20 Years of 'Year of the Spider'
Cold comes to Basement Transmissions to perform classic album
SATURDAY, MAY 27
Cold had planned to do a 2020 tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of its breakthrough album 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage, but COVID-19 got in the way, kicking the hard-rocking post-grunge band off the road. So like many bands in the same situation, Cold decided to try to go out and celebrate their record last year, even though it was 21 years after 13 Ways started its gold record run.
"When we started setting that tour up, tour buses were impossible to find," said band founder and only remaining original member Scooter Ward. "And the tour bus companies decided to hike up the rates nearly double what they were before and they were already expensive. So that didn't happen." So it looked like Cold would have to try again in 2023. Then Ward took a good look at the band's discography. "It just turned out this year was 20 years of Year of the Spider which was our most successful album. We wanted to do that for the fans and for us," Ward said of the band's 2023 tour. "And it's kind of getting Cold back on the map. In 2019, we started up again, then COVID happened. Year of the Spider is giving us the avenue to do that."
Playing songs from Year of the Spider isn't unusual – "I don't think there's a song on the record that we haven't played live," Ward said. But Cold never played the album from start to finish in the two decades since it was released. And they actually won't do so on the tour. A couple piano versions of songs, including "Black Sunday," will disrupt the sequencing. But beyond that, the songs will be played in the order in which they appear on the album. "We know the songs, of course. We wrote them," Ward said. "We have new guitarists (Ed Cuozzo and Angelo Maruzzelli) who have been in their rooms the last three months learning every one of those songs. Now they're working to get the right sounds to sound like the record. It's going to be fun."
"The whole nostalgia part of it is important, too," Ward said. "It's just going back to an amazing time. I'm just happy to revisit all those songs and play them again, it's so meaningful to me. Year of the Spider was the first record where every song was personal. The narrative of the songs is there for people to see. That's the first album where I did that and it had an impact."
The show, however, won't just be Year of the Spider, which will make up the first of the band's two sets each night. "We're going to come back and play songs off the other records all the fans like," Ward said. "It's basically everyone's favorite songs on tour. We can't do them all. We'd have to play three hours to do all of them. It would be nice to do 2 ½ hours like The Rolling Stones do. But we're doing five or six shows a week compared to two. Just for the voice alone we can't do that."
Ward, a Jacksonville, Fla. native who now lives in Kansas City, was banging around in his garage during the pre-tour interview, getting gear ready to be taken to Pennsylvania for rehearsals, just part of the work he has to do to get his band on tour.
"I pretty much do everything myself now," Ward said. "We got rid of management a few years ago. For a band like Cold, that just makes it more affordable. I've been doing it for 25 years. It's still very stressful. Getting ready to go up to Pennsylvania for rehearsals, it's always a nightmare every day." But Ward was happy to be living that nightmare and looking forward to the tour that, he hopes, will bring Cold back from the significant pandemic setback that derailed the band's anticipated return with The Things We Can't Stop, the first Cold album in eight years.
"We had a brand new record come out in November 2019," Ward said. "We were able to tour on that for six weeks. We were going back out in the spring. COVID happened and it killed the entire record. It was one of those events where you feel like the whole world is aimed at you. Luckily Ben (Burnley) from Breaking Benjamin hit me up right before COVID happened and we were able to do the song," said Ward, who added his vocals to the said Breaking Benjamin song, "Far Away." "Fortunately, that song went to No. 1 (at mainstream rock) and carried us on and gave us some kind of momentum though that year. Ben saved my life right there."
The life-saving song grew out of an unexpected Cold performance in 2019. The band was in Pennsylvania getting ready for the 2019 tour when Burnley called Ward asking if Cold would play their 2000 single, "Just Got Wicked," during a Breaking Benjamin show at a nearby amphitheater in Scranton. "I was like 'No way. We haven't played in eight years. We can't get up and play in front of 18,000 fans with no rehearsal,'" Ward said. "The rest of the guys were like 'We should do it.' I slept on it, woke up the next morning, and it was 'Are we doing this? Let's go.'"
"We drove down the mountain, got up and played the song, and Ben sang with us. It was a dope experience," Ward said. "That was the first time Cold came back. It was pretty cool Ben let Cold walk on stage and play a song in the middle of their show." Now the rockers -- who were discovered by Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst in 1997 and had two successive gold albums in the early 2000s, (with the single "Stupid Girl," from Year of the Spider giving the band a multi-chart rock hit during that era) -- are trying to push forward once again. But this is a far different musical era that finds Ward communicating with Cold's fans in a far different manner than two decades ago.
"We were doing a promo video for this tour and the director dragged out this Year of the Spider DVD." Ward said. "I was on it talking about how the fans would send us letters. It's funny looking back on it now, with the internet and social media. I'd get bags of letters from people and I'd sit there at night and read them and maybe respond to a few of them. The thing I like about social media is you can get immediate response from the fans and respond to them." In fact, Ward said he's on social media communicating with fans while he's working to set up tours, arrange production, and transportation and keep Cold up and running.
"We've never been a giant band. We've always just been able to keep going,' he said. We're still able to make enough money to have a decent living. I don't have any delusions of grandeur. We get to go out there and play for our fans. That's all I ever wanted to do and to be honest, now it's the only thing I can do."
Cold is coming to Erie to play a show at Basement Transmissions (145 W. 11th St.) on Saturday, May 27th at 6 p.m. The show is being presented by Heel Heat Productions and will feature opening bands Divide The Fall, Awake For Days, Sygnal To Noise, and Gelatin Skeleton. Tickets are $20 in advance and special packages are available. Visit COLDARMY.com for more information.