Cold started 2003 on a roll. After a five-year apprenticeship with fellow Florida nü-metalheads Limp Bizkit, the band was turning away from the chest-beating aggressiveness of that waning scene for a more radio-friendly (but no less angst-filled) approach. It worked: They scored a pair of hit singles (“Stupid Girl” and “Suffocate”) off the disc Year of the Spider and toured with Godsmack and Marilyn Manson, and their album went gold.
But the surge didn’t last. Despite strong radio support, Cold was dropped by Geffen soon after Year of the Spider was released. The band’s two guitarists and bassist left, leaving singer Scooter Ward and drummer Sam McCandless as the only remaining members of Cold. Ward’s drug and alcohol abuse worsened after he learned that his younger sister had cancer.
“Our lives really went south,” Ward says. “We woke up and everything was gone.”
Ward went into rehab (he says he’s been sober for a year and a half) and recruited guitarists Matt Loughran and Mike Booth and bassist Jeremy Marshall. The new lineup signed a deal with the Atlantic imprint Lava and decamped to Ward’s parents’ house in Jacksonville to write A Different Kind of Pain.
“We decided to write a record we’d like,” Ward says. “We decided to make a record that would make us feel better instead of all those songs with no hope.”
A Different Kind of Pain is still a moody, introspective album, not much removed from Year of the Spider or the work of other hard modern-rock acts such as Staind and 3 Doors Down. It suffers from a monotonous, relentlessly midtempo pace (see whether you can tell the difference between “Happens All the Time” and “When Heaven’s Not Far Away”) and an epic sense of self-importance, but its tone is subtly different from anything the band has done in the past. It’s not exactly hopeful or cheerful, but there is a sense that real human emotions, rather than standard-issue adolescent rage, were at work during its production. There’s even a hint of Coldplay in the piano part that opens “Tell Me Why.”
Between the recording of A Different Kind of Pain and its release, Ward’s sister’s cancer went into remission. The album made a solid debut on the Billboard charts at No. 26, and a headlining tour is just getting under way. “It’s all good,” Ward says. “I think we’re going to be OK. I feel good.”
Cold and special guests Smile Empty Soul play the Warehouse, 2548 S. First St., at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20. The doors open at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $10.
What is a Zito Fest? Well, to
understand that you must first understand what a Zito is. To his sister
Ruth, Brian Zimmerman, also known as Zito, was an inspiration who brought a
special something to all he touched. Bob Berning (“Cowboy” to
all you Suns of Circumstance fans), called Zito his best friend, starting
with the early heady days of the Suns and continuing through years spent
working together at the Illinois Department of Transportation. When Zito
died in a boating accident this summer, friends and family decided to
continue his legacy, the annual music festival he began in 1985. Zito Fest,
featuring the music of the Suns of Circumstance, lives on at the Curve Inn
(3219 S. Sixth St. Rd., Southern View, 217-529-5806) on Sunday, Sept. 17.
The shows begins around 2 p.m. and continues until it stops. Long live
Songwriter Bill Fowler has spent most of his adult life working as an inland-waterways towboater (try saying that three times in row). Now retired from the river, he’s pursuing a life in music. The Mississippi native performs original songs about life, love, and working the waterways at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, at the Great River Road Opry (Illinois River Road near Winchester, 217-945-6865, www.greatopry.com). At this special event, Fowler will record his country/folk compositions live with a great bunch of Jacksonville-area musicians.
The Rock Shop presents a Gibson Guitar Clinic with Chuck Yamek at Hoogland Center for the Arts (420 S. Sixth St.) at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15. All things Gibson will be discussed, demonstrated, divulged, determined, and otherwise dealt with. Budweiser is supplying libations, and you may register to win a Gibson Les Paul Standard. Get your free ticket at the Rock Shop (1815 W. Jefferson St., 217-546-8980).
Topping the list of cool new bands playing Springfield is the Tiffany Christopher Band (www.tiffanychristopher.com), appearing at Jazz Central Station (700 E. Adams St., 217-789-1530) around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16. The music begins with jazz-influenced folk songs written and sung by Christopher, supported by a diverse rock band topped off with tasty violin work. The band is hot and taking the Midwest by storm — see it up close while you still can.