Throwing Copper


Radioactive Records, 1994

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Good Lord, has it really been over 16 months since we featured Live on "The Daily Vault"? I saw that information on the spreadsheet, and immediately headed into the Pierce Archives ("bring a bucket and a mop") and grabbed their 1994 release Throwing Copper, the album that turned Ed Kowalczyk and crew into rock stars.

Had this Pennsylvania quartet stopped after their previous album Mental Jewelry, they would have been remembered as a quirky pop band with elements of funk thrown in. However, thanks to singles like "Selling The Drama," Live became the next great hope for the field of alternative music. A killer set at Woodstock '94 sealed the deal, and Live was now the next big thing.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Follow up singles such as "I Alone," "All Over You" and "Lightning Crashes" all further Live's case; indeed the whole first side of Throwing Copper is always a pleasure to listen to, even though some of these songs have been overplayed like many of their brethren. Of these seven songs, "Top" is possibly the closet classic that didn't get the attention it deserved, fusing the sound of Mental Jewelry with the energy of Live at that time. This was a truly remarkable song.

If the first side of Throwing Copper is the revelation for alternative music, then side two is the humongous dose of reality, featuring three songs that couldn't be played on the radio for fear of violating the infamous "7 Words" rule that George Carlin made famous. "Shit Towne" is an interesting way to open up the second half of the album, losing none of the power that the first portion displayed while adding a slightly harder edge to the lyrics. "Stage" and "Waitress" do the same thing.

"Wite, Discussion," a song which got some minor airplay in this area, seems to be a fitting way to close the album, a song that merges the funkiness that Live had shown in their past with the harder edge of the lyrics, a song meant to be a slap in the face against political correctness. However, just when you're about to turn the tape player off, here comes a hidden track! (Thankfully, Live chose to start the song immediately after "White, Discussion" faded out - none of this ten minutes of silence bullshit.) This tune has a country sound to it, and admittedly isn't as strong as a lot of the material on Throwing Copper. It is interesting to note that the song did offer a peek at a bit of the sound that was to come on the followup, Secret Samadhi.

Throwing Copper quite possibly was one of the best releases of 1994, and it did make alternative radio fun to listen to again. It also spawned a whole slew of bands that tried to follow in the vein of Live without directly copying their sound; the results were pretty predictable. But in Live's short career, Throwing Copper strikes gold.


Rating: A-

User Rating: A-



© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Radioactive Records, and is used for informational purposes only.