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LIVE and a Strong Public Affection

By Jeff Jolley: From RAD Cyberzine, 1994

Chad Gracey, drummer extraordinaire for Live, caught up with RAD on 27 May, 1994. Battling severe drowsiness and talking fire-alarms, he had a lot to say about their latest tour and their earliest history.

RAD - Did you release anything before "Mental Jewelry"?

Chad - Yeah, we released a record called "Death of a Dictionary" when I guess we were seniors in high school in 1989. And it was just on an independent label, our own label as a matter of fact. We raised the money ourselves and made a record, hoping to use it to try to get a record deal, which we did.

RAD - What was the name of that band?

Chad - We were called Public Affection.

RAD - Is it available anywhere?

Chad - Not right now.

RAD - Possible re-release later on?

Chad - Yeah, we've talked about it. It's just something to do maybe right now there's a lot on the line.

RAD - What is the connection with Rush? Are you friends with Neil Peart, or what's the situation there?

Chad - Well, he is really into my drumming. I haven't met him yet, but I'm sure I will meet him in the future. I mean, he talks about me all the time to people we know mutually. It's really funny. I was never a Rush fan or a Neil Peart Fan, but it's very flattering to have him talk about me because he is an incredible drummer.

RAD - What are some bands that you are a fan of?

Chad - I've always been a fan of U2. I like R.E.M. a lot. Right now I'm listening to Smashing Pumpkins and the new Soundgarden albums. Oh and I'm a big fan of the Pixies.

RAD - Does the whole band, having grown up together, listen to the same stuff, or is there a diversity there?

Chad - We listen to a couple of the same things, but there is some diversity, definitely. Patrick, I think, has the most eclectic taste of all of us--he listens to a whole bunch of different things, from Sade to gangster rap to the weirdest indian band you've ever heard of. He'll probably know who it is.

RAD - What does Live consider a major turning point of their career?

Chad - It would probably be this record. We've just figured out a new sound and a new style of writing. That was definitely a growth for us.

RAD - Did Jerry Harrison have a lot to do with that?

Chad - No, it was just more of us. When we do records we just have this natural growth spurt with writing and the way we play. It was written and arranged before Jerry got involved. Jerry helped us a lot with the arranging on Mental Jewelry just because we didn't really have a grasp on how to get songs on the tape and how make them flow right when they were recorded. And then we took that--what he taught us--and used it ourselves when we were arranging songs for this record.

RAD - I saw your show here in Salt Lake. You guys are huge here, and I presume everywhere. What is it that makes Live so attractive to the youth of today?

Chad - I think it's emotion and energy, probably. It's something that we try to put into our shows and into our songs. And I think people identify with that.

RAD - My pass for the Salt Lake show says "'94-'95 tour." Are you guys up for a long tour?

Chad - Oh yeah, we're ready to go. We're going to be finishing this tour June 12, then we're going to do WOMAD in July, which is Peter Gabriel's thing. And then we're probably coming back around the states again in August and September, and maybe October. Then they want to start sending us overseas until the end of this year. Probably early '95 we'll do another states tour. They want to send us all over the world.

RAD - What are some of the places that you've been talking about?

Chad - Japan, Australia, maybe China, Mexico, Canada, of course. Brazil, Europe, all those good places.

RAD - On MTV, Ed said that one of the things about Live is that all of the songs are positive. With "White Discussion" or "Lightning Crashes" is that true? Is there a positive side to all Live songs?

Chad - There can be. It's all in the way you interpret it, and that's one of the things that I think is cool about our lyrics is that their open to interpretation. You can find positive things in every song, and if you choose to you can find negative things in every song.

RAD - Do you mind if I ask what the story behind "Lightning Crashes" is and who Barbara Lewis is?

Chad - No, not at all. Barbara Lewis was a friend of ours that who was a year behind us in high school. She was a big fan of the band. In 1993, she was killed by a hit-and-run in a car accident. We just decided to dedicate that song to her.

RAD - It's a nice song, just kind of the cycle of life.

Chad - Yeah, exactly, so we thought it would be appropriate for her.

RAD - I have a couple other questions from a friend of mine who is from Baltimore. Does Ed or any of Live get your jeans at the outlet mall? I have no idea what that means. (Which outlet mall?) There's some outlet mall by York.

Chad - Ed might. There's lots of outlet malls over in Lancaster.

RAD - And last, what's your favorite Amish food?

Chad - Ooooh. Hogmah (sp?). Not really, it's the only one I could think of. Most Amish food is like fattening and crazy. Probably, shoo-fly pie, to be more honest.

RAD - Thanks for your time. What would you like to say?

Chad - Well, I guess that if there's anything I'd like to say it's just we're just four normal guys that like to play music. Although we're serious about it, we're just crazy kids and well staged.

RAD - Everybody who didn't have a specific question for you wanted to know when you're going to be in their town.

Chad - Like I told you, we're probably going to do a kind of extensive tour of the states in August and September and October. We're hoping to get something together. Probably a co-headline with a band about our size. We have no idea who yet, but it will probably be a co-headline bill.