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December 7th, 2009

No “Lead Singer Bonus” For You, Ed Kowalczyk!

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We can’t imagine that at this point you’re shedding too many tears over the demise of Live — the alt-rock band from nearby York, PA that got lots of support from Philly radio and venues in the early years, helping propel them to early/mid-’90s stardom. The foursome has done approximately nothing interesting since, oh, 1997 or so (some might argue since their inception, but we admit we liked a handful songs from 1994’s Throwing Copper, especially the one about the “placenta falling to the floor,” back in our college days), and they’ve been on hiatus for about a year (although it seems like more than a decade).

But the circumstances surrounding their split are surprisingly more dramatic (and kinda humorous) than just some band’s drawn-out fade from the spotlight. According to Live guitarist Chad Taylor, frontman Ed Kowalczyk signed a secret publishing contract in 2005 — ostensibly to shut the rest of the band out of royalties or whatever money was to come their way. And on top of that, Kowalczyk apparently demanded “a $100,000 ‘lead singer bonus’” for Live to play this year’s Pinkpop Festival in the Netherlands. That, apparently, was the last straw. Says Taylor, “In light of these matter, I can’t ever see myself working with Ed, let alone ever being in the same room with him. LIVE was always about the band, when Ed lost sight of that in favor of his own ambitions and goals, our considerable fans base began to sigh a collective yawn.”

Taylor’s whole blog post after the jump.

There have been tons of crazy rumors surrounding the hiatus of LIVE. I have read quite a few and laughed at the extremely creative imaginations of our fans. I’ve been reluctant to fan the flames but the rumors are getting further away from the truth and I will try to set the record straight from my standpoint.

First and foremost, Ed has every legal right to perform the songs he helped birth while being the front man for LIVE. The copyrights for these songs are owned by Chad Gracey, Patrick Dahlheimer, Ed Kowlalczyk and myself. Ed does not control the catalog but rather the bands publishing company, Black Coffee Publishing, Inc. Black Coffee is a majority rule corporation.

Yes, it is true, there was a hidden publishing contract signed in 2005. I personally discovered it via a communication breakdown. Ed is listed as the only signature. When I wrote him to find some resolution to the situation, he failed to respond. I have left these matters to our attorneys who will no doubt file a complaint. Honestly, I don’t care about the financial/legal outcome of these matters, the proof is on the page. Ed was able to stab his three best friends from middle school in the back. This act was far down the line from typical rock star ego. As you can imagine I am deeply hurt and wounded.

In light of these matter, I can’t ever see myself working with Ed, let alone ever being in the same room with him. LIVE was always about the band, when Ed lost sight of that in favor of his own ambitions and goals, our considerable fans base began to sigh a collective yawn.

As band mates and friends and despite the lack of fresh material we continued to support Ed with all of our integrity. The final blow was Ed’s request for a $100,000 “lead singer bonus” to perform as surprise guests at this years Pink Pop Festival. I was informed of his request by our management and politely told them to “fuck off.”

Ed will no longer be the vocalist for the band LIVE. At this point in time, we have made no official plans to replace him but it is clear that he is no friend of mine or the lifelong fans of LIVE.

I have focused my energy on creating new music with The Gracious Few. I look forward to seeing many LIVE fans in the audience at our shows. Patrick, Chad and I have made a pledge to honor our long shared history with the fans of LIVE. You will always be graciously welcome in our house.

Love

Chad Taylor

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  1. 52 Responses to “No “Lead Singer Bonus” For You, Ed Kowalczyk!”

  2. By jesselun on Dec 8, 2009

    Really? After all these years Ed turns out to be pretentious? I’m shocked, he always seemed so humble

  3. By Misti on Dec 9, 2009

    Ed, humble? Not when I met him. Patrick, Chad, and Chad were always very welcoming and gracious. I love those guys. Ed always seemed distant, unless you were a “hot” chick…

  4. By ian on Apr 15, 2010

    Ed was a brilliant frontman, but I had thought for years that his lyrical direction and on stage persona were at odds with the rest of the band – can’t wait for TGF’s debut album!

  5. By ChuckBerry on Jun 14, 2010

    Seems like he decided to pull a Phil Anselmo, instead of being a man and just leaving the band, he acted like a bitch, backstabbed, and made them force him out.

    Throwing Copper is one of the best CD’s of the 90’s, in spite of Ed’s really shitty attitude.

