"We always take the approach of serving the song.  We serve the creative spark, and the creative inspiration of the song" - Dean Roland

Posted: April 22, 2024
You're making these personal sacrifices.  You're away from your family for a while at a time.  They come and visit and all.  But your home life is a little different.  You're sleeping in hotels and traveling on buses and planes.  So, oddly enough, that stuff really does take it out of you!  It's not the shows themselves.  It's really the travel and just being in different time zones.  The logistics of travel is like a little sneaky wear and tear on you.  
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Photo credit: Lee Clower

Hello Dean!  It's such a perfect thrill to speak with you today!   It's an incredible honour to have the opportunity to interview you.  Thank you!!! 

Since 1992 you've been makin' hit records and touring!  Holy ROCK STAR!   

You and your brother Ed's band, Collective Soul, rose to fame with the epic and legendary singles "Shine" (1993) and "The World I Know" (1995) and so, so many more award-winning singles and albums!  

To put this into perspective, I was born in 1998 and these songs hit me hard when I was first learning guitar and writing music at the age of 13.  That's 20 years after your hit songs!  This speaks volumes about the longevity and legacy of your music, Dean!  

Dean: When we started out and we had good fortune... a lot of it is just luck. There are so many great artists out there!  We had a few strokes of luck that got us some attention and got us some mainstream success.  My brother and I both knew that we didn't want to squander it.  We're very grateful for it!  We worked hard to get the opportunity and it is a blessing to be able to go out and share what you love to do!  We love making music!  We love playing music!   We love listening to music!   It's been our life's passion.  We found our purpose in that and to be able to share that with people that are like minded is a blast!  People often ask, "what do you attribute to being around, together for so long, after 30 years?  You know, being brothers and that type of stuff?"  I think ultimately it comes down to that shared passion of music.  I think that really is what it is.  

Sophia: I love the soulful energy and vibe of your rhythm guitar!  It's all at once ethereal, heavy, hypnotic, and intoxicating!  I hear it as the mainstay of the iconic and legendary sound of your band Collective Soul!  You and your band rock! 

I also enjoy your rock duo Magnets & Ghosts.  I hear your legendary rhythm guitar style rocking your songs!  Amazing! 

You and your band Collective Soul have an extensive tour line up for 2024 and into 2025!  I counted 52 shows, starting this April 20th in San Antonio, Texas and winding up on a 90's Rock Cruise out of Tampa, Florida in early 2025!  That's phenomenal!  

Dean: We're excited about it!  We love it!  We love getting out there.  Especially, when we have a new record coming out.  We love playing the old tunes, there's no doubt.  But, when we have a new record coming out, it's always fun to get out there and play the new jams too.  We have fun with it!  

Sophia: What has it been like to prepare for such a hard-core touring schedule?  What do rockers like you and your band do to train for the staggering physical and mental work required of a famous touring band?  

Dean: It’s going great!  Been doing a bunch of pushups, sit ups, just running every day.  Not really.  No, that's not true at all. Haha!  We get ready!  Most of it, to be honest, Sophia, is a mental thing.  You're making these personal sacrifices.  You're away from your family for a while at a time.  They come and visit and all.  But your home life is a little different.  You're sleeping in hotels and traveling on buses and planes.  So, oddly enough, that stuff really does take it out of you!  It's not the shows themselves.  It's really the travel and just being in different time zones.  The logistics of travel is like a little sneaky wear and tear on you.  

Sophia: This is your 12th album, Here to Eternity!  Congratulations on being an extraordinary rocker!   

Dean:  Well, thank you!  Thank you!  Well, congratulations to you too, my fellow rocker over there!   

Sophia: Your double album release marks your 30th anniversary as a world famous and renowned rock band!  It will be released on May 17th, 2024, with fellow ROCK STAR band Collective Soul, under your labelFuzze Flex Records.  

It's a 20-song double album recorded at Elvis Presley's estate in Palm Springs, California.  That's impressive! 

Can you please share a few highlights of what that recording process was like? 

