September 16, 2019 Interview – Scooter Ward of Cold
Back in the early 2000s a unique band emerged onto the Alternative Metal scene by the name of Cold. Complete with dark melodies, introspective lyrics, and passionate, diverse vocals, Cold would go on to mainstream success with their 2000 album 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage followed by 2003’s Year of the Spider. Developing a dedicated following from that point on, Cold sustained artistic integrity through the later part of the decade before slowly fading to gray.
Fortunately for fans, Cold was never truly dead, and in 2015 the uprising announcement came down that the band had signed a record deal with Napalm Records. Now, three years later, the time has come for the full resurrection of Cold with their first full-length studio in eight years, The Things We Can’t Stop. A long time coming, Cold founder and creative mind Scooter Ward sat down to chat about the history of the band, taking time to be with his family, the work behind the new music, plus more.
Cryptic Rock – Your career in music began over thirty years ago, and Cold’s story began over twenty years ago. Having attained a good deal of success in the early 2000s, how would you describe the journey of the band?
Scooter Ward – It’s been a good journey. We’ve been blessed to have been here this long, have great friends in music, and have a loyal fanbase that keeps coming out to see us. As long as they’re going to be there, I’ll keep playing for them.
Cryptic Rock – It has been a good run for sure. Cold released their debut album in 1998, but it was 2000’s 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage that really propelled the band into the major spotlight, and then you had a lot of additional success with Year of the Spider in 2003. What was that period of time like for Cold?
Scooter Ward – It was great. We had a lot of bands bringing us out on tour, which really set us up to another level too. We were receiving radio play, MTV was still playing videos back then; we were getting a lot of good things. We had bands like Limp Bizkit, Godsmack, 3 Doors Down, Marilyn Manson were all having us out on tour. It was really nice and elevated us to another level.
Cryptic Rock – It was really a special time for the band. Between your time in Cold you have done other things, including The Killer and the Star. You released an album with The Killer and the Star around a decade ago. That was a very different project.
Scooter Ward – I wanted to go back to Ross Robinson, who did our first record, he started a new label called IAM: Wolfpack. I was writing all these songs and it was kind of a different style of music. I wanted to make a record without any guitars on it, so we kind of did a big symphony, string kind of thing. I got John Otto from Limp Bizkit to come out and play drums for me and Michael Harris from Idiot Pilot to play bass; it just turned into a cool project.
Me and Otto were talking about doing The Killer and the Star part 2 next year. I believe we are going to get Sam Rivers from Limp Bizkit to play bass. We’re going to continue doing it every now and then. Every The Killer and the Star record is going to be different, the next one we are going to add guitars.
Cryptic Rock – Very interesting. The debut The Killer and the Star record was very unique to your other works.
Scooter Ward – I don’t think there was a preconceived notion of what type of music we were trying to play with it. I was sitting down and whatever came out of me came out, and it became what it was. That was the goal with The Killer and the Star: there was no pressure, nothing dark or having to get inside without feelings with everything. It was fun, it was a fun project for all of us to do. It’s nice to just go play music and have a good time with it.
Cryptic Rock – It will be fun to see what comes next with that. You released Superfiction with Cold back in 2011. Was that supposed to be the final Cold record?
Scooter Ward – I don’t know. Maybe at the time we were talking about doing that, but I don’t think I ever really said it was the last record. I had to go back and spend time with my family. My sister got sick again and I wanted to stop and be with her for however long it took. I also wanted to spend time with my teenagers too – I just needed to be there for them.
Cryptic Rock – Family is probably the most important thing.
Scooter Ward – For sure! Taking the time off and being with them, then my sister got better, my kids wanted me to go back to do music. They like having their dad in a band and doing what he loves. When I got the okay from everyone, including my wife, of course I was coming back. I long for it.
Cryptic Rock – That is wonderful to hear. The news came down a few years ago that Cold had signed with Napalm Records, and now you are set to release The Things We Can’t Stop on Friday, September 13th. The recording for the album began in 2017, and it has been sometime since Cold has put out new music. What was the writing and recording process like this time around?
Scooter Ward – It was a long process for this one. I was out in California, we went to Phoenix to do the drums and I went through a crazy writer’s block with my lyrics. That has never happened to me before and when I got into that it just took forever. It seemed like something was taken away from me that had always been there; that was a tragic, depressing time for me. I went through a lot of emotions, and I just never thought I would be able to do it again.
All of a sudden, I was watching the Nick Cave One More Time with Feeling movie and it inspired me daily. I watched it about twenty times: I would put it on before I would go to bed every night and everyday it got a little better. After about a month the flood gates opened up and everything was back; it was nice.
Cryptic Rock – Wow, sometimes you can get a creative block and it can be frustrating.