  6. By Alex Bernazzoli on Jul 29, 2010

    I have been a huge LIVE fan since their very beginning and I’ve always been in love with their sound as wel as Ed’s voice. Despite all this, Ed’s behaviour was quite disappointing (the sick side of his super-ego attitude, that has been always there..) and the rest of the band took the right decision..But I’ll miss their mix of energy and absolutely unique sound…”there was grace”, to quote the bastard…

  7. By Allie on Aug 6, 2010

    When it comes down to it they are all jerks. They all cheat on their wives, drink and party too much and all have rock star attitudes….

  8. By chain link on Aug 6, 2010

    I started to notice the change when “The distance to here” came out. Which band member wrote which part of which song was listed in the credits. Follwed up by Ed’s V which was just a joke. Since Distance – they have had MAYBE 1 Cd’s worth of good material. Ed maybe should have let the guys do more writing.

  9. By Fan on Aug 9, 2010

    I really love(d) the songs of live! Especially the old ones… But now, when i get to know more about Ed´s attitude, hearing his songs feels different.

    Its so sad…

  10. By burr on Aug 13, 2010

    Now Ed not only reminds me of Michael Stipe in his appearance, but also in his pretentious attitude. What a shame, I have some great memories of Live.

  11. By bill on Aug 16, 2010

    I, too, have followed Live since MJ. I agree the last few albums were pretty bad. My wife bought me Ed’s solo disk as a surprise–I didn’t know about Ego Ed until now. Now, I’m stuck with the disk:(

  12. By Kris on Aug 19, 2010

    I agreem with Bill’s comments among others, I was a HUGE fan of Live and was really really disappointed to hear about Ed. I just bought tickets, to see him in Melbourne, Australia (plus bought he’s cd) not realising what had happened with the band..thought they were having a break! Just found out what happened. I feel really sad it went down this way, I thought Ed was a spiritual person. Rock on TGF, I heard some og your songs and welcome back!! This is what has been missing from Live for the last few albums, your are definately my new FAVOURITE band. Cant wait to buy the CD, please please come to Melbourne, Australia!!!!!

  13. By Flynn on Aug 24, 2010

    honestly…front-man is an overrated titled…it doesn’t really mean anything…’cept your the duschebag of the band…

    eff it, I’ll sing for ya’lls…

  14. By djshaggy on Sep 1, 2010

    Oh well. They made quite good music in my opinion. Ed did have a great lyrical style and voice. His songs were hit or miss at times with a general audience but I don’t think he (or the rest of the band) cared to be that mainstream anyway. It is sad that it has to end like this. I’d give each of them $100K just to shut up, make up and start over…..

  15. By DanK on Sep 3, 2010

    Too many great artists become afflicted with LSD (Lead Singer Disease) I can only name so many great 90’s bands that are no more because the front-man decided to be a douche bag. It’s sad, and I agree with Fan, once you find out the true behavior of the person who sings these songs that you love, you really hear them in a different way, and not necessarily a good way.

  16. By cassie on Sep 16, 2010

    all good things must come to an end…..im another shattered LIVE fan. so many great songs! i dont care what happened between the band members- thats their business, but its a damn shame they broke up. i will continue to listen to all the music, written and performed by ALL members. i love ed’s new album and TGF are most welcome on my ipod! COME ON PEOPLE ENJOY THE MUSIC….STILL. they are all talented artists and why let what happened between them make us choose what side of the fence we sit on?

  17. By Jared on Sep 21, 2010

    I wish it had been different. I can’t listen to Ed anymore. I used to really respect the whole band. I stopped buying albums after “V”, which was a disappointing disc. The last good album was Distance. Now I listen to TGF and I totally resonate with it. I listen to “Grace” and it’s the same old composition that worked for Dolphins, and was rebirthed way too many times. I think that until Ed finds what he lost when he could betray school chums he will never have what it takes to truly compose material with meaning. I am truly disappointed. I wish all of them to figure out the best way forward and I will listen to TGF because they have integrity. I have not given up on Ed. He’s just lost for now.

  18. By VickieS on Sep 21, 2010

    Saw Ed last year solo. Great show he only sang 1 new song so it was all the songs we love so much. I got to meet him after and to be honest, I thought he was a bit of a jerk. I was surprised. Take a look at his online store. He promotes a lot of things he must not practice himself. Got tickets for his upcoming show this week in Chicago. I want to be excited but having a hard time with it. The TGF cd is awesome.

  19. By HutchenceVox on Sep 23, 2010

    I’d like to see an Ed vs. JD Fortune steel cage match But seriously folks, Ed never really recovered from being a poor man’s Kobain or Veddar.

