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COLD // “I’ve never retired a song before, but ‘Stupid Girl’ did what it needed to do”

The chances are good that if you’d asked Cold’s Scooter Ward about the band’s touring plans for 2024, they likely wouldn’t have included Australia.

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After all, it’s been almost 40 years since he began playing music, with Cold’s first visit to Aussie shores only taking place this year.

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The reason for these upcoming dates is an anniversary celebration of Cold’s breakthrough album, 2003’s Year Of The Spider. Undeniably the band’s peak commercial success, the record debuted at number three on the US charts, and went Gold within two years of its release. Thanks to tracks like Stupid Girl, Suffocate, and Gone Away, it seemed like Cold were the talk of the town. 

“After it came out, that record definitely set us up in a bigger world of music,” frontman Scooter Ward remembers from a tour bus. “We started doing all the late night talk shows and bigger events like that. 

“But it was riding off the 13 Ways To Bleed On Stage album which was successful as well,” he adds. “So, it kind of just all was a moment in time that had a lot of momentum.”

By the time Cold released their 2003 record, they’d been darlings of the post-grunge world for a few years. Having started in 1986 as Grundig, they changed their name in 1995 to Diablo, and after renaming themselves Cold in 1996, they caught the attention of Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst, who signed them to a major label deal.

A self-titled debut arrived in 1998, and 2000’s 13 Ways To Bleed On Stage proved somewhat more successful, but the feeling that pervaded the group was one that indicated big things were on the way.

“We kind of knew that was going to happen,” Ward notes. “With the response to 13 Ways To Bleed On Stage, and fans just starting to really get a grasp on what we were, and show selling out all that stuff. I think the success was kind of an inevitable thing – as long as we made a good record.”

As a result, Ward ended up spending a lot more time with the composition process than usual, even going so far as to take a few weeks in a tropical paradise – a world removed from his band’s name – to perfect the album.

“I remember the record label calling me and saying, ‘Why don’t you go off and see if you want to revamp some of the songs or rewrite them?’,” he remembers. “They go, ‘Where would you like to go? What about Hawaii?’

“I say, ‘Sure, let’s go to Hawaii and do that’,” he adds. “I think I spent three weeks there, trying to write the record, and it came out perfectly.”

Despite the success that would follow Cold after the release of the record, Ward doesn’t exactly view the commercial performance of his band as the best metric by which to gauge their impact within the music industry. For him, it was how the songs connected with fans.

“My idea of success goes as far as the effect that we have on fans with our music and stuff like that, not really as far as album sales or radio play or anything like that,” he notes.

It’s been a goal, a dream for us to come and play Australia
[ Scooter Ward, Cold ]

“However, the day that that record came out, I remember the Billboard chart was, 50 Cent at number one, Marilyn Manson at number two, and Cold number three,” he remembers. “So that was a moment for me where I called my parents and I was like, ‘Holy shit, this just happened’. So that was pretty special.”

Following the release of Year Of The Spider, Cold took two years to return with A Different Kind Of Pain. The response was relatively muted, and by November 2006, Cold had formally split. 

A reunion would take place in 2008, and new material would begin to arrive by way of a new album three years later. 2019 would bring with it their sixth album, The Things We Can’t Stop, though newer material had since been postponed due to the current anniversary tour.

The tour sees Cold touring with industrial contemporaries Orgy, who share a somewhat similar story. Discovered by Korn’s Jonathan Davis, their major label signing resulted in the album Candyass, which was bolstered by their cover of New Order’s Blue Monday.

Cold and Orgy have been touring the US together in support of their respective album anniversaries, and in October, the tour will extend to Australia for three shows in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.

For Ward, these shows have been a long time coming, and mark the first time in decades the group have extended their touring sights outside of the US.

“We toured the UK and Europe back in the late ‘90s, but with the rise of Year Of The Spider, the label just wanted to just focus solely on America, for some reason, at that time,” he remembers. “And it was bothersome to me, because I wanted to get over there and play again. 

“But it’s expensive, it has to be calculated and set up correctly to go overseas and do that, so we’ve been trying, and we’ve been hoping to get over to Australia our whole career,” he adds. “It’s been a goal, a dream for us to come and play Australia.”

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Though Cold have never been to Australia previously, fans lucky enough to witness them live may realise one notable thing about their live shows, and the occasional absence of Stupid Girl. Much like how Radiohead turned their back on Creep and refused to play their biggest hit, the sporadic presence of Stupid Girl seems to suggest something of a love/hate relationship with the track.

“We retired that song, actually. I’ve never retired a song before, but Stupid Girl did what it needed to do,” Ward explains. “Rivers Cuomo from Weezer wrote that song with me, and I had written a riff that was a little different than other Cold songs, so I was having a problem with it.

“So Rivers came in and wanted to help out,” he adds. “It was one of his first things that he started working on with other artists. Just to have him there was a huge pleasure, I love him so much, and I’m thankful for all of that, however it’s not a standard Cold song.”

Indeed, fans who listen through the Cold discography may see Stupid Girl stand out as something a little bit more mainstream than the rest of their discography. However, while many have come to love it as their most prominent song, it’s not a feeling shared by Ward.

“For me to deliver that song live is kind of hard, especially when we’re going through all the emotions of the set,” he explains. “It’s an ebb and a flow through a full show and it’s a series of emotions that happen, and then to sing a more of a poppy song like that, it kind of breaks it up.

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“It’s fun, it’s cool, and everybody sings along and gets into it and it was fun but I feel that after the Year Of The Spider tour we’re definitely retiring it,” he adds. “We’re obviously going to go ahead and do it for the three shows in Australia because it is a part of that record, and we’re playing that record in its entirety, but Australia will probably be the last time we play that song.”

While Australian fans can look forward to seeing Cold deliver an array of rarely-performed album cuts from the record as part of the upcoming tour, so too can they expect to be treated to the interplay of emotion and focused, powerful rock of the band’s set.

This September will also see Cold entering the studio to work on their first new album in five years, ideally with a projected release date of mid-2025.

“The band is amazing, we have newer people, and our bass player Lindsay Manfredi has been with me since like 2014,” Ward explains. “In the last four years, we’ve gotten three members from one of my favourite bands, University Drive, which is just a cool indie band from Pennsylvania that we brought out on tour with us. 

“They’re just all beautiful people and super talented musicians, and I’m thankful to be out there still doing what we’re doing.”

With new material in the works, the Year Of The Spider tour marking their first-ever trip to Australia, and a positive feeling throughout the band, it’s quite possible this won’t be the only time Aussie fans will get a chance to see the band on local shores.

“I hope we come there, play, have success, have a good time with everyone, everyone feels it, and we’re able to come back and continue going out of there,” Ward concludes.

COLD play with ORGY at the following dates:

Friday 25th October // Max Watts // Melbourne
Saturday 26th October // Metro Theatre // Sydney
Sunday 27th October // The Triffid // Brisbane

Tickets available here.

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