Craft Recordings celebrates the 25th anniversary of Collective Soul’s acclaimed third album, Disciplined Breakdown, with a bonus-filled reissue. Available June 17, the deluxe 2-CD/digital anniversary edition includes the cathartic album (featuring such hits as “Precious Declaration” and “Listen”), rare studio outtakes, plus a previously unreleased concert from 1997, captured in its entirety at Chicago’s Park West. Featuring newly remastered audio by the Grammy Award-winning engineer Paul Blakemore, the reissue also includes insightful new liner notes by music journalist Stephen Thomas Erlewine (Senior Editor, Pop at Xperi).
On June 18, fans can find a Record Store Day exclusive edition of Disciplined Breakdown on translucent red vinyl at select independent record stores. The newly remastered pressing with lacquers cut by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio is limited to 5,000 units worldwide. Additionally, for those seeking an enhanced listening experience, the original 12-track album will be available in hi-res digital audio on June 17.
When Southern alt-rockers Collective Soul began work on their third studio album, they were one of the biggest bands in the country, with multiple hits on the airwaves and a growing collection of gold and platinum records. Yet, despite appearances, they were struggling emotionally and financially, while embroiled in a messy legal battle with their former manager. From this difficult period, however, came Disciplined Breakdown: an album that found the band going back to basics and pouring their frustrations into their songwriting. Decades later, it not only marks a commercial high point in the band’s career, but also a triumphant token of resiliency.
The story of Disciplined Breakdown begins several years earlier; when the Stockbridge, GA, band scored a regional hit with “Shine,” a song written by frontman Ed Roland and recorded as a demo alongside his brother, rhythm guitarist Dean Roland, and bassist Will Turpin. It was the early ’90s, amid the rise of grunge, and record labels were eager to find the next big act.
As “Shine” became a national hit, eventually peaking at No.11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No.1 on the Mainstream Rock chart, Roland signed a management agreement and turned Collective Soul into a five-piece, rounding out the group with drummer Shane Evans and lead guitarist Ross Childress. In a whirlwind, they released a full-length debut, Hints, Allegations & Things Left Unsaid (1994), and, upon signing to Atlantic Records, followed with 1995’s Collective Soul.
Over the next year, Collective Soul scored five more Mainstream Rock hits, topping the chart once again with “December” and “The World I Know.” They went on tour with Van Halen and made numerous appearances on late-night TV. As the album’s promotional cycle slowed, however, a new reality began to take shape. As Erlewine notes, “the rise of Collective Soul as a band is intertwined with [Ed] Roland’s increased alienation from management…So much was happening, that the band didn’t realize how the dispute between Roland and management had metastasized.”
Amid legal battles with their former manager, the band’s assets were frozen. There was little that they could do. Returning to Stockbridge, Roland channeled his emotions into songwriting. He borrowed a cabin on a friend’s farm, bringing in three ADAT machines for tracking. And then, the band began to record the album that would become Disciplined Breakdown. Evans recalls, “there were days when each of us would walk into the cabin…and we’d be like, ‘I don’t know if I can deal with this any longer.’” But, as Roland reveals, a stronger will prevailed. “Somehow we kept our sanity because we want[ed] this career and want[ed] to stay together as a band. But it’s tough when the first thing you do each day is to talk to lawyers.”
The song titles (“Blame,” “Forgiveness,” “Listen”) certainly mirror the band’s ongoing struggles, as do many of the lyrics. The anthemic lead single, “Precious Declaration,” for instance, details the moment that the band and management settled in court. Yet, despite the record’s heavy themes, Disciplined Breakdown is full of accessible, post-grunge tunes—an element that is reflected in the album’s commercial success.
Following its release in March 1997, Disciplined Breakdown landed in the Billboard 200’s Top 20 and was later certified platinum by the RIAA. Abroad, it peaked in the Top 5 in Canada and New Zealand and landed in Australia’s Top 40. The album also spawned several hit singles, including “Precious Declaration,” and “Listen,” both of which topped Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart, while the former song peaked at No.5 on the Canadian pop charts.
Other highlights included the harmony-filled “Link,” the dynamic third single, “Blame,” and the soulful “Full Circle,” featuring a cameo by the legendary Memphis Horns. In his notes, Erlewine argues that Disciplined Breakdown “amounts to the richest album Collective Soul delivered during their prime, an album where their deep musicality shines within the compositions and performances alike.”
The same can be said for their appearances on stage, following the album’s release. One such concert, featured on the deluxe edition of Disciplined Breakdown, finds the band at their absolute best, as they play to fans at Chicago’s Park West. The 18-song set spans a range of material, including songs from Disciplined Breakdown, a range of hits off their first two albums and an electrifying cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train.” As a special bonus, the reissue also offers two rare studio tracks: an alternate version of “She Said,” which originally appeared on the Scream 2 soundtrack, as well as the dramatic “Salvation Mix” of “Precious Declaration.”
Now, 28 years and ten studio albums later, Collective Soul still maintains the same determined spirit and love for their craft that kept them going during their most challenging times. With a lineup that includes founding members Ed Roland, Will Turpin and Dean Roland, plus drummer Johnny Rabb and lead guitarist Jesse Triplett, the band is nearing their 30th anniversary—a milestone achieved by few of their peers. “So much of what we do is based on the camaraderie-ship of the band,” shared Roland, following the release of 2019’s Blood. “The five of us continue to work together as a family, and I’ve never been at more ease—and never been more pleased—than going onstage with these guys night after night.”