  20. By Michele on Sep 25, 2010

    Went to his show as my date insisted on seeing him and a local band would have gotten more fans. The place was dead. His fans consisted of 5 linebacker woman at the front and maybe 100 people. Sad, serves him right for screwing his band members over.

  21. By Jason on Sep 30, 2010

    The rest of the band is now The Gracious Few. If you want to hear a great rock album check it out.

  22. By Rhiannon on Oct 7, 2010

    I am utterly devastated. I’ve been a LIVE fan since…forever. And that just renders me speechless. I can’t believe that someone I admired so much has done something so callous :(

  23. By damien@freestuff4free on Oct 28, 2010

    I’m working with Ed on his tour of Australia and have found him quite approachable. Each to his own I guess.

  24. By brenda on Nov 3, 2010

    Long live the gracious few!!!!!

  25. By jo on Nov 13, 2010

    Why ED! I was just telling friends about how amazing they are and how I miss them. Never really kept up with all of the details surrounding them and the band though. Glad I just checked because this pisses me off. Get your head out of your ass ED and apologize to your FRIENDS and former bandmates and start making some music again. People will see through you and you won’t be successful like you want if you are doing it so selfishly! I mean its okay if you want to branch out and do solo stuff for awhile but don’t sabotage people in the process.

  26. By edfanforlife on Nov 15, 2010

    Even with the things Chad said, I still love Ed and always will. Years back I waited for hours after one of their shows to meet the band, and Ed was the only one that would come over and say hi and sign everything we wanted. I love Live and am sorry to see them split, very sorry, but I will be following Ed’s solo career probably more so than the Gracious Few. Bummer deal.

  27. By Brett on Nov 19, 2010

    one report and all these supposed LIVE fans turn their back on the man that gave them their signature sound? Throwing Copper is still one of my all time fav CDs, but people who say Black Mountain wasnt 100% are joking – “The River” is the best LIVE song ever! Why not just accept they have split and wish TGF and Ed all the best and thank them for what they have given us to date!

  28. By adhy on Nov 21, 2010

    as a huge fans of live from indonesia, i’m crushed! and what suck is.. i found out about this only minutes ago, when i browse for live old albums lyrics, i always think that Ed is a humble, down to earth kinda person.. but then.. i dont know if i can still look at his pics, i really missed live’s tone of music, all the best to you guys in TGF! lookin forward to see you guys in indonesia.

  29. By Jesse on Nov 25, 2010

    Well, that is lame of Ed. However, let’s all remember that we are not hearing all sides of the story, and probably never will.

    I’m actually listening to Ed’s new album right now as I type this, and while it’s not LIVE, it’s good. It too am very much looking forward to hearing The Gracious Few, and the silver lining may end up being that we have two amazing bands to listen to from one.

    I have been a huge fan of all of LIVE’s albums, starting with Four Songs, and wish all four of them the best.

  30. By John Hubler on Dec 2, 2010

    As far as I am concerned, removing Ed from the band was leaving the best part of the band behind. I think he had every right to request a $100,000 lead singer bonus, because he is ultimately who people went there to see. In all of the Live concerts that I’ve been to, I never spent more than a few seconds looking at the other band members – it was always focused on Ed, whose energy and showmanship were what drove the show. And in all honesty, I feel like they could have replaced any of the other three band members at any given show, and as long as Ed was up front singing, I would’ve walked out of that show feeling completely fulfilled.

  31. By James on Dec 8, 2010

    You should have paid him the $100k. It sounds to me like the rest of the band had LSE and could not accept the fact that they are more replaceable than the lead singer.

    Or…maybe they could accept it and this is just a publicity stunt. Worked on me! I havn’t given two shits about this band since the mid 90’s and here I am. Which goes to prove – if you produce shit most fans will leave. You are left with only the hardcore morons that would support anything the Band puts out.

  32. By Stasiu on Dec 18, 2010

    Harsh comments on here. I agree that the band peaked with Throwing Copper, but I’ve enjoyed most of the albums they’ve put out since then. I’d always wanted to see them in concert. Looks like I waited too long :( Oh well. Thanks for times, Live.

  33. By Lakini on Jan 22, 2011

    Funny how the “Lead Singer Bonus” was mentioned through a third party. How come Chad had to write Ed a letter? No phone call? Best friends indeed. Airing dirty laundry in public, especially unfounded and legally challenged laundry can be dangerous. How about we all move on and just listen to their music. Ed’s and TGF’s.

