REVIEW: Live – Throwing Copper (1994)

LIVE – Throwing Copper (1994 Radioactive Records)

20 years ago.  It seems like such a long time, but it’s true: There was an era when the top of the charts were dominated by the likes of Hootie, and Live. Kids today might not know Live, but many of these songs are still radio staples today: “I Alone”, “Lightning Crashes”, “All Over Me” among others.  8 million copies sold, and although you can find it used quite easily today, a lot of people hung onto their copies of Throwing Copper.  I am one.

I began working at the record store in 1994, and I used to tell my customers, “You’ll probably know all these songs.” I said that for a few albums back then, such as Purple by Stone Temple Pilots and Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. Not only did Throwing Copper have five hit singles, but virtually every album track was getting played somewhere. That’s how strong this record is.

The legacy of this album is its influence. I will maintain that without Throwing Copper, there would be no Matchbox 20, and certainly no Daughtry. Unfortunately all those bands learned from Live was bombast, and they turned it up to 11. They learned nothing about song craft, nothing about expression, nothing about restraint.

Throwing Copper has bombast in spades. It’s there in Ed’s vocals, but it’s also there in the rhythm guitar parts and the noisy Neil Young-esque solos. It’s there in the rolling bass lines and the thundering drums. But Ed Kowalczyk also knew how to use his voice quietly (“Lightning Crashes”), which amazingly was still as expressive. He names Michael Stipe as a huge influence, and you can hear R.E.M. and even U2 between the grooves.

Personal fave song:  “Shit Towne”.

Production by Jerry Harrison is stunning. The drums are some of the best, most natural sounding drums recorded in the 90’s and the bass is strong without dominating. This CD is in no need of a remastering, it sounds just fine as it is.

It’s kind of a shame that Live never did anything this good again, or with this kind of impact. While I have listened to every Live album since, I never bought any of them. This is the only one I bothered buying, and I liked it so much I bought some of the singles when I could find them. The domestic single for “White, Discussion” has a great acoustic version of “I Alone”.

If you need some 90’s nostalgia, and don’t have this album, you absolutely need it. If you’re too young to remember the 90’s but love bands like Theory of a NickelCreed, then you need to find out what real music sounds like. Throw out your Daughtry discs and pick up Throwing Copper.

5/5 stars


There is also an unlisted track after “White, Discussion” known as “Horse”.


    1. Why postpone till tomorrow that you can share today? Great review for a great album. Definitely one of those albums that can be played end to end and chock full of singles. Nice one.


      1. Good news is I just received an email with a brand new release review in it…aiming to get it up tonight. So I WILL at least have some content for today (and it’s a gooder)!


    2. I’m telling you man, the new Editor is so terrible, WP ought to be given a solid smack and told to smarten up for foisting this on us. I avoid it at all costs, and if it becomes the only way to operate on this site, we will go elsewhere (so says I… this would be news to James, at the moment, but I could easily make a compelling case).


        1. Yup, but if you add a video that always seems to become the feature image when I do it – which is why I don’t do that very often.


        2. Are you listening, WP? Either make sure your new editor doesn’t suck before you foist it on us, or just leave things well enough alone. None of us were complaining about the way it used to be!

          Liked by 1 person

        3. WP seem to like change for the sake of change. The new editor is do buggy I can’t believe it’s been implemented. Just try and schedule something with it for a specific time. It can’t! It changes the times!


        1. Good luck. Blogger’s editor isn’t much better. Google doesn’t take care of its bloggers either.

          The way I look at it, it’s sort of like FB. They kept changing FB, then we complained, but we adapted. I have no interest in leaving WP at this time. The only thing I miss from Blogger is being able to customize my look without paying for it, but I had no readers or blogging community.


        2. Good to know.

          I don’t want to bother moving stuff around. I assume the editor issues will improve, but damn, couldn’t they wait until it works to roll it out?


        3. Oh man, it’d have to be a long point-form list of all the things it sucks at, and then a sincere note about how they should’ve held off releasing the new thing until it ACTUALLY WORKED.

          If anyone is gonna do this, ask them why the hell you can’t even UNDERLINE TEXT in the new editor. Seriously.


        4. In the new WP editor, make sure you are looking at your editor through the visual tab – not text tab. You can underline in the visual tab. I think it defaults to the text tab first (did for me).


        5. Good call. Now, interestingly, mine is the reverse of that: it defaults to the Visual tab and it has no UL, but if I switch it to the Text version, it has UL. So that solves that, I think, unless posting from Text is weird in some other way. Good job Sarca!


        6. I suppose anything’s possible, but I wouldn’t think of the browser as affecting what settings WP makes visible on their page. If this is the case, what could Safari possibly be doing to achieve this? I’ll have a dig through the preferences.


    3. BTW, the WP for android tablet app is even WORSE. Confusing. They use these icons I can’t figure out. Next thing you know, you’re posting without meaning to. Ridiculous!


      1. That’s a big issue with me. I don’t want to post until I’m ready!

        Fortunately Uncle Meat sent me a brand new release review for me to post later today, so I will have some new stuff up.


