To celebrate the fact that so many great albums were released in 1994, Giddy Up America is looking back at some of the best and some of my favorites. You can follow along on Spotify with Giddy Up America’s Albums of 1994 playlist.
Giddy Up America’s Albums of 1994, Part Three: Live, Throwing Copper
They were not cool dudes.
They did not have a great band name.
They had a lead singer who kind of had a messiah complex.
They were Live, and for better or worse, they were a pretty decent rock ‘n roll band.
In April of 1994 Live released their second album, Throwing Cooper, which was introduced to us via the first single, “Selling the Drama.” Hailing from the not quite romanticized rock ‘n roll town of York, Pennsylvania, Live were four incredibly average looking dudes playing slightly above average rock songs. But no really, they were completely non-rock looking fellas. Here, let me find a picture.
(refined Google search and still looking)
Yeah, I couldn’t really find one. Why? Because the band’s name is Live, which makes them effin’ super hard to find when doing a Google search of “Live.” Even searching for “Live the band” doesn’t really work. You know why? Because it’s the word “live” which is word that could be associated with every single band in existence. I think they called themselves Live because they were good live or something like that. I’m not going to get into how stupid that is. It’s a band name. Band names generally suck. But they usually suck for reasons like “trying to be too clever” or “trying to sound too cool.” Live was a shitty band name because it was just way to generic. I mean really, Live. Come on guys.
Regardless, Live blew up in 1994, thanks in large part to the third single off of Throwing Cooper, “Lightning Crashes.”
“Lightning Crashes” became one of those holy shit, it’s everywhere songs because you know, holy shit it was everywhere. Alt rock stations could play it, but so could more middle of the road radio stations, stations that could play a Seal song and then “Lightning Crashes.” It was a song your Mom didn’t mind listening to as she drove you to soccer practice. The video was played endlessly, much more so than the videos for the first two singles, “Selling the Drama” and then the second single, “I Alone.” Live did a MTV Unplugged, played Woodstock ’94 and rode the amazing wave that was the evolution of front man’s Ed Kowalczyk’s hair. And what a wave, what a wild and illuminating ride it was. When the band first entered our lives, he looked like like he could be working behind the counter at your local coffee shop- coke-bottle glasses, long, wavy brown hair. That hair flowed wonderfully. Then all of that hair was gone. Well, almost gone. As you can see in the video for “I Alone,” he decided to leave a little reminder of his flowing locks glory days. Just a little taste.
I hadn’t watched that video in a very long time, so I just have to throw this out there- wow, is it awkward. Is it the most awkward video of all time? It’s got to be front-runner. I feel bad for the drummer, dancing around like a jackass. Could they not afford to get his drums to wherever the hell this was shot? It’s just not fair to stick him out there like that. It’s bad enough the guitarist and bassist have to do whatever they’re doing and that the whole band has to make room for the spastic and wildly maniacal moves of Kowalczyk, but the drummer- man, that poor son of a bitch. He looks like he’s dancing at a wedding before the open bar is open, which is never ever a good look.
After “I Alone,” Kowalczyk ditched the braid in favor of a complete shave look- ideally to look more serious for their serious video for their serious song, “Lightning Crashes” because ultimately Live was just that, a serious band. You could picture their bedrooms covered in U2 posters and hear the shitty covers of U2 songs they most likely played when they first started out. In an era of bands having a potentially tragic penchant for taking themselves too seriously, Live were the bees knees. They almost had to be. If you’re in a band that people really aren’t going to take that serious, then you have to make up for that by taking yourselves serious. And that’s what Live did.
But this isn’t meant to short change Throwing Copper, which in all honesty, is a good rock ‘n roll album, an album that surprisingly stands the test of time. The songs sound just as good loud as they did back in 1994. You still find yourself singing along. You now skip “Lightning Crashes,” but the rest of the songs are still really listenable. And it’s actually some of the less popular songs that sound better now- songs like “Stage,” “Shit Towne” and “Iris.” “I Alone” and “All Over You” still sound great and the muted intensity of the album’s final tracks can still back a shoved wallop.
I will forever have no interest in Live’s first album or any of the albums after Throwing Copper. I don’t really see the reason for them existing. But Throwing Cooper has longevity and just enough sentimentality to make it relevant today and will continue to do so in the years ahead. Every couple of years, I’ll rediscover Throwing Copper, listen to it semi-frequently for a couple weeks, wonder why there are no Live tribute bands out there and then subsequently forget about it again.
So with that being said, I’ll see you in 2016 Live. Stay out of trouble.