Changing your name in search of fame is a common practice in the entertainment industry. But Collective Soul frontman Ed Roland took his time — 25 years, to be precise — before making his move. “Ed Roland now wants to be addressed as E Roland,” wrote Ed’s publicist in a recent email to music journalists. “So please call him E during your interview and write out his name as such in your coverage.”
The reason behind all this isn’t entirely clear. Maybe the Georgia Baptist preacher’s son really likes Elvis Costello, Elton John and ELO (Collective Soul have, in fact, covered all three), or enjoys writing songs in the key of E, or found himself coveting Eels frontman Mark Everett’s stage name. Most likely, Roland’s just having a good laugh, in a “no brown M&Ms” kind of way.
In any event, E and his brother Dean, who handles rhythm guitar duties, are once again taking Collective Soul out on the road, this time with co-headliners Gin Blossoms along for the ride. The band’s silver-anniversary setlist will feature several tracks from their 10th studio album Blood, which was released in late June. But Collective Soul fans can also expect early alt-rock hits like “December,” “Heavy” and, of course, “Shine,” the undeniably catchy single that’s been described by countless critics as a “guilty pleasure,” and rightly so.