Dean: I didn't even know Elvis owned a house in Palm Springs until a few years ago.  We became friends with the people that now own the house.  They bought it as an investment type thing, but they never changed it.  Essentially, it's the same... well for the most part the same house as it was when Elvis was there.  They have the same bathrooms, the same kitchen appliances, and all that stuff is there.  No one has lived there in all these many years.  So, we were just like, is it cool if we just bring our studio gear?  Could we just stay there, or around there, and record our album at the estate?  And they were like "uhhh. yeah! sure!"  So, it was really that simple.   

We had been working on a career spanning documentary a couple years prior, and we wanted to document this too.  So, we incorporated that into the documentary.  We documented the entire recording of the new double album, along with the documentary of the career spanning thing.  It was cool!  And just to be where Elvis lived; he had recorded a couple of gospel records there too.  We recorded where he recorded, in the living room.  You walk in the front door, and there's this big open space which is the living room and that's where we set up shop.  Yeah, it was cool!  There definitely is a reverence to it because we love Elvis and put him on such a pedestal!  He was such an inspiration for us, and our father growing up.  Elvis was just huge!  He was a big deal.  And, just getting into that vibe was really, cool!  

Sophia: I read your brother, Ed's quote.  He said that the 20 tracks on your 12th album Here To Eternity show the personality of your band and your musical journey.  Can you give us a teaser as to what to expect from Collective Soul on this album? 

Dean: We pretty much have always taken the approach of serving the song.  And, breaking that down even further, we serve the creative spark, the creative inspiration of the song.  So, you build off each one of those little things. And, ultimately serving the song until you reach a place where there's like a dead end.  This idea is not going to work, or we feel like it's completed, and we've done all we can.  We've done that each time.  We try not to put a box around ourselves as far as describing who we are and what we do and what genre it is.  I mean, we're a rock'n'roll band.  We try to find some honest lyrics and a good melody and not overthink it.   

So, what to expect?  I think it kinda runs a gamut for us, like, it's a lot of riffs based rocknroll kind of thing with a melody on top.  And there's a few slower type vibes and it just kinda runs a gamut.  Hopefully, it's a journey that you know our fans, or maybe even people that don't know us or like us, might find and fancy.  Who knows? 

Sophia: Absolutely!  You're so humble.  I mean, yes!   Everyone's gonna love it!  How can you not love anything you guys put out there? Album after album...  

Dean: "You are hired! We'll take you on the road with us!"  

Sophia: Hahaha!  Well, thank you Dean!  So, you've toured with Rock'n'Roll giants like Aerosmith and Van Halen!  You've performed at both Woodstock '94 and '99 and so much more!  What’s one of your favorite rock star memories, touring with your band Collective Soul?  

Dean: There's so many!!!  You mentioned Van Halen. The first night of that tour I remember.  We did a few rehearsal dates with those guys and met them.  They were just so nice!  To this day, we're friends with Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony.   They're just great human beings and obviously great musicians!  I remember Eddie just being so cool!   I was with him backstage before the first show, and this was when he was sober.  He had stopped drinking for some time, and he was visibly nervous, and he was like "Man, I don't think I've ever played a show sober before or without even having a drink or something."  And in my head, I'm like dude!  You're f***in' Eddie Van Halen.  I think you'll be just fine!   

But it taught me at that young age, that the "best of the best" still have that insecurity or not feeling good enough or whatever it may be; and that's a humbling thing to see to witness!  That taught me a lesson of appreciation. Even Eddie Van Halen at such height of success and accomplishments, and how great he was, he was still questioning himself.  Am I good enough?  Am I gonna pull this off?  That's amazing.  

Sophia:  I also imagine that one of the many highlights of your recording career would have been the production of the single Perfect Day with Elton John!  I adore Elton!  And, what a great, great honour it must have been for your brother Ed to receive the gift of a grand piano from Elton. What was the production like? Did you record in the studio with Elton and how was it to meet and work with the superstar, Elton John?  