  34. By seasalt on Jan 25, 2011

    Really disappointed. I loved Throwing Copper and many of the songs from Mental Jewelry. Other albums were just ok, but for me they didn’t seem to have the intensity of these two and sometimes felt I was listening to Hillsong. Always hoped that they’d bring an album out that rediscovered this. Guess that won’t happen now. Pitty!

  35. By Dennis M on Feb 18, 2011

    I agree with Misti and so many others about Ed being a jerk. I am from Adelaide, South Australia. I was at one of the LIVE concerts a few years back at the Adelaide Convention Centre and met with the band backstage. All the band were great and heaps friendly. I remember getting a picture taken with all of them and my fav was with Chad Taylor doing the Guitar Stomp and he had a mohawk at the time. Chad Gracie was a great bloke too, but Ed was unfriendly, withdrawn and looked like he couldn’t give a stuff about his fans. Absolutely, loved LIVE but after that episode, I wasn’t keen to see another concert with Ed being the lead singer. Whilst its sad, but I think the these great blokes are better off without that ego maniac!

  36. By Marilyn on May 21, 2011

    Wow – I just found out and am crushed! I love the old stuff Mental Jewelry, Throwing Copper and I loved Secret Samadhi, even though it wasn’t a great hit. Agree they went downhill after Distance to here, but seeing them live was something else. Fans young and old sang every song, and new all the words. Have not heard Gracious Few. I am so disappointed that Ed would do this to the rest of the band.

  37. By XYZ on Jun 16, 2011

    Such a shame! Though I’ve always loved and always will love LIVE. They already have their place in the music history and noone can take that away. Sad when fame goes to ur head. I hope he’ll make up with his bandmates sooner or later. Folks, jerk or not, music is all that matters. Try to make the difference and get whats best. If we judge artists by their degree of jerkness or anything else, most likely we wouldnt listen to any music at all ever.

  38. By Anthony on Jul 2, 2011

    This is so sad.
    I will listen to the new band and I hope I love it, I follow the band and not the one holding the knife.

    I looked upto Ed so much and for so long… I even took direction from him in regards to religion with budha, but i have heard that he has no tured christian….i dont know if this is true but ,well, his actions make it clear that he is no cristian either.

    Im ashamed of Ed.

    /overcome.

  39. By Grim on Jul 12, 2011

    Reading back the comments, I see a lot of disappointed fans. I can relate to that. Too many bands don’t make it to grow old together. That’s some sort of musical law as well. The chemistry to stay together is very very complex; all the musical interests and personal wishes should mix in a natural way, and evolve together the same way. Clearly that didn’t work out for Live. Too bad, but not uncommon.

    For as far as the story is concerned; I agree with the few that said Ed was the face and the voice of the band. Someone with such a presence is a lead singer by nature. The rest is sorta replacable, but Ed was the heart and soul of the band. And if someone is as talented as he is, he has the right to be a d!ck every once in a while. If I wanted a humble man, I’d talk to my neighbour. If I want to be entertained by a rockstar, I want the attitude to go with it.

    Too bad it didnt work out for Live, and me. Especially their early work shall bring shivers through my spine for as long as I live. When they were good, they were GOOD! As such I will cherish them…

  40. By sp on Jul 16, 2011

    xyz is right, as much as it’s sad that ed punked the band, the music was amazing and that’s what will live on

  41. By T on Oct 9, 2011

    I also am amazed at all the Live “fans” who read this one blog and turned their backs on Ed. Obviously this split didn’t go well, but this is one side of the story. Ed put out polite comments, not airing dirty laundry, and these negative comments are the ones that get all the response?

    I saw Ed at a show tonight. He did a lot of old stuff and some new stuff. I even got to meet him after, and he was completely laid back, nice and met with the fans that wanted to meet him.

    I think he’s a good guy, and overall it sucks that Live broke up, but I wish only good towards both sides!

  42. By Chris on Mar 12, 2012

    Tonight’s the night we get to see the new singer! I’m excited to be going to see Live again even without Ed who I’ll miss.

  43. By Gutted on Mar 14, 2012

    Wow. I’ve been a live fan for about 20 years, we used to listen to them while having a few drinks and despite some pretty big gaps between albums, they brought the magic every time. I missed seeing them when they came to Christchurch, New Zealand, and sadly I’ve missed my chance. What Ed did is pretty disappointing, but the music remains the same and still has the same impact it always has.

    I really hope TGF are just as awesome, and that they come to Christchurch (once we’ve rebuilt the city I guess)!! For now I’ll just have to settle for the albums, right back to Mental Jewelry and a few ‘Public Affection’ songs too!

