Live's Ed Kowalczyk

Pennsylvania-bred rockers Live, known for their spiritual, anthemic songs, are in the

process of finishing a new album. The band, led by emotive singer Ed Kowalczyk, had

multiplatinum success with its 1994 LP, Throwing Copper.

Edward Joel Kowalczyk was born 28 years ago today in Lancaster, Pa. In the early

'80s, he met York, Pa., residents Chad Taylor (guitar), Patrick Dahlheimer (bass) and

Chad Gracey (drums), who were in the band First Aid. Adopting Kowalczyk as lead

vocalist, they assumed a number of band names before settling on Public Affection.

The group developed a following in Pennsylvania and released a cassette, The

Death of a Dictionary (1989), on their own Action Front label. The group later

changed its name to Live, after drawing it out of a hat, and signed with Radioactive


Live's first album, 1991's Mental Jewelry, was produced by Jerry Harrison of

Talking Heads. The LP's songs, including "Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition)"

and "Pain Lies on the Riverside," were inspired by one of Kowalczyk's heroes, the Indian

philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti.

Singles such as "Selling the Drama" and "I Alone" helped Live become radio favorites.

"Lightning Crashes" was even more popular, spurring the album to sell more than 7

million copies.

The group's next LP, Secret Samadhi (1997), which included such tracks as

"Heropscychodreamer" (RealAudio excerpt), went platinum.

Last year Live donated profits from one of their concerts to benefit the lightning victim of

the 1998 Tibetan Freedom Concert. Earlier this year, Live played the Tibetan Freedom

Concert in Wisconsin. They will perform at Woodstock '99 later this month in Rome, N.Y.

The group's upcoming album, A Distance to Here, produced by Harrison, will

include tracks such as "The Dolphin's Cry." Kowalczyk describes the LP, due in October,

as "a happy record."

"We've always been a band that questions things," Kowalczyk said. "Up to this point,

there's been a certain amount of angst. Now we've come to a place in our lives where

we've been through so much ... that we're comfortable being a big band."

Other birthdays: Ruben Blades, 51; and Stewart Copeland (The Police), 47.