With all the changes in popular music over the decades, the stereotypes about being…
- Posted on Jul 14th 2010 4:00PM by Steve Baltin
"It was a pretty powerful shout-out to get as a kid, especially when you're from York, Pa., where you can throw a small rock toward New Jersey," Kowalczyk tells Spinner. "Springsteen didn't get much bigger than that in that area, and in general."
It meant enough to Kowalczyk that when he met Springsteen recently, he finally thanked him for the nod. "In January, we played the Light of Day benefit in Asbury Park, got to finally meet him and tell him, 'Thank you for telling me I was a great singer in Rolling Stone in 1991,'" Kowalczyk says. "I waited that long to tell him 'I like you too.'"
Two decades later, Springsteen is an influence for Kowalczyk, who after 15 years fronting Live, is releasing his debut solo album, 'Alive.' "He kind of gave me this 20-minute retrospective on his life and basically the gist of it was he's just moving with his heart and what was making him happy as an artist and damn the torpedoes," Kowalczyk says of their conversation. "You've heard it before, but it spoke to me at a time when I had made this record and was headed into this kind of unknown."
Even after Live's 'I Alone' and 'Lightning Crashes' became rock radio anthems in the '90s Kowalczyk admits that finally stepping into the spotlight under his own name is a different thing. "OK, this is a direct connect now," he says. "There's no ifs, ands or buts about it. This is who I am and what I'm putting out."
The album is particularly meaningful to Kowalczyk since it comes after he experienced some uncertainty about his music career. "A couple years ago, I started to feel like kind of a malaise about music -- about where I was with it, did I even want to do it next, was there a new chapter musically and creatively?" he says. "I kind of surrendered to that for a while."
Like so many musicians before him, Kowalczyk went back to the basics. "I grabbed my acoustic guitar, started to write a little bit, went out and started to play full shows," he says. "I fell in love with it. I found new capacities in myself that relate to the people, to the fans and connect with them."
Though 'Alive' is very much a rock record and will be recognizable vocally and melodically to Live fans, the spirit of those acoustic shows found their way into the album. "The whole movement has just been about trying new things and that has really blown the creative doors totally sky high," he says. "I feel like the record really reflects that."