    So yea…. gutted.

  44. By CAZ on Mar 19, 2012

    I can’t say that I approve of Ed’s actions. Besides the song ” Grace” which I found awesome , I must say I was disapointed with the rest of the album. I wish no ill towards Ed, but I’m affraid that his ego will be his downfall and he is already suffering the bad karma of his selfish actions. Nevertheless, I still like him and pray that one day, all will be forgiven and Ed will see the light of his errors. I just can’t imagine LIVE without Ed Kowalczyk.

  45. By Shleprock on Apr 11, 2012

    Just now learned of this…what a bummer. I was a big fan of Lives earlier work, haven’t kept with the new stuff. While I’m not a dyed-in-the-wool fan like some folks (some of whom sound like they’re gonna need grief counseling) they had a very distinct sound I felt set them apart, usually in a good way, which made them not only listenable but intriguing.

    As for Ed: he always gave me the impression that he was pompous, bombastic, and just a wee bit more impressed with himself than he ought to be…though I felt that often made him that much more entertaining. But I never realized before today just how much of a self-absorbed, shallow prick he really is.

    NOTE TO ED: when last I looked, Mr. Enlightened Shithouse Guru/Coffee Shop Philosopher, LIVE was a *BAND.* Not Ed Kowalczyk and three shmucks with instruments following you around basking i your reflected glory. These guys climbed to same tall ladder and walked the same a wearying path from Day #1, from being struggling band playing crappy gigs for chump change to platinum-selling headliners. And what do you do?? Screw them over, steal from them, and bail; you treat them worse than most self-respecting performers would treat a “session” band that way.

    Sounds like someone just read the Cliffs Notes version of the Bhoddisvatta Gita.

  46. By jason on May 1, 2012

    That sux. My mom worked with gracey’s mom.. i used to look up to those guys and still have a lot of respect for the remaining. Id like to take the live hat i had signed when i was ten and shove it up ed’s ass… bald prick… Yo ed… suck it u self righteous punk.

  47. By erv on Jun 1, 2012

    I used to write fictious-short stories about LIVE back in my college years..Despite the arrogant, self-centered, narcisstic person that Ed’s character had, i never ever thought it will be so bitter like this…

  48. By Nonojames on Jun 3, 2012

    Very disappointing. LIVE’s lyrics, melodies, and vibe always moved me, even if the song was not so great at times.

    I bought each album that was released – even not knowing if it was going to sound awesome or not because, I knew I was purchasing more than the music. I was getting a new piece of me.

    LIVE

  49. By Nonojames on Jun 3, 2012

    Very disappointing. I grew up with music around me, and I chose LIVE, as my favorite because LIVE’s lyrics, melodies, vibe and the band’s seeming humble attitude always moved me – even if the song was not so great at times.

    I bought each album that was released – even not knowing how it was going to sound before hand because, I knew I was purchasing more than the music. I was getting a new piece of me.

    Learning about Ed’s duplicity and that LIVE no-longer consists of the original crew, has definitely dampen my loyalty.

    I tried to listen to the sample songs with the new frontman…it’s not working for me. He sounds good, but lacking in identity. You need a new strong frontman that has a unique sound of his own. Someone to translate the songs VERY differently from Ed (w/o loosing LIVE’s esthetics) or else he’s just an understudy/substitute.

    I love LIVE. I wish Ed was still a part of you guys, but since he’s not, lose anyone that sounds like him when singing the songs…I can’t wait to hear and see what you guys come up with!

  50. By Ben on Jun 5, 2012

    Live was my favorite band in the 90’s. I met Ed after a show he did with the Counting Crows for a meet and greet thing I got through the fan club. He looked totally out of it. His handshake was like a fish. A cigarette was dangling from his lower lip. I don’t think he said a word to me or even looked at me. He more looked through me like I wasn’t there. Chad on the other hand couldn’t have been more gracious and friendly.

  51. By stephanie on Sep 12, 2012

    wow i always wondered what happened now i know. Let me just say i love live for a long time. But years ago i saw them on tv in some live concert series and made my decision not to by tickets to see live live mainly cause i could not stand to look at the way ed danced it was like he was constantly fucking the air. It was then i knew why i didn’t see them on tv much. So i hope the new guy is good and not screwing the air. I loved the music the bass player was the best part of the show that night. but from then on i could not even look at a pic of ed.

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  2. Oct 1, 2010: The Fall off LIVE and Rise of The Gracious Few | The Dead Hub
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