Cold can still bring an alternative grunge style to the stage that they rocked when they hit the scene in 1996. They became a mainstay in the musical culture with their 2003 top five release Year of the Spider. After an announced break-up of the band in 2006, they returned to the stage with a reunion tour in 2009. Right now, they are promoting their recently released fifth studio album Superfiction.
Amy was able to speak with the band’s lead singer and original member Scooter Ward. The two discussed the road back after the time off and a visual imagery associated with their new music. The band played at Bogart’s with Danish Metal band Volbeat on Tuesday July 26th.
Amy: I’ve been listening to the new album and I love it. I’ve been listening to it over and over this week.
Scooter: Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
Amy: I personally think it is your best work.
Scooter: I think so too. We’re on the same page. We are very proud of it. It took us a long time but it definitely came out well I think.
Amy: My favorite track on the whole thing is “American Dream.” Can you tell me the story behind that song?
Scooter: Yeah, being in a band as long as we have, and living in Hollywood for many years and having a lot of friends who are musicians and actor friends and actresses, we’ve seen this story happen many times. It is a story about going to Hollywood to make it big and getting caught up in the drama. “American Dream” is about a tabloid girl who goes crazy in Hollywood and comes home to find herself again. When she gets home, she realizes home is a little more messed up than Hollywood is. At the end of the song, she wants to go back.
Amy: This is your first album in six years. Was it hard to go back and write and go back in the studio together?
Scooter: No, it’s pretty easy to write. I think writing just comes to us. We could write songs everyday. That’s not the hard thing. Recording and getting the sound we want and spending time on harmonies is what really takes a long time. Hooking up with Eleven Seven, they gave us the option to have the time to do that and get the sound we wanted.
Amy: You guys famously took a break in 2006 and everybody thought the band was finished for a while. Did you guys stay friends or stay in touch during that period of time when you were off?
Scooter: During that time when we took the hiatus, we were set on separating for a little while because we had been together for 12 years relentlessly writing records and touring. There was not much time off that whole time. During that time, we had kids and got married and things like that. We really wanted to spend time away from each other to focus on families. Of course, we talked on the phone every now and then but nothing major. It was nice to be away from everybody for a little bit. Then we got back together for the reunion tour; I had played with Sam and Jerry since I was 12. I am 40 now, 41 so, it was like we are brothers. It was nice to see everybody again and I think when all the fans showed up for the Resurrection tour, it just inspired us to stay together and continue with Cold.
Amy: Each one of the songs on the album is accompanied by a piece of art. Can you tell me how that concept came about and who did the illustrations?
Scooter: For sure. The definition for Superfiction is art coming to life from the images. When I heard that definition that is how I wanted our record to be with the audio. At the same time, as I was creating the songs, there were certain images that stuck out in my head, and we remodeled the song lyrics around those images. I thought that everybody should see where the song came from in the first place so we got an illustrator and I would kind of draw a rough sketch of the images. I would then send it to the illustrator and he would really draw it. It came out pretty cool. But through the songs and creating and writing the lyrics, those were kind of the images I had in my head.
Amy: You’re touring with Volbeat right now and I actually talked with Michael last week while they were on break. It was a great interview and they are a crazy Danish band. Have you had any crazy stories over the weekend yet?
Scooter: Actually this is our first show, tonight, with Volbeat.
Amy: You didn’t do Saturday or Sunday?
Scooter: No we did another show last night.
Amy: So we’ll have to see in Cincinnati if anything gets crazy.
Scooter: I know my drummer just met the singer from Volbeat and he liked the Superfiction record. So they were chatting for a minute. I haven’t met anybody yet.
Amy: It was very, very nice and a great interview with him. I’m sure you will have a lot of fun.
Scooter: Danish people are always very nice.
Amy: Well they sounded very fun as well. It’s always good to be on the road with someone fun. Did you have any musical influences on this album?
Scooter: I don’t know about musical influences. After Cold disbanded, I work on a band called The Killer and the Star. So I was writing the entire time. Then when we got Cold back together, I just went into writing for Cold. When I write, I don’t really listen to other music or radio. I just focus on creating my own world with Cold. I don’t know about the influences. We always draw influences from old school stuff like Depeche Mode or The Cure. Those are some of my favorite bands. I always have those influences in my writing. I think that is where the dark things come from.
Amy: That makes sense. I’m a big Depeche Mode fan. What is the best thing about touring and being in a rock band for you after all these years?
Scooter: The best thing after all these years is to be able to survive and pay the bills and still do what we love. Seeing the fans, they have become part of the family over the years. We have a very loyal fan base. We see the same people all of the time at shows. It’s nice to see everybody again.
Amy: What’s your guilty pleasure?
Scooter: Right now, we are playing disc golf on the Wii with little squirrels as the characters. That’s kind of my guilty pleasure right now.
Amy: That answers my other question of what you do with your down time on the road. Play Wii golf.
Scooter: No. On my down time, I kind of just hang out with my kids and have fun.
Amy: Do they come out on the road with you?
Scooter: No. When Cam was born, she came out with me for about six months when she was a baby. But as she is getting older, she is in school and stuff now.
Amy: What do they say now to their friends? “My dad’s in a rock band…”
Scooter: Yeah, I don’t think they grasp it yet. They do say that but I don’t think they know what that means really. As long as we are not Justin Bieber, she doesn’t care.
Amy: I hear that a lot from people with kids. If you’re not Justin Bieber or Britney Spears, it doesn’t matter at all, or Taylor Swift, that’s another one.
Scooter: She loves Taylor Swift. That’s why I wrote “Welcome to My World.” I started writing that for Cam. It started with princes and princesses and stuff and I did that because she listened to so much Taylor Swift. It turned into a total thing with witches and Superman and John Lennon. I kind of tweaked it out.
Amy: But it went down that path because of Taylor Swift.
Scooter: Yeah, I was like, “Here we go,” and I couldn’t stop it. But initially it was written for Cam in my mind.
Amy: I talked to a couple people that were about to become Dads for the first time. I always ask them, obviously your life changes, but do you think your songwriting changed because of that?
Scooter: I think you are more aware of what you write. Definitely when I was younger I had no filter. I think that also comes with maturity when you are growing. You become more aware of things that you say when you have fans. It really affects them. They might take it in a different light. I still delve into dark things, but maybe not as much as I used to.
Photo Credit: David E. Jackson