  1. I find the new editor so confusing!! I’m still using the old one.

    I had this album, but gave it away. I guess I got enough Live from the radio.


      1. Yes the old editor has this. Right hand column, under the publish tab is an area called “Featured image”. There is a link there where you can set your featured image.

        I don’t see any reason to use the new editor yet.


        1. OK thanks.

          The new editor has problems! Not only does it change my post times but it’s very flaky as to if it will post to social media or not! Sometimes it uncheck the boxes on its own! And you can’t change it back.


        2. Yeah! When I went to the New Post through Dashboard, on mine it was down underneath the spot where you type in Tags.

          It was probably always there, and since I was never looking for it I never saw it before! Way to go Sarca!

          Also, I love the creepy arrow.


        3. I’m using Safari, but that probably doesn’t help any of the rest of you (unless you have a Mac?)

          Mike! Are you still using IE?

          That arrow is awesome. Haha you lefties. Of course, if I used my left hand and a mouse, anything other than something even remotely resembling an arrow would be what you’d get.


        4. Oh yeah! It does say that up there… Hm. I don’t know Chrome at all. But i think James was talking about using it. Mike, you should have his email from all those group mailings, he might be able to help. Or if he sees this comment in his reader, James, do you know about Chrome messing with the new WP editor? What’s your experience?


        5. I used chrome on my android tablet, and I’m still getting the “featured image”.

          The tabs are moveable. You can move the publish tab and the featured image tab around. Mike’s might be located somewhere on the page – just not where mine is located. If memory serves, I moved mine to where it is now for ease of use, although I hardly use it. I’m a tiled mosaic album gal these days.


        6. When you hit your “screen options” on the top right, you’ll see a list of tabs you can have displayed on your edit screen. Do you see one relating to the feature image? Because I don’t have that tab anywhere.


        7. Completely different from mine.
          Likes and Shares
          Send Trackbacks
          Writing Helper

          Of those, I have Categories, Tags, Revisions and Likes and Shares active. I’ve played with the settings and activated all of them, and none of them will create a Featured Image tab.


        8. Wait, I have different options depending on the screen. In my post editor I have things like “Likes and Shares” but no featured image


  2. Oh man, Throwing Copper. Where do I even begin? I bought it pretty much as a new release and have never lived without it. When we saw them in 1996 (at Edenfest, reviewed on KMA), they played most (if not all) of that album. The songs were even bigger live (live Live!). One of the best rock albums of that decade. Seriously. Not even a mediocre track on it. You nailed it on the sound being just fine the way it is. 5/5 indeed!!

    I would also make an argument for the follow-up, Secret Samadhi. I know it’s not as popular a choice, and I wouldn’t say it’s quite on par with Throwing Copper (but that’s a slippery thing, it’s a bit of a different direction while still sounding like them), but it is a damn STRONG record that I would recommend to anybody. Two solid records between 1994-1997, that bands was on a TEAR!


    1. Secret Samadhi was a decent album and I almost bought it. It had a more epic sonic quality to it. But I didn’t buy it after playing it a dozen times. And I lost interest after that. Birds of Pray? With the auto-tune a-la Cher? Fuggetaboutit!


  3. I prefer Secret Samadahi over Throwing Cooper esp that tune about puke tasting like beer ?!
    The bass on that record is huge man….and than I bought Throwing Cooper yrs later in a bin somewhere for a couple,of bucks.
    Good band


  4. I moved to Boulder, CO in the Fall/Winter of 1995. This album along with Purple (oooh yeah, great album) and No Joke by the Meat Puppets were on constant rotation for me. I ised to listen to this one on some long mountain drives, going out to check out whatever, cruising along the mountain roads in search of some adventure. There is really such a great flow, some strong moods and some very rocking moments without sounding to much like just some loud rock music. I never really was into them other than this album. They just seemed to smug for their own good. Kind of like a mini U2. Screw U2

    I blame them also for Creed. Screw Creed.


    1. Mini U2. Well put. And screw Creed and all the bands that followed them too.

      Purple, what a great ’94 album. I’ll have to dig it up and review it before the end of the year.


    2. Yup, Purple was another one in big time rotation. Saw that tour too, opening for the Stones. Very cool.

      Agreed, screw U2 (post mid-80s). And Creed? It is once again the perfect time to post this:


      1. Lol. Too much. I dunno..stuff!!!

        I forgot also Soup by Blind Melon. Inreresting time musically. Kind of alt rock after it wasn’t really indie rock any more. I sold off TC ages ago. The story of this band is a sad but typical one. One guy thinks he’s better than his band but doesnt realize the sum is bigger than the parts.


        1. I always wantedto have a band called To Be Announced. How about On The House? Imagine that double bill.

          Back in the day there was a band called Exit. They changed their name to Mysterious Ways to avoid connection to the song Exit by U2. Some time later U2 released an album called Achtung Baby which had a song on it called…


  5. Well reviewed Mike – one of those records I forget about but am always pleased to rediscover.
    Selling the drama’s likely my favourite but there’s not really a wrong answer here!


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