Ten Minutes With Ed Kowalczyk
Ed Kowalczyk is most famous as the lead singer and principle songwriter of Live, a 1990s band famous for songs like “Lightning Crashes” and “I Alone.” After selling millions of albums worldwide, Kowalczyk began a solo career—moving his wife, Erin, and three daughters Ana, Natasha, and Cecilia from California to Ridgefield this past August. A York, Pennsylvania, native, Kowalczyk reflects on living in a small town while continuing to rock the world.
What’s a perfect day in Ridgefield? A perfect day in Ridgefield would start out with a short espresso at my friend Laura’s coffee shop Tusk & Cup. Let’s see, this is all going to be food-oriented. Then I’ll write a little music, then a sandwich at Tony’s Deli, maybe a trip to the Aldrich, and then pick up the kids from school and then Piccolo Pizza delivery.
Are there any good secret jam sessions in town that we should know about? The only secret jam session I know about is in Joe Ancona’s basement. We had a good jam there a couple of months ago. We played a 15-minute version of “All Along the Watchtower.”
Judy Collins has a house in Ridgefield. That would be an interesting duo. I could produce her record. Why not?
What’s the difference between touring solo and touring with a four-piece rock band? First off, there’s a lot less people to keep track of. When you have like 10 people on the road with crew and stuff it gets crazy. This is a lean and mean approach to touring. It’s literally me, my bassist, and my sound guy.
Live has sold more than 20 million albums. That would be like every resident of Ridgefield owning 800 of your CDs. That sounds cool. I always thought about how many trucks it would take to hold that many records—that’s a lot.
Your wife’s pregnant with your fourth child. Is it fair to say you drive something larger than a sedan? Yes. We are full-blown “Swagger Wagon”—there’s no turning back for us for a long time because there’s just no way to carry this many people in anything smaller.
What’s more rock star, playing Woodstock ’94 or driving your kids around town in a minivan? Oh, driving the kids in the minivan is so punk rock, it’s scary.
Roughly how many days per year would you say you’re at home in Ridgefield? I’ve been really busy the first quarter of the year launching “I Alone” Acoustic and I’m going to be working on my album. My shows mainly occur east of the Mississippi and in Europe, so I’ve shrunk my travel regimen.
Do people recognize you around town? Sometimes, but sometimes I think they do and they don’t want to say anything. Connecticut’s always been a really strong market for Live for years.
Has anyone ever come up and rubbed your baldhead? Not yet, but feel free.
All in all, why did you decide to move to Ridgefield—aside from our burgeoning rock ‘n’ roll scene? The schools are famous for their quality. I wanted the resources of the city, and the airports are important to me.