Live Artistfacts

  • 1984-
    Ed KowalczykLead vocals, rhythm guitar1984-2009, 2016-
    Patrick DahlheimerBass1984-
    Chad TaylorLead guitar1984-
    Chad GraceyDrums1984-
    Chris ShinnLead vocals, rhythm guitar2012-2016
  • The alt-rock band Live formed in York, Pennsylvania, a semi-industrial town that's home to the Harley-Davidson motorcycle factory. It's also the subject of their songs "Sh-t Towne" and "Pillar Of Davidson."
  • Live started out as an instrumental trio called First Aid, made up of middle school pals, Chad Gracey (drums), Chad Taylor (guitar), and Patrick Dahlheimer (bass). Shortly after, they added Ed Kowalczyk as their lead singer and changed their name to Public Affection. Their early repertoire was mostly covers of New Wave songs.
  • Their first release as Live was the 1991 album Mental Jewelry, which was largely inspired by the works of Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti. Kowalczyk was particularly interested in Eastern religions, which influenced a lot of his lyrical concepts.
  • Their breakthrough album, Throwing Copper, sold 8 million copies in the US thanks to the popular singles "Lightning Crashes" and "I Alone." Most of their singles were released as radio promos rather than buyable singles, which helped boost album sales but made the songs ineligible for the Billboard Hot 100.
  • Michael Stipe of R.E.M. personally called Kowalczyk to tell him how much he loved Throwing Copper, particularly "Lightning Crashes."
  • Kowalczyk made a cameo appearance as a waiter in the 1999 movie Fight Club.
  • In 2009, the band went on a hiatus to pursue other projects, with Kowalczyk releasing the solo album Alive and Gracey, Taylor and Dahlheimer forming the band The Gracious Few with Candlebox members Kevin Martin and Sean Hennesy. When they got back together, it was without Kowalczyk. They added Chris Shinn as their new lead singer in 2012. He featured on one Live album, The Turn, before Kowalczyk returned in 2016.
  • There was some animosity between Kowalczyk and his former bandmates during their split. Aside from suing him for trademark infringement for continuing to use the Live name (by promoting himself as Ed Kowalczyk of Live), they also sought compensation for past publishing income.
  • Kowalczyk said watching U2 perform during the The Joshua Tree tour in 1987 inspired him to commit to music full time. He also credited the songs on the album for influencing the arrangements of Live songs, such as "Lightning Crashes," that quietly build to a big emotional crescendo.
  • Taylor was shocked to learn that Elton John was a big fan of their album Mental Jewelry after the singer approached him at a hotel in Norway to tell him how much he loved it.
  • Live also got quite an endorsement from punk veteran Johnny Rotten when they toured with his band Public Image Ltd. Rotten would hold up a vinyl copy of Throwing Copper and tell the crowd, "This band is the next Sex Pistols!"
  • Their album V was released one week after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. When the track "Overcome" became a popular anthem of the tragedy, Kowalczyk went to Ground Zero to film the music video.


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