Dean:  Amazing.  He's fantastic. Just a charmer!  He's awesome!  I've had the good fortune of being around Elton many times.  My first time meeting him, I had this onslaught of images of what I imagined Elton to be!  Since the age of 12 and growing up, I had a picture in my head of who he was.  It was based on all the memories and all the records and everything about him.  Then you meet him and you're like, "oh man., this dude's...he's... that's a real person!  Like, woah..."  It was probably the first and maybe one of the only true times that I was starstruck.  Like, oh good god!  But he's so disarming and so kind and sweet.  So, that was great.   

His work in the studio is fast!  We take it for granted how great he is and how gifted and talented he is.  The man's a prodigy, right?  So, there's a song, he comes in, listens to it and he's like "yeah, I dig this!  I like it!"  He listens through it one time.  He plays piano on it.  We're not telling him anything.  He's just listening and playing.  He goes "I think I got it."  He does two takes and he just plays through it, and then he gets the lyrics and sings on it.  And literally, I mean he's just quintessential!  He's a pro!  I mean he goes in and knocks it out and then it's like "who wants to go to lunch? I do! let's go!"  It was that kind of vibe.  It was special!  Especially for Ed, being that Elton is his absolute musical hero!   And for all of us, it was special too!" 

Sophia: Did Ed cry when he got the baby grand piano?  Did he cry?  Haha!  Because, I know I would have cried!  

Dean: I think he's still probably crying.  Haha!  He walks into the room he has the piano in, in his house and you know, it's like his most precious prize!  Of all the work that he's collected over the years, that piano is the ultimate!  It's just this gleaming thing there to be viewed and seen!"  

Sophia: Forget any award!  That's the award right there ...  

Dean:  Right. Exactly!  That's the right way to put it."  

Sophia: Collective Soul has a profound longevity.  A special band that continues to release album after album of epic and legendary masterpieces.  What’s the most meaningful thing to you, being a part of Collective Soul?  What does it mean to you as a musician, to be a part of an epic and legendary band like Collective Soul?  

Dean:  Probably, just being able to share it with my brother and my mates and family. You keep it in the place of gratitude, and I just kinda stay in awe of the fact that I get to do what I love to do for a living!  You know, so many folks aren't given an opportunity or don't take the risk to get to that place.  I think that's probably it; just sharing it with the ones I love." 

Sophia: That touches my heart and speaks to my soul on a profound level.  I really appreciate that answer Dean!  I put you guys up there with Chris Cornell.  And, Chris Cornell, to me, is everything.  Now, I have an even greater respect for you and everything that you guys have accomplished with music.  Thank you for inspiring me so much over the years, and making me the songwriter that I am.  Because you guys do that for me!  

Dean: "That's so great. Well, keep going!" 

Sophia: I also wanna say that I really appreciate your rock duo, Magnets and Ghosts. I hear something special in your guitar work, and your vocals too.  You're so incredibly talented!  I really hope to see a Magnets and Ghosts show someday, as well as the famous Collective Soul, of course!  

Dean: Thank you!  We're rock duo partner Ryan and I, have been working on some new stuff.  We have a bunch of songs for the Magnets and Ghosts stuff.  It's just a matter of getting in the studio.  We really take our time with it and have fun with it. It's a... I don't wanna say "it's a labour of love" but you know, we take our time and have fun with it!  For me, it's a creative step away from the Collective Soul world.  I really do enjoy it! 

Sophia: It's a creative outlet for you!  And it is a labor of love!  Anything great in the studio takes time; just like Tom Petty said.  You know, it could take years to get it the way you want it, but it must be a nice distraction from all your other rockstar duties with Collective Soul! 

Dean:  Cool! Thanks for checking us out!  Yeah... we get in there and there's zero expectations.  There's no mainstream success.  And that's okay.  It's just going and doing something that feels good.  Experiment.  Try out different stuff!"  

Sophia: I just want to say, "Heaven, let your light shine down" on one of the best bands of all time! Collective Soul.  Thanks so very much for taking time out of your crazy busy schedule to speak with me Dean!  Rock On Rock Star!  

Long live Rock! 

Sign up with your email address to receive entertainment news and updates.
Subscription Form
We want to hear from you! Send us a tip using our anonymous form.
Guitar Thrills Magazine. 2023 Copyright. All rights reserved.