wondering which 2013/14 records are going to get ‘x turns 10′ posts on 2023 Stereogum.

  32. ga  |   Posted on Apr 19th +1

    Stereogum is getting mad points from me for covering this. This was such a huge record that it would be a detriment not to cover this album. I agree, if they followed this up in a better way, it would have been looked at better. I also listened to this right along the other classics of this era and I enjoyed this one equally with the others.

  33. Just wanted to chime in and give props to “Pillars of Davidson” ..despite not even making your review, it’s easily the highlight of the album for me. It’s a weird thing for a “Grunge” band to try and write a Springsteen style anthem, and I thought Live pulled it off and then some…

  34. I always associate this band with the game Myst

  35. I thought Operation Spirit was a killer song so I bought Mental Jewelry, but it wasn’t very good and so Live fell off my radar. Not being a radio listener, I never noticed Throwing Copper. I was too enthralled by Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, and many others to notice them. Maybe they were big with the fraternity crowd?

  36. I was really in to this album at about age 10 or 11, circa 1998/1999. By the age of 12 I had moved on to Elliott Smith, Sunny Day Real Estate, The Get Up Kids, The Promise Ring, etc.

  37. I was listening to Autre Ne Veut yesterday. Heard a lot of “Lightning Crashes” in the track “Gonna Die.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTbzfybCgNY

  38. I saw these guys as part of the Y100 Feastiville in Philly in like 2000. Don’t remember it making any kind of serious impression. I did always like their singles – from this album’s to around “Dolphin’s Cry”, but I always thought their album cuts were pretty bad, on both this album and the one with “Dolphin’s Cry”, which I both had at some point.

  39. Aaaaand we’re out.

  40. LIVE! Had a couple good songs, but they were never not overwrought.

  41. just played it, and yep — “lightning crashes” has still got it. gave me chills watching the video.

    and yeah, he’s pretty overwrought and histrionic to fault, but ed was actually a good vocalist with an interesting voice. compared to dunderheads like scott stapp or whoever.

  42. I love this album. Thanks for the article, Chris.

  43. so, is Collective Soul next? Sponge, perhaps?

  44. Fun to read and remember and watch the videos. I was 16, and liked this. I had Mental Jewelry already, and then got this VERY quickly when it came out… on cassette tape. I think I might have even loved it… until the Lightning Crashes juggernaut. I was NOT a fan of heavy rotation of much of anything, and like usual the songs that were chosen for heavy rotation were not my faves.

    I would say that musically (and visually) it has not aged well at all. Unlike say Pearl Jam “VS” or their lesser remembered “No Code”, which both still sound creative and edgy on some level.

    I think ultimately the reason that bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden have more cred is because their music AND the bands themselves have that elusive quality “charisma”. These guys, as the videos remind us, have it in much less quantity. Also, the guitar tones aren’t as good.

    Toadies and that Sex and Candy band were better, if we are talking about second tier post grunge. Very enjoyable article though, and IMO quite worth writing, since this was pretty huge and certainly meant something to me back then.

  45. This video I made with camp kids at the time was the most fun I had with this album:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdoG5o-mSGc

  46. The success of those hooky singles is also why Live is a punchline now. Four singles is the kiss of death—or at least it was for ’90s bands. Live, Soul Asylum, Alanis Morrissette, Bush… (Counting Crows escaped by the skin of their teeth by waiting 3 years to put out another album.) When people have listened to four or more of your songs for two years straight, you become cliché whether or not you deserve it.

  47. I couldn’t stand those songs and I couldn’t stand that band. To me, they were a band that just took themselves and their songs waaaay too seriously. In this sense, Live was pretentious as hell. Selling the Drama was a very apropo title for one of their songs. In this sense, they represented the worst aspect of the grunge and post-grunge rock of the 90′s. I remember when The Presidents of the United States arrived on the scene, they were such a welcome relief from all that all that overly serious melodramatic crap of which Live excelled at. It was like, Thank God! A band with a sense of fun, again.

    • ga  |   Posted on May 9th 0

      Someone has GOT to explain to me the whole critique against “pretentious” and “serious” music. It’s totally okay and hip to sing about doing godknowswhat in the bathroom with cameras on like R Kelly while it’s a mortal sin to be “serious”. Movies have different genres: drama, action, comedy, horror … why is it wrong to do dramatic music?

  48. Wow these videos are bad.

  49. Honestly, I never looked into Live beyond this album because I decided no matter what they make it can’t be as good as this album. This is one of my favorite albums of all time.

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