Two and a half decades later, Live frontman Ed Kowalczyk still can’t make sense out of “Lightning Crashes.” The third single from the Pennsylvania band’s third 1994 disc “Throwing Copper” wound up topping worldwide charts for several weeks, pushing its parent album past octuple-platinum status. The dark, crescendoeing track — and its mystical video picturing death, and life, influenced by Kowalczyk’s readings by Indian philosopher Krishnamurti — went on for five and a half minutes and didn’t lend itself to radio airtime. Why the label quietly chose to release it, Kowalczyk says, “is as mysterious to me now as it was then. It was long, there was a lot to it, and it really was a meditation, in a way. It was certainly not an obvious choice, but it changed everything for us.”
You’re on a “Throwing Copper” 25th anniversary tour now with Bush and Our Lady Peace. But you actually have your own Throwing Copper Ale now, too?
Yeah! We made our own ale! Of course, we’re all beer drinkers, and we reallly appreciate a good pint. So a brewing company out of SoCal reached out to us about doing a commemorative ale, and I thought, “Wow, that’s a good idea!” And apparently this type of beer — it’s a classic English ale — is nicknamed copper ale because of its color. So the stars were just lining right up.
But you had input into the taste, right?
That was the fun part. They sent me a really heavy box full of beer across the country, so I could try all the different things they were making, and it pointed me in the direction of what they were thinking of, in terms of taste. But it’s a pretty light alcohol content, 4.4 or so, which is more middle of the road for pleasing a bigger swath of people. Personally, I’m a big fan of the heavier IPAs. But our light ale is really good, and we’re actually going to have it at some shows coming up. On tap!
What other unusual cross-promotions have you done?
Well, there was talk of doing a wine a few years back. But I’m glad we chose beer. But otherwise, we have an amazing blanket on tour right now. It’s like a tapestry of the “Throwing Copper” art, and I’m personally using it under my meditation cushion right now, so maybe that’s helping the energy of the tour in some way.
That painting is very surreal, almost Hieronymus Bosch.
It is! Peter Howson did the original, called “Sisters of Mercy,” and the intro to our show is the preacher guy with the book, walking to the edge of a cliff. And — spoiler alert — he keeps walking, right in on us. IF YOU GO
Bush & Live
Where: Concord Pavilion, 2000 Kirker Pass Road, Concord
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Tickets: $18 to $99
Contact: (925) 676-8742, www.livenation.com