The Rock & Roll Express Tour: feat. Collective Soul & 3 Doors Down with Special Guests Soul Asylum
Interview with Johnny Rabb
By: Morgan Bates
“They” always say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Collective Soul is demonstrating that “they” are absolutely right! Not only is following your dream no matter the obstacle an accomplishment within itself. But, becoming a celebrated band in the world of Rock & Roll is quite the achievement. On the brink of celebrating their 25th anniversary in the biz, Collective Soul is aboard the Roll & Roll Express Tour along with 3 Doors Down and Soul Asylum. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend their stop at our amazing Daily’s Place but, had the great pleasure of chatting with Collective Soul’s delightful drummer Johnny Rabb about the show, the new adventures to come, and his nostalgic soft spot for MTV and record stores.
The last time I saw an amazing Collective Soul set was at Welcome To Rockville in 2016. I may have been hanging outside the media tent waiting for my next interview but, that didn’t stop me from enjoying myself as I bounced and sang along to hits like “December’ and “Shine.” Johnny tells me that the guys absolutely love coming to Florida and playing shows in Jacksonville! So much that he is hoping to call Florida home one day! So needless to say, when the Rock & Roll Express made a stop at Daily’s Place, they had a blast. “The fans were great! We even got a little football action and got Jaguars jerseys! That was pretty awesome! The venue was intimate and has a really cool setup and was so fun to play. Everyone’s got a good seat and a great way to hear and see the show.”
Though the guys of Collective Soul have been touring pretty heavily over the past three years, there is never a dull moment on the road. Between joking around on the bus and living the dream on stage, you would think it’d be exhausting and difficult to stay inspired. But in true artist fashion, they are consistently working on their craft. Ed writes constantly which Johnny tells me keeps the band not only dialed in, but also excited about new ideas. “He’s such a great writer and it’s cool to see him just pick up an acoustic and come up with something catchy or great lyrics-wise.” This endless inspiration has led to a lot of quality studio time that has resulted in 19 songs being recorded in the past year and a half. And we all know what that means… A new record is on the horizon! Johnny proudly reveals that the new album will most likely come out some time next year. “We’re really excited about it. Ed is on fire with his writing and it really represents where we are as a band right now.”
Even though enthusiastic and very proud of the music in the making, Johnny reminds me that Collective Soul would not be where they are now without having the incredible hits that helped them along the way. Even though he joined the band 7 years ago, he remembers the first time he ever heard “Shine.” A song that has been described as the most necessary song written by the band and the single that really got the band’s name out there. “I was home from college when it [Shine] first aired on MTV. I remember thinking it was different and amazing at the same time. And the stuff that followed was just as amazing.”
Not only did amazing material follow, but tours with the likes of rock & roll Hall of Famers Aerosmith and Van Halen only encouraged their love for performing live. With the love and thrill of a live show in mind, they released a “Live” album last year with a raw rock element to it that unquestionably elevates your at home musical experience. What you hear is what you’d get as if you were standing in the crowd at a Collective Soul live show. “I do have to say, I am proud of what was captured. I love that record.”
Though the industry’s medium of choice is a forever revolving door from albums, to CD’s, to the now digital world of streaming music on the internet, Johnny and the guys of Collective Souls still have a special nostalgic spot in their hearts for those who still purchase their music and tickets to attend their shows. “It’s a different world. When I was in Nashville in early ‘96 you’d buy a cd or go to record stores to buy music and it mattered if a DJ played your song on the radio or MTV mentioned you. We understand that it’s a digital world now but, that’s why we really like to play live and see our true fans that come out to the show and buy a copy of the album or purchase a download.”
All aboard the Rock & Roll Express Tour with Johnny and Collective Soul!! Where work feels like play and the adventures are endless!
For more information about the bands, the tour, & purchasing music please follow the bands on social media & check out their websites!