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Collective Soul guitarist allegedly punched in the face: His side of the story

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Collective-soul_l True fact: One of the first albums I ever owned, if not the very first, was a cassette of Collective Soul’s Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid. Hey, 1993-me was pretty big into “Shine.” So it was with some distress that I read about the brawl that the band and current tourmate Gavin DeGraw allegedly got into with unfriendly Myrtle Beach, S.C. locals in the wee hours of Monday morning. DeGraw and Collective Soul have both written about the incident on their respective Twitter accounts, but the Music Mix got Collective Soul guitarist Dean Roland on the phone today to hear a little more about exactly what went down from his perspective. Read on after the jump.

According to Roland, it all started when Collective Soul, DeGraw, and various crew members went out for dinner and drinks at Myrtle Beach’s House of Blues the night before their scheduled Monday gig there. The musicians left the bar around 2 A.M., words were exchanged with a stranger — Roland says he wished the guy a happy birthday — and that’s when things went inexplicably downhill. “He walked away 20 feet, walked back, and just threw a punch and hit me right in the nose,” recalls Roland. “I’m like, ‘Whoa, that is outrageous!’ I’ve never been hit, or hit anybody, in my life.” Roland says his fellow road warriors and their crews wasted no time stepping up to his defense as his nose bled profusely. “It was like a bomb went off… It became so chaotic, so fast, I couldn’t tell what was going on. There were fists being thrown and people jumping over park benches. There were bars and restaurants on either side in the little alleyway. People were coming out of the bars to see. It was a scene.”

Soon enough the police showed up and, Roland says, gave him and his brother/lead singer Ed an ultimatum: go to jail or promise not to show their faces in Myrtle Beach for a full year. They chose the latter option. Collective Soul and DeGraw were, however, allowed to perform their House of Blues show as scheduled the following night before leaving town. “[The incident] kind of ramped up the energy level a little bit [at the gig],” Roland laughs. “Taking a shot to the face is good for the soul, I think.” But forget his soul — how’s his nose feeling now? “Sore!”

Collective Soul have two more shows with DeGraw left before releasing their new self-titled album on August 25. Hopefully none will involve any offstage violence. (DeGraw’s camp did not respond to a request for comment at this time.)

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