Collective Soul Pulls 'Rabbit' From Its Hat
FilmMagic

Like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Weezer before them, Collective Soul finds itself wresting with a bit of confusion over its new album title.

A rabbit is on the cover of its latest album, "Collective Soul (Rabbit)," due out Aug. 25. It's the Georgia band's eighth studio album and was initially to be known simply as "Collective Soul" -- the group's second self-titled effort -- according to frontman Ed Roland. "We weren't trying to be confusing," Roland tells Billboard.com. "We just thought, 'Oh, we'll come back out and feel really fresh and new. And we'll use a picture of a rabbit,' which to us means fertile. It's rebirth and all kinds of cool spiritual meanings.

"But somewhere along the line people started calling it 'Rabbit,' even the recording company. That's fine -- as long as they call it something."

Regardless of title, Collective Soul's new set does return the band to the label world, with Roadrunner Records' Loud & Proud division, five years after it launched its own El Music Group imprint, which released the quintet's last four albums. Roland says Collective Soul enjoyed being on its own but now sees the advantages of working in a label situation.

"One thing we learned is that...it's a hard job," he notes. "It's not as easy as five long-haired dudes coming in and going, 'This is what we want.' It takes a process. The time we were independent really taught us a lot, so with Roadrunner we've approached it like the hybrid of an independent and major label deal, 50/50, and everything so far has been wonderful. We understand the business now, where 10 years ago we were expecting things and we didn't know how to attain them. Now we know what it takes."

Collective Soul changed things up on its creative side for the new album, too. Written and recorded at the studio in Roland's lake house in Georgia, it features a pair of songs that were a collective writing effort, a rarity in the group's 16 year recording history.

"We've never written together as a band," Roland says, "so it was a new experience. I think it's the confidence that the other guys have gotten in their music skills and the songwriting and also, for lack of a better term, me letting go of my ego a little bit and going, 'You know what? These guys can do this.' And it was a lot of fun."