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Members include Terry Balsamo (joined group, 1999), guitar; Kelley Hayes (replaced Matt Laughren), guitar; Matt Laughren(left group, early 1990s), guitar; Jeremy Marshall, bass; Sam McCandless, drums; Scooter Ward, lead vocals. Addresses: Record company--Geffen/Flip/Interscope Records, 2220 Colorado Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404; 825 Eighth Avenue, 29th Floor, New York, NY 10019. Website--Cold Official Website: http://www.coldonline.com.
The 1998 self-titled debut album for the hard-core rock group Cold was only in stores for two months before Universal Music Group subsumed A&M Records, the label to which Cold was signed. With its sophomore album, 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage, the group received a second opportunity to warm up to rock fans. "I'm glad we got to make another record. It's kind of a bummer that it took so long and we had to do it again. At least, out of all the bands on A&M, we lasted. At least we were privileged enough to get another deal," lead vocalist Scooter Ward told Contemporary Musicians.
An early incarnation of Cold formed during the mid-1980s when Ward and drummer Sam McCandless met at a Jacksonville, Florida-area high school. They performed with several garage bands before being introduced to bassist Jeremy Marshall and guitarist Matt Laughren. When they were in their early twenties, the quartet, dubbed Grundig, moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where there were more clubs in which to play. Ward told Rolling Stone magazine that Grundig didn't further its career in Atlanta as it had hoped. "Atlanta was into R.E.M.-ish stuff. We'd play on the outskirts of town, sometimes for two people." Laughren eventually left Grundig and was replaced by Kelley Hayes, who answered a "guitarist wanted" ad in a newspaper. Hayes did not audition for the part. Instead, he took the group to a nightclub. Grundig was impressed by the fact that Hayes knew the majority of the people in the club, and he was hired. Frustrated with the musical orientation of Atlanta, Ward quit the group. His discontent would help to drive the songs on Cold's debut album.
After reconciling with the group, Ward and the band returned to Jacksonville in 1996 and soon thereafter met fellow local musician Fred Durst of the rock group Limp Bizkit, who was interested in covering a Grundig song. Ward visited Durst's home to perform a series of songs on an acoustic guitar. Impressed with Ward's abilities, Durst signed him and Grundig to his Flip label and recruited Ross Robinson to produce the record. Robinson's credits include Korn, Slipknot, and Limp Bizkit. "Ross is, to me, the best metal producer you can get. He just drags the heaviness out of everything, like with Slipknot. It's amazing what he does. When you record with Ross one time, you gotta give it your all. You have to go off like you would onstage," Ward told Contemporary Musicians. During the recording process, Ward learned that German stereo manufacturer Grundig was trying to sue him and the band for $300,000 over use of its name. "I thought, what are you talking about? We don't have any money. Everybody was throwing names around. Wes (Borland), the Limp Bizkit guitarist, said he had a great idea: Cold. It was the perfect name. It fits the music," Ward told Contemporary Musicians.
The eponymous debut album, filled with references to drug addiction and aliens, was released on June 2, 1998, on A&M Records. In a review for MTV Online, Bryan Reesman wrote that the album's "strong nod to the Seattle sound of the early '90s is quite prominent--there's plenty of detuned guitars, throbbing bass, and an overall dominating dissonance." European media raved about the record. According to Cold's official A&M Records biography, the German magazine Kerrang notes, "There's nothing better than slapping a debut album on the deck and finding yourself swamped by an excitingly alien new sound.... Cold songs are evil. They crawl under your scalp and build a nest." Doug Reese of Billboard noted that "the gritty yowl of Ward's vocals, in addition to some full-of-pain lyrics, complement Cold's sludgy instrumentation."
To push the record, Cold toured with Soulfly, The Urge, and Gravity Kills throughout the United States. Two months after the release of Cold, A&M stopped promoting the album after Universal Music Group took over A&M Records and Flip. In 1999, Cold re-signed with Interscope and the affiliate label Flip. Later that year, Cold returned to the studio with producer Adam Kasper in Seattle, Washington, to work on what was to become 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage. The songs were written in Los Angeles and Jacksonville, however Ward was influenced by his surroundings in Seattle, namely the World Trade Organization riots. "It was on the same street as the studio. Everyday, we would go into the studio and right outside the window was the police riot bus. There were smoke bombs going off. We would just stand at the door all day and watch," Ward told Contemporary Musicians.
For 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage, Cold called in former Limp Bizkit member Terry Balsamo to play guitar in mid-1999. On Cold and onstage, Ward had played guitar parts, but with 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage, he wanted to concentrate solely on vocals. "With a guitar around, I wasn't as personal with the crowd as I wanted to be. I wanted more energy and intimacy. I can concentrate more on vocals and performance now," Ward explained in his record company biography.
Besides Kasper, who had worked in the studio with the Foo Fighters and Nirvana, Cold asked Durst and Chris Vrenna, formerly of Nine Inch Nails, to produce as well. "We wanted programming, but not too computer sounding because we're an organic band," Marshall said in the group's A&M biography. Vrenna agreed, adding subtle electronic touches to 13 Ways to Bleed on Stagewhich contradict heavy guitars and angst-ridden lyrics with piano and melodies. Fellow Flip artist Aaron Lewis, lead singer for the band Staind, made vocal appearances on the songs "Send in the Clowns" and "Bleed." Cold previewed the new songs while on the road with the Tattoo the Earth tour and Limp Bizkit in the summer of 2000.
by Christina Fuoco
Formed group in Jacksonville, FL, 1987; signed with A&M/Flip Records, 1996; released debut album Cold, 1998; signed with Geffen/Flip/Interscope Records, 1999; released 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage, 2000.
- Selected discography
- Cold (includes "Around the World"), A&M, 1996; Geffen/Flip/Interscope, 2001.
- 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage (includes "Send in the Clowns" and "Bleed"), Geffen/Flip/Interscope, 2000.
August 18, 2004: Cold's album, Year of the Spider, was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Source: Billboard.com, www.billboard.com/bb/riaa/gold.jsp, September 15, 2004.
- Billboard, November 1, 1997, p. 12.
- Rolling Stone, July 19, 2001, p. 26.
- MTV Online, http://www.mtv.com/bands/cold/263791/album.jhtml (July 25, 2001).
- Additional information was provided by A&M publicity materials, 1998, Interscope publicity materials, 2000, and an interview with Scooter Ward on June 29, 2001.
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