Collective Soul: “In an era where everybody in the industry is telling us not to do a double record, we were tired of hearing that…”

In our latest cover story, Collective Soul bassist Will Turpin chats about their 30th anniversary, and how the song is still the key thing…



Collective Soul, photo ©

Last month Atlanta-based rock group Collective Soul dropped their mammoth double-LP, Here To Eternity. Despite being a huge task to pull together, the album is just a small part of numerous projects and plans being formulated by the band as they continue through their 30th anniversary year.

For our latest Cover Story, V13 sat down with Collective Soul bassist Will Turpin to discuss the anniversary, the journey they have been on, their approach to writing music in 2024 and what it was like to record the album in a former home of music icon Elvis Presley.

Thanks for your time Will. First of all, as a band, how does it feel talking about your 30th anniversary?

“It’s, I mean, obviously I’m in the middle of doing a lot of publicity for the tour and the new record but it still doesn’t feel right when I say 30 year anniversary. It just doesn’t feel right.”

When the band started out you were one of the original members. What was your ambition? Did you even think this far ahead?

“We didn’t. We were always thinking ahead, but it was more short term. We always wanted to get that next record out. We were always thinking about what our next music would be. We’d all be always be making new music and we wanted to be known for songs. We want to be known for the strength of our songs so we were thinking like that. But, honestly, no, we weren’t thinking 30 years.”

It’s an incredible achievement. What’d you put that longevity down to?

“We started at a studio. We’re a little bit of a studio band. Ed was working as an engineer at Reel2Reel Studios, my father’s studio, and we watched his songwriting just excel over the years. He worked hard at it. When me and my friends came up through and started working with Ed, we always wanted to remain true to the song and create for the song, not for what we thought was cool or some kind of fad that people were chasing or whatever.

We just always wanted to make the song the strongest it could be. We were always looking to do more and more of those. So I think that added up over the years and the strength of our music. There’s certain songs that we’re never going to stop playing. Matter of fact, they’re getting more and more popular daily because of streaming and movies and TV so the popularity of the songs is still increasing.

Collective Soul is a band that’s achieved a lot over 30 years, but how humbling is it being in somewhere like that when you think about it?

“Yeah, as far as adjusting now, not hard. We love to create. We love to get in there and do our thing but I believe the vibe and the essence of being at Elvis’s house, I believe that is in the record. I think it’s baked into the songs. We have a blast doing all these things together so it was trippy. Doing that and having fun there, but getting our jobs done, that’s just another day at the office.”

“There’s certain songs that we’re never going to stop playing. Matter of fact, they’re getting more and more popular daily.”

a 20-track double album, that is quite a mean feat. Not a lot of bands put those kind of records out these days. What was the thought process behind doing?

“Oh, that’s an easy thought process. The thought process was Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, The White Album, Physical Graffiti, All Things Must Pass. It was our heroes that did double albums, and we had never done a double album.

It doesn’t work on Spotify like that. We always talked about doing a double record. It happened to be the right time for us to finally release a double record and in an era where everybody in the industry is telling us not to do a double record, we were tired of hearing that. At this point we know that we’re not supposed to do a double record. It’s not smart but whatever.”

What did you learn from doing a double album? Also, we have talked about the industry and we’ve talked about the changes, what have you learned about the industry over 30 years?

“It’s the entertainment industry is what I tell people. It’s not the quality music production industry. There’s all kinds of things that live and expose themselves or embrace you. There’s all kinds of things. It’s a huge industry and, like I said, it’s the entertainment industry. I focus on what we do. We create music and I’m a servant to the song. I try to open my ears up and create music that will, when it hits somebody else’s ears, it invokes emotion and invokes some type of feeling, whether it’s excited or sad or whatever. Music is meant to be an emotional process.

So, for me, it just boils down to that and all the things in the industry. I understand it but it’s just another brick in the wall. The whole good and bad of the entertainment industry.”

V13 – MagazineCover – Issue56 – CollectiveSoul

Definitely. Just talking about something you touched on a few minutes ago about double albums and some of the artists like Elton John, Pink Floyd, artists like that. Do you think they would have the same impact if they had come around these days?

“My heart wants to say absolutely yes because I still think the cream rises to the top and all that stuff. It’s pretty easy for me, if I have to pick a decade that I feel like the best music was created in and it would be the 70s so I still feel like the cream would rise to the top there.”

We talked earlier about what Ed had said about the album. He also said it isn’t the pinnacle of the band so where do you go from here?

“Lots more. We’re going to keep going. We’re going to keep touring. It’s actually a super busy time in our career. We’re going to keep going, man. Hopefully you’ll get tired of hearing all the updates from Collective Soul and what else is coming out… Documentaries… I think a career box-set should be probably on the horizon.”

One other thing I wanted to talk about was your studio. How is that working out?

“Yeah, man, I’m loving it. I tell everybody it’s my legacy. My father opened that studio in 1976. The building I’m in now was built in 2001. It’s a super on point, modern studio. It’s where we cut our teeth. It’s where we learned our acumen to the studio and production.”

Did you spend a lot of time there with your dad when you were younger?

“I did. I remember cutting drum tracks when I was 14 years old for a songwriter. You learn a lot when you have to get it on a track and be a professional. All these lessons I still carry today and I love passing it on. Now I’m producing so many different people. My three boys are older now. They were even in the studio last weekend. So I raised a family, was a full time member of Collective Soul and I was busy. I would produce a little bit. I would release some solo records. Now I’ve got a lot more time, I decided to put that time into the studio and producing other acts. I’m having a blast trying to pass this legacy on and get people in the studio and hopefully create success for some other bands.”

Just to finish off, again, congratulations on the 30 years. If you could go back to the Will Turpin of 30 years ago, how do you think he would react if you said in three decades time you would be doing this and you would be recording in Elvis’ house and all the other achievements, what do you think he would say?

“He would probably say, you’ve been smoking too much dope, man.”

For more information on Collective Soul and to keep updated with all their 30th Anniversary plans, check out their online platforms here.


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