Ed Roland has written seven #1 songs in his lifetime, all with Collective Soul. It looked like the quest for the eighth was going to come sometime soon. But while it was previously reported that the band will be working on new material at some point in 2013, it appears that things are heading in a different direction. Ed’s brother Dean plays in Magnets and Ghosts alongside of Ryan Potesta. Bassist Will Turpin has a solo album out called The Lighthouse. And now Ed Roland himself has a new musical venture, Ed Roland and The Sweet Tea Project. Ed recently took the time to chat with Alternative Addiction about forming the new band, what he has planned with the new endeavor, and the future of Collective Soul.
“We started about a year and a half ago,” explained the frontman of Collective Soul about his new band. “A bunch of guys play in what I call the coffee house circuit here in Atlanta- they’ve got their acoustic guitars and stuff like that. We had just built our new home and we have the studio in the basement now. These guys in the circuit, their shows would end around midnight and they knew that I would be up if I was home. So, they’d come over and I just started showing them these songs. I couldn’t show them to the guys in Collective Soul because they’re not Collective Soul songs. So we had these songs and we were just having fun hanging out jamming. But then we did an Earth Day gig for Sweet Tea playing with Band of Horses and everybody freaked out and thought it was amazing. We thought maybe we should record this. We finished it up around October of last year. Then we got on the Bob Dylan tribute that Amnesty International did, we got on that and submitted 'Shelter from the Storm.' That got a great reaction too so we kept going. I guess we kind of accidentally started a band.”
The members of the new group consist of five players including Roland. There’s Jeff Beach playing drums, Tomi Martin on guitar, Christopher Yates playing Trumpet and Banjo, and Brian Bisky on bass. The group formed around the original three- Roland, Yates, and Bisky- listening to the songs in Roland’s new studio. When talking with Ed about how he identified the songs as music that wouldn’t work for Collective Soul, he clarified by saying that it was what he heard in his head while writing that made them stand out as something different.
“I hear the instruments in my head when I’m writing,” said Roland. “But I have approached the guys from Collective Soul when I’m working and asked if a song felt comfortable to them. They said, ‘ya know, it’s not really what we do.’ My brother and Will are very vocal about that and I’ve got no problem asking them [laughs.] Most of the time though, I don’t know what separates them, maybe lyrical content, a little more story-telling, but you still try to make the song as melodic as you can.”
Ed Roland and The Sweet Tea Project will release their debut EP, Devils ‘n Darlins sometime this fall. A full album is expected to be released as a follow-up early in 2013. While the band has performed a few times this year, they’ll be looking to do more extensive touring into next year. Basically, Ed has broad plans for his new group and it’s going to keep him away from doing Collective Soul for some time. Roland classified his new band and explained the future of Collective Soul.
“I’m not even calling it a side project. It’s what I want to do over the next year and a half or maybe even two years. Everybody’s good in Collective Soul, everybody’s doing their projects and everybody’s done really good work. I’m really proud of them. It’s good to take a little time off, it’ll stimulate everybody until we get back to it, but this is really stimulating for me right now.”
For more information on Ed Roland and The Sweet Tea Project, visit www.facebook.com/thesweetteaproject.