In August, Live will reissue their 1991 album Mental Jewelry in a deluxe remastered edition. Ahead of the release, the band is premiering one of the many bonus tracks featured on the reissue, a 1992 live version of the album’s opening song, “Pain Lies on the Riverside,” recorded at the Roxy in L.A.
The performance begins with a jammy intro, with singer Ed Kowalczyk shouting, “The riverside is where I walk!” to kick off the upbeat track. The band gradually builds to an ecstatic climax.
“I was really surprised to hear and experience again how fully formed we were as a young band by the time we played the Roxy show,” Kowalczyk tells Rolling Stone in a statement. “I just kept thinking, ‘That’s the band that inspired guys like Gary Kurfirst (our mentor and first record company president) to say, “We’re going to do great things together.”‘”
“I recall Ed and I randomly meeting Little Richard in front of our hotel earlier that day,” adds guitarist Chad Taylor. “He was in full makeup at 10 a.m. – it was definitely a wake-up call to the fact that we were about to perform in Hollywood. We boldly invited him to attend the show and offered to put him on our guest list, he said, ‘Don’t worry, they know who I am!’ I guess that’s the perfect reply from one of the fathers of rock music.”
Taylor also commented on the significance of the gig in the band’s history. “The Roxy show later that night may be the only multi-track recording of the band performing live before we had reached even modest commercial success,” he says. “For the most part, the audience was experiencing our songs for the first time. This meant that the band couldn’t rely on singles to keep the show’s momentum. We had already extended many of the album arrangements to carry us through a headlining set and this included ‘Pain Lies on the Riverside,’ a future single. There are so many improvised moments throughout the entire recording. We had to sell the drama of each song and you can tell that were both excited and nervous to perform in Los Angeles. The raw energy is something I doubt we could duplicate. Oh, and Little Richard never made to the gig – I guess he had to get his beauty rest.”
The new edition of Mental Jewelry celebrates the album’s 25th anniversary, which fell on December 31st, 2016. The reissue – available for pre-order now – is due August 11th in multiple formats, including colored vinyl, standard vinyl, cassette and a deluxe two-CD edition.
Kowalczyk re-joined Live last year, and the band is currently working on a new album. The group will be on the road for the rest of the summer, appearing at various U.S. festivals and opening several dates for Guns N’ Roses.