Jammin’ With Josh: Live

This is Jammin’ With Josh. Each week I take a look at one of the bands that I love. Or perhaps it will be a band that I just discovered and think you should check out. Or maybe it will just be a way for me to post music videos. Honestly, no one will ever know.

This week we take a look at probably my third favorite band, Live. Another trip down the 90s alt-rock memory lane. I can actually remember the first time I heard Live. We were out at Pap & Gram’s house and my cousin Tim let my dad borrow Throwing Copper because he wanted my dad to hear ‘Lightning Crashes.” We listened to it on the way home and I think I bought the CD a few days later.

I probably listened to Throwing Copper like 23,681 times over the next few months/years. It was in my crappy CD player and I would come home from school and just jam out to it on repeat, while doing homework or whatever kids do (I think I liked shooting hoops in my room on one of those cool door basketball sets).

I have seen them in concert five times (I think). The most memorable show was out at Bucknell. Mainly because Live was between albums and they played whatever the hell they wanted to play. They also did a great cover of “Imagine” by John Lennon. They also did a medley of songs from their fourth album; The Distance to Here, but instead of the songs being slower, they gave them a more rock feel, and it totally changed my perception of some of those songs.

Another great concert was when Offord and I saw them at Rec Hall. They mixed a ton of songs from the new album at the time (sixth), with some of their older stuff. However, the coolest moment came when Ed Kowalczyk said how they grew up in Pennsylvania and always heard about how Penn State has a cool chant. He started it with “We Are…” and naturally the crowd went crazy with “PENN STATE!” He did it a few more times and it got louder each time. He finally said something along the lines of “wow, you have no idea how powerful that feels. You can feel it right here (points to his heart).” Offord, you remember that?

I already mentioned it, but the song that everyone knows is “Lightning Crashes.” Someone told me long ago that Ed Kowalczyk wrote this about a friend who died during childbirth and that whenever he would sing it, he would cry. I remember someone else telling me that they no longer performed it because Ed would get too emotional. Not sure how true that is…since I am pretty sure they played it at every show I was at.

I do have a few other favorite, lesser known songs off of Throwing Copper:

I am pretty sure they wrote this song about growing up in York, PA. Have you ever been there? It is aptly named. However, growing up as a teenager in any small town really feels like Shit Towne. Hell, there is a popular podcast out there called S-Town.

Such a great song for anyone who has ever waited tables. “Everybody’s good enough for some change.” Not sure how this song never became the anthem of servers all over the country. “Come on baby leave some change behind, she was a bitch, but I don’t care, she brought our food out on time…”

One of my favorite songs from Live is “Run Away” which features Shelby Lynne. This came off the Birds of Pray album. Definitely one that I think more people should check out.

Now, I am about to say something that will get me ostracized by other Live fans. I absolutely LOVE V. That is their fifth album and the one that most fans despise. They experimented with different sounds, brought in the rapper Tricky for “Simple Creed” and just did weird stuff. And I loved it. It sounded different than their other stuff and to be honest, sounded a little different from everything else out there at the time.

And yes, there was the song that became one of the many ballads about 9/11 (although, did this just happen to come out around the same time and did Live just make the video as a tribute?)…”Overcome.”