If someone asked you to do an impression of a ’90s rock singer, you might try for Eddie Vedder or Layne Staley‘s signature yarl. Or, if you’re looking for something more concise, you could just do Ed Roland‘s “Yeah” from Collective Soul‘s “Shine.”

For a moment that captures a certain sound of a decade, Roland tells ABC Audio that the “Shine” “Yeah” has a humble origin story.

“I was in a basement on an 8-track, and I just remember, like, I’d go, ‘Yeah!’ and it just sounded too something weird,” Roland recalls. “So I went and got the toilet paper and rolled the toilet paper off and got the little tube, toilet paper dispenser, and sang through that.”

“It gave it a distinguished sound,” he continues. “I just thought, ‘It’s almost a hook in itself.’”

While Roland knew he had something, his manager at the time gave a “no” to the “Yeah.”

“He was like, ‘That’s the stupidest s*** I’ve ever heard in my life,’” Roland says. “I was like, ‘No, it’s staying.’”

Roland, of course, was proven correct, and “Shine” has remained Collective Soul’s signature song since it was first released as the band’s debut single in 1993 — so much so that it might, ahem, outshine the rest of the band’s catalog.

“It’s bigger than the band,” Roland says. “If you played the song ‘Shine,’ people go, ‘I know that song!’ Well, who’s the band? … I guarantee you, half of ’em will go, ‘I don’t know, I can’t remember.’ So it’s one of those things.”

“We’re still trying to prove ourselves,” he adds. “Which is good, I like that. I like a challenge.” 

Collective Soul released a new album, Here to Eternity, in May. They’ll resume touring in support of it alongside Hootie & the Blowfish Wednesday in Denver.

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