The West Australian Newspaper - July 23, 2009
Eddie's ready for the challenge of solo life
By: Ara Jansen

Eddie Kowalczyk tells Ara Jansen what it's like without the rest of Live in tow

It's easy to forget what up-close means when you are part of the massive machinantions of an internationally recognised rock band, but Live's Eddie Kowalczyk is remembering as he goes it alone for a series of Australian shows next month.

Touring under the name of Eddie Kowalczyk because he likes the intimacy of an affectionate nickname, the singer for the 20 million album-selling American rock giants had a notion to go back to his roots. Going solo for a while takes him back to the early days of Live almost two decades ago when Kowalczyk played more guitar and everything was done on a much smaller scale. The presence of Kowalczyk's younger brother Adam as a touring guitarist alongside Chad Taylor has meant the singer has concentrated on just singing and rarely straps on a guitar.

Now it's just Eddie, his guitar, his voice and no one to catch him. He's excited - actually thrilled - to be walking the line like this. "A lot of people think that it is an unusual thing for me but it's actually a space I am used to being in thanks to all the radio and promotion we have done over the years," Kowalczyk says. Dating back to some of Live's early material, the singer says it's been a wonderful opportunity to see the songs in a new way and in some cases reinvent them.

"I really love having this intimate connection with people. I can do what I want to the songs and it can be really spontaneous as I only have me to listen to. I'm only doing one new song, a couple of covers and the rest are all gems of Live songs." While the singer says there will be Live classics when he plays one show in Perth next month, it's also the opportunity to pull out songs he never felt got their moment in the sun.

"People are virtually on top of my during these shows and they forget the songs in most cases started like this, It's become a re-awakening and reconnection for me. Each night is about a connection and the repertoire, taking requests and being able to be with me in a way which hasn't happened for a long time because of all the lays that come from being in a big successful rock band. After a while you end up getting split from that part of yourself and your craft."

"I often play a song like Facing Ghosts which is probably the all-time favourite song I have ever written. I always felt it got buried on the album (The Distance to Here). So I've repossessed it and taken it back to its roots and people are seeing it in a different way."

Kowlaczyk is now writing his first solo album and will record in September. Live are also working on an album "This is a chance for us all to play around in different creative spaces," Kowalczyk says. "After 20 years that's a pretty natural thing to want to do along with what we have."

The solo shows have reinvigorated Kowalczyk's writing on all fronts and given him a surge of creativity on stage. "I'm also using the opportunity to talk about the songs and life without a script, making it very organic," he says. "People are not used to seeing me this way. With Live there's a definite persona and a definite way of being. It's not quiet though, even though there are less decibels. I'm belting these songs out, possibly louder than in the band, but this time I don't have anyone to compete with."

Eddie Kowalczyk performs at the Octagon Theatre at the University of WA on August 12. Tickets from BOCS. He is recording his shows and uploading them at http://www.eddieklive.com