Scooter Ward – Very frustrating. You get inside your own head with that too – Am I good enough? Is this ever going to come back? This is the way I take care of my family, my life has always been music. It felt like it was taken away. I started doing research and basically you have to keep working that muscle in your brain; the artist and writer’s part. When you take time away from that sometimes it gets weak and is not able to perform as well. Nick Cave was saying to get up and write just a couple of lines a day on paper. Even if they’re shit, you just put something down, it helps with that, and it did.
Cryptic Rock – It is good to hear you found new inspiration. The Things We Can’t Stop is very much a Cold album through and through. Speaking of the lyrics, you have always had very thoughtful lyrics. Would you say lyric-writing is therapy for you?
Scooter Ward – All the time. That’s how I share my pain and things I’m going through with other people. Being out playing the shows every night, seeing everyone looking at me and singing, everyone singing them back – it translates. I feel obligated to keep sharing those kind of moments in my songs and with my fans; it seems to help them and it helps me. I think I’m blessed with being able to do that.
Cryptic Rock – Absolutely. People can relate to the feelings universally.
Scooter Ward – My lyrics are not anything extravagant and crazy. (Laughs) They are not introverted words that I’m trying to come up with and be poetic, they are just normal things. The way I express it and the delivery of the lyrics, I think that’s what connects with people.
Cryptic Rock – Agreed 100%. Amidst all the new songs you do a cover of Snow Patrol’s “Run.” A well done rendition, what led to the decision of putting it on the album?
Scooter Ward – I’ve always loved that song ever since I first heard it; it just connected with me. Every time I would have to go on tour and leave my family I would always listen to that song because I’m emo like that. (Laughs) It always made me sad, and in sad moments I like to make it a little more tragic. That song has always meant something to me. It’s such a beautiful song and every time I listen to it or play I would like to do it with harmonies. I thought maybe one day I would record it with harmonies and see how it sounds. It ended up working out pretty well. We stayed pretty true to form with the song, I didn’t want to insult the band by trying to make a different version of it, just added harmonies to it.
Cryptic Rock – It came out exceptionally well. You have kept Cold going strong through the years, but you have had a list of other musicians working in the band. What has it been like working with this current Cold lineup?
Scooter Ward – They’re brilliant. I met years ago online Lindsay Manfredi, we started talking. She’s a great bass player – I believe she was doing pep talks for girls playing music. When I saw it I said, “Yeah, she’s the bass player.” Nick Coyle has been with me forever; every band he’s been in we’ve always brought them on tour with us. I’ve always loved Nick very much; he’s a super talented musician, he brings a lot to the table with Cold. Then Sam McCandless came back with us on drums – it’s like the family is back together. Then Jonny Nova, our guitarist, a friend of Nick’s, is a super talented guy and very sweet person. He complements everything for us right now and I’m just blessed to have a lot of really talented people to play with me again.
Cryptic Rock – It sounds like you have a good chemistry going on. Sam has been a part of this with you since you had the band Grundig thirty years ago.
Scooter Ward – Me and Sam have been playing together since we were thirteen-years-old. I would listen to him play drums in his garage all the time. I had gotten a guitar, then one day at school he asked me if I wanted to start a band, so we did!
Cryptic Rock – That is fantastic to see the friendship going strong. You are out on tour with Cold right now on the Broken Human Tour. How are the shows going?
Scooter Ward – They’re on fire, they’re really good. The shows are packed and everyone in the entire place is singing so loud sometimes I can’t hear myself, it’s pretty cool. We’ve played many Cold shows and people sang along, but not at the volume they’re doing it at right now. There is a passion when they are at the show: it’s been a long time and it’s almost as if they needed to come share it with us. It’s awesome.
Cryptic Rock – Wow, it sounds like a very emotional experience.
Scooter Ward – It’s overwhelming. I breakdown every time on stage actually. It’s very cool.
Cryptic Rock – People will have to check out the tour! You have always shown to be a very soulful singer. What are some of your personal musical influences?
Scooter Ward – I tend to lean more toward Alternative type of music. I grew up playing everything: I was listening to Country when I was young, Rolling Stones then The Cure. For the past ten years or so I’ve been into Manchester Orchestra, Placebo, and Interpol. I just like things that are a little different and maybe not so mainstream. It’s kind of like Cold: we’re not such a mainstream band, we just try to play with our hearts and do what we do. It’s not for anything else.
Cryptic Rock – That shines through in your music. Last question. If you are a fan of Horror and Sci-Fi films, do you have any favorites?
Scooter Ward – I would say my all-time favorite Horror movie was Damien: Omen II (1978), I think I’ve watched that movie more than anything. The Shining (1980) is also a big one for me. Those are my two favorites, no doubt. I was more into Sci-Fi when I was a kid – I was a huge Star Wars fan.