Alternative Rock

Live Throwing Copper

Throwing Copper is one of the albums that helped lead the post-grunge charge of the mid 90s. Despite swimming in multiple lanes (is it rock? pop rock? religious rock?!), Throwing Copper exudes exasperation, hostility, and passion. Stage alone is worth buying the album for.

I Alone, Selling the Drama, and Lightning Crashes were all major hits in the mid 90s. Throw in All Over You, Iris, and Top and you have Throwing Copper.

Who names a band Live ... really!? Throwing Copper is great though.

Alternative Rock finery. Live was hard to nail down with a label. One minute they sound like a hard rock Hootie, the next it's a Phrygian Dominant journey into Eastern philosophies. That said, the album is good. Real good.

A trait of any good album is to have the belief that more singles were released than there really were. Such is the case with Throwing Copper. It can brag of having 5 singles, but Top, Iris, and Stage should have been official. In fact, I think 90s modern rock radio WAAF played Top and Iris with some level of regularity.

A bit of a departure from Mental Jewelry and it's Eastern-influenced, rock version of a Dave Matthews Band album. It feels like Guster before Guster even considered being a band. Wait, Guster formed in the year Mental Jewelry was released? Well, shoot ... I guess all new music back then felt indie.

Was Throwing Copper better than Secret Samadhi? Without doubt. Easily their best work. In fact, it helped get them invited to Woodstock '94'.

Live consisted of vocalist Ed Kowalczyk, bassist Patrick Dahlheimer, and two dudes named Chad. Can't make this up. Guitarist Chad Taylor (and backing vocals) and drummer Chad Gracey. Jerry Harrison did the production for the album.

It's still strange to me that Better Than Ezra's Deluxe original release date is prior to the release of Live Throwing Copper, as BTE just feels more 1995. Then again, what do I know?

The Throwing Copper album cover

The artwork for the cover was painted by Peter Howson. Quite the scene, huh?

Working ladies "walking" the Proselytizer off the cliff like Dalton at the Double Deuce.

It deserves it. It's got a ton of great tracks and a bunch of good ones.

Throwing Copper' Recording, Release & 25th Anniversary Reissue

A few years back, Live released a reissue of their most commercially successful album. With the 25th Anniversary Edition, the band opted to add three extra songs to the re-release, including Hold Me Up, Susquehanna, and We Deal in Dreams, a song which was already released a decade prior on their live album.

The album was originally released via Radioactive, an offshoot of MCA Records. It was recorded at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, a robust 15 hour drive from their York, PA home. Jerry Harrison of the band, Talking Heads was the producer of record, according to Rolling Stone.

Throwing Copper managed to hit the number 1 spot in the Billboard 200 a year after its release. This album was far and away Live's biggest, setting a stage that Secret Samadhi and The Distance to Here could never aspire, nor ascend to.

If any of Live's former songs came close to the Throwing Copper material, it was Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition). We think.

Throwing Copper song notes

The Dam at Otter Creek

The Dam at Otter Creek really warms up Throwing Copper. It brings in some white noise, some distant muffled discussion, then layers in the verse riff, before lead singer Ed Kowalczyk's vox come in.

The layering doesn't stop there though. Bring in more guitars, more drums, more bass, more vocal power. One thing I do know is that Kowalczyk loves his vocal effects.

Selling the Drama

Amazingly radio friendly. Selling the Drama was the song that put Live on the map.

The clean acoustic guitar is a signature sound in the song. The ascending run of the first half of the chorus is a treat.

I Alone

The hit! Or at least the biggest hit on Throwing Copper.


Love the gallop pacing of Iris.

Not the only song named Iris to hit the charts in the '90s.

Lightning Crashes

The ballad, if it could even be called that.


A primal middle eastern scream. Kowalczyk, along with Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida, really worked their vocals into instruments of their own.

A rock solid tune.

All Over You

Alternative Pop Rock is how I'd describe the 7th track off 1994's Throwing Copper. And the opening drumbeat really kicks off the tune..

In one of the most awkward transitions in music history, the guitars go from early Goo Goo Dolls ripped jean power chords to arpeggiated Creed in no time. Pretty sure Creed would go on to rewrite the verse of All Over You into a song of their own, but that's neither here nor there.

Nice breakdown at 2:25, with the guitar and bass each taking turns.

Live does a pretty good job on the album of use the lyrics to emphasize rhythmic parts.

Shit Towne

Just your run of the mill song about growing up in a run of the mill town. Probably was a mill town. You gotta wonder if they are talking about York, Pennsylvania. Then again, they probably aren't.


T.B.D. has got a great blues bass foundation. Some light guitar work from Chad Taylor.


Stage ABSOLUTELY rips!

Pistons fully popping, firing on all cylinders. Stage is full throttle excellence.

Stage really leans on a single note, chugging through to the chorus. Love Patrick Dahlheimer's bass lines.

The feedback and bends in the solo give it some depth, before the flurry of notes to end it.


Anyone who brings out food on time is good enough in my book, waitress or not. I'll tell you this, I'd leave her some change.

Waitress is Live doing their version of REM.

Whistle solo! Raise your hand if you saw that coming.

Wait ... whistle outro!? Tasteful!

Pillar of Davidson

The bass in Pillar of Davidson might be creatively lifted from Pearl Jam's Garden.

White, Discussion

Total 90s move to let the song just fade out on feedback and spoken word recordings.

Horse (hidden / bonus track)

Rock bands in the 90s loved hidden tracks.

Honky Tonk Guitar! Gotta love the slide work.

Why are we talking about disciplining adolescents? How did we get here, Throwing Copper? You tell me right now.


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