Live is an American grunge crossover band who rose to popularity by blending an anthemic alternative rock sound with mainstream radio palatability.
Live first existed under the name First Aid, formed while its members Chad Taylor (guitar), Patrick Dahlheimer (bass), and Chad Gracey (drums) were in middle school. Adding singer Ed Kowalczyk, the band was renamed Public Affection and began accruing a devoted local fanbase. Public Affection released The Death of a Dictionary in 1989 under their own label, spreading their music through frequent shows at CBGB and other notable New York City clubs.
After landing a deal with Radioactive, the newly dubbed Live began work on their 1991 debut album, Mental Jewelry, alongside Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads. That album, based on the writings of Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti, established Live as prominent figures in the post-Nirvana alternative scene, with the help of successful singles “Pain Lies on the Riverside,” and “Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition).” Live’s follow-up, Throwing Copper, launched the band into mainstream popularity with a slew of popular singles including the monumental “Lightning Crashes,” which shot to the top of the charts and helped the album to sell over eight million copies in the U.S. Secret Samadhi followed in 1997, selling over two million copies.
Live built upon their success with 1999’s The Distance to Here, which went platinum and yielded the popular single “The Dolphin’s Cry.” The band refined their sound over the next few years, releasing V (2003) and Birds of Pray (2003), both of which broke into the Billboard Top 30. Live spent the next half of the decade touring across Europe, before going on hiatus in 2009.
During Live’s hiatus, its members pursued independent projects. Kowalczyk left the band in 2012, though its remaining members stayed on, replacing him with Chris Shinn. The Turn was released in 2014 to mixed reviews. In 2017, Live reunited with Kowalczyk for a tour, releasing a 25th Anniversary Edition of Mental Jewelry that year. Live continues to perform regularly, and is often booked for private parties and corporate entertainment events.