Music Interview: Getting back together

By Rachel Betts-Wilmott

This one time at band camp…” isn’t the sort of thing you’d like to hear a pop star say. We’re all aware of the eerie stories band geeks accrue, while the tabloids constantly remind us of the flagrant sexuality of musicians. One can only hope Will Turpin of Collective Soul’s story doesn’t meet with popular expectations. Before starting out on their current tour of Canada, Collective Soul recorded a live album and DVD with the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra which they hope to release around September.

“It was kind of like music camp, spending a week with these kids,” Turpin says of his first experience as a camp counselor. “They were all between the ages of 14 and 19, it made it more special to teach them the arrangements and how to play rock’n’roll.”

The week of practices and dress rehearsals culminated in two sold out nights of being backed by a full orchestra and the kind of excitement music fans can only hope for in a tour. The tour, in support of their latest album Youth, released in November of 2004, is hotly anticipated as one of their best.

“Touring’s one of my favourite things,” gushes Turpin. “We love what we do and we’re playing on a level we haven’t played on before.”

The band definitely hadn’t been anywhere near the level he speaks of for about four years. In 2001, Collective Soul decided to call it quits, but retirement, it turns out, was really only a vacation.

“We were exhausted and just had to separate and find our own personal space,” drawled Turpin in his Georgia accent. The time apart was certainly useful, as the band has come back in full force with a renewed positive attitude. “We went to some pretty good space on this album.”

Though a little tuckered out from an intense bowling match the night before at the Thunder Bay bowling lanes, Turpin assures everyone is happy to be back in the saddle and writing the kind of pop music they’ve always had success with. They take things slowly now while on tour, allowing for nights of bowling and trips to landmarks in the cities they would have previously just buzzed through.

“I climbed to the top of Mount Royal when we were in Montreal, I never would have had the time for that before,” says Turpin his smile audible over the phone.

To Turpin and his bandmates, everything is coming up roses and they hope some of this upbeat attitude will rub off when they visit Calgary on May 22.

“We just hope they feel the love and enjoy the music,” he says enigmatically. “At heart we’re a glass-is-half-full band.”

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