“Coming from a small southern town [in Georgia] and being given the opportunity to travel the world opened my eyes. So many different countries and cultures were great for me at that time in my life,” Dean Roland explains. Although currently 36, the Collective Soul rhythm guitarist and baby brother to front man Ed Roland, 46, was barely in his 20s during the band’s rise to fame in the 1990s. It began with their debut album Hints, Allegations, And Things Left Unsaid. Though originally released independently, their song “Shine” was a huge underground hit, subsequently getting them signed to Atlantic Records in ‘93, where the album was re-released in ‘94. Roland seemingly appreciates being given the ability to form a well-rounded and cultured existence so early in life, while doing what he loves most in the entire world. Not many people can say they found their niche right off the bat and were given the opportunity to dive in head first, still enjoying the fruits of their labor almost 20 years later. Even if you aren’t a Collective Soul fan, you’ve heard “December,” “Gel,” “The World I Know,” “Heavy,” and their current single “Staring Down,” among a slew of others. It’s hard to avoid them.
Roland is currently in Atlanta, enjoying some time off before a headlining tour with good friends and up-and-coming band SafetySuit (“I’m excited for people to hear them. Great, great band.”) supporting them, while no doubt reveling in the fact that he has a new nephew, only days old. His name is Lennon E. Roland, son of his brother Ed, and as Collective Soul’s Twitter revealed, weighed in at eight pounds, four ounces and 20 inches long. “Looks like he’ll be a rocker,” Roland Tweeted, and added proudly when we spoke, “He’s great, everybody’s healthy.”
On Aug. 25 the band is releasing their second self-titled album—a.k.a. The Rabbit Album due to the cover artwork—which is comprised not only of their famously bold and unique guitar sound, melody, and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, but also a vibe that gives you license to get up and dance—if you are so inclined.
“We’ve grown a lot since the last record. We enjoy what we do and try not to make the same mistakes again.”
The entire album was recorded at Ed’s Georgia lake house, where no one had to go home at the end of the day and come back the next morning, completely negating a job-like feeling. “It’s the first time in years that we recorded under those conditions. I mean we’d go and live—basically under the same roof—writing together and recording and doing it all,” Roland tells me in his gentle Southern drawl. “It was positive tension, if you will. We were able to communicate, and create, and whenever you had an idea or you were inspired by something, you could facilitate that pretty much on the spot.”