December 7th, 2009
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.