From the heart…

I’ve been meaning to post this for about two weeks, and between the Vegas shooting, Petty dying and just so much heaviness I’ve had to disconnect from any emotion just to get through the day. Please excuse typos etc. Tough to write this.
I had my cancer scans and testing in Vanderbilt a couple weeks ago and all was clear. That puts me at 5 years, which means I can cut back to once a year checkup. 5 years was the goal date for me, at a time when I was just thinking how to survive. I knew the numbers looked better if you made it to 5 years. I can’t even describe how heavy it is for me to type this, but it seemed that my reports helped some of you that needed to hear a good word, and I promised God I would- so here I am. I can’t possible explain how it feels to even verbalize that I am 5 years out.

When I got sick, the diagnosis was not good. I was blessed that one of my friends, Cold Stares fans, was working at Vandy and got me in to see an amazing oncologist in a week- when I had been told when I called -6 months. I was blessed enough to get into a trial for a new type of chemo. I was excited like I had won the lottery, trusting that God had put me there. That was until the Dr. told me that I was in a group that would get 3x times the maximum dose. Still heavy to type and discuss. Over months of treatment I would be informed of other people in the trial dying from their bodies not being able to handle it. I would have to sign a waiver to continue. Each time I did I pictured being on a war field, and my fellow soldiers falling beside me, and just trying to push on towards the enemy. After my 5th round my body went into shock at the hospital and the room went black. I pleaded with my dr. to try once more and a week later they doped me up on Benadryl and I got one more round of chemo in. In my mind I had convinced myself that if I got that round I could beat it. This coincided with radiation that has left my right shoulder a wreck, 2 surgeries to remove lymph nodes. Thinking about it now, well I can’t really think about it- but can only say I turned it all over to God, prepared to die, but left it in his hands. I made some promises to him -and I am determined to keep them.

People will call me a survivor and it always makes me uneasy. I didn’t fight any more, or any harder than any of my friends and family that I have lost to cancer. We all fight the fight the best we can. Those that pass, I guess we will understand why someday, but not on this earth. I don’t know why I have survived, all I can tell you is that I am humbled. I am grateful. I am conscious everyday of those that didn’t survive. My friend Steve, Marty, Scott, my good friend Billy Block who was so kind to me during my battle only to have his cancer to return two years later. All my friends I made at treatment that just didn’t show up the next round. I can’t tell you, can’t even start to explain the feeling that leaves you with. What I can tell you is the lesson it teaches you about life. And each day, each moment I push towards something I have those people in mind, and live life to the fullest in their memory.

I’m not here to preach and convert folks. But I can tell you without any hesitation that I would not have physically and mentally been able to go through what I did without my savior Jesus Christ. I would be a fool not to tell you that. If you don’t believe in God, I have a strong feeling you’ve never looked death in the eyes. Because when you do, your body, your soul, cries out to a maker for help. For those of you that have that relationship prior to facing death, you know you have a comforter and strength giver on standby. I was fortunate that I did.
Prior to cancer, I really thought I was a risk taker, and lived life to the fullest most of the time. I can’t tell you how differently I look back on things after cancer. So many squandered moments, so many wasted days, so many things unsaid, undone. You may think because of what I have been through I am unlucky. I am not. I am blessed. Because each day, each moment now I savor. Nothing is taken for granted. Ever.

My advice to you, my hope for each one of you is that you LIVE. Live for all those that cannot.
Since I was diagnosed-

I lost a record deal. I fought back and got a record deal. I bought a guitar I shouldn’t. I raced a Porsche through the Hollywood hills. I took my best friend on a trip to LA and did everything two 15 year wanna be rock stars ever dreamed of doing. The Whiskey, the Rainbow. I saw the beach in Venice. I recorded an album in a Hollywood mansion. I sold the safe comfortable car and bought the hot rod I wanted. I apologized to anyone I thought I had wronged. I sent my dad to the tailor and bought him a couple suits. Just because. I bought a motorcycle and rode everyday I was strong enough to ride during chemo. I played New York. Saw Times Square. Got out of unhealthy relationships. I married the love of my life, who helped save my life. I spent Halloween in St. Augustine. I bought my friends things I couldn’t afford. I helped other folks that were in need. I played as many benefits as I could. I helped build a church in eastern KY where I was born. I went on a mission trip. I stayed up too late watching movies that I said I would see but hadn’t. Toured across the country. Stood over Robert Johnson’s grave. Sat on the shore of the Mississippi River where Jeff Buckley drown. I gave up working an 9-5 to teach guitar lessons, so that each day I could have a guitar in my hands and see the joy music brings in other people lives. I am not trying to brag, please don’t take it that way- I am trying to inspire. I stopped second guessing and started truly living. I made mistakes, lots of them, but instead of destroying myself over them I learned to ask for forgiveness and forgive myself. I made and make decisions like today could be my last day.

What I’m saying to you is- I choose to live like there may not be a next week. Because there may not. Those folks in Vegas, they had no clue. When I woke up from surgery and the dr. said I had cancer, I had NO clue that was coming- especially while we were in talks with record labels after fighting my whole life to get to that point. It’s the last thing I thought I would hear. But it is what it is.

For all of you that supported me during this fight, God bless you and thank you. I pray everyday that somehow I a blessing to one of you and somehow inspire you to LIVE in a way you may not have. Take risks. Open your eyes, your senses. Take nothing for granted. Stop caring what anyone else thinks. Be thankful. LIVE.

I had a 64 year old man come up to me after our set in Memphis Sunday night and tell me after ten year remission he was told last week he had cancer now spread throughout his organs and spine. I asked him what he was doing, and he looked me in the eyes and said “two days in Nashville, two in Memphis and 4 in New Orleans, I’m from up north and always wanted to see the south.” He said his wife asked him why he got up at 6am now that he’s retired, and he said “because I can.” You may look at my life and wonder why I may make a certain choice, same reason- because I can.

Now back to working this record and seeing what is possible in the rest of my life.

Today I let this go as much as I am able. I continue to pray for strength and wisdom each day for all that battle this disease.

God bless you. Love you all.

XM Radio Rotation Help Needed!

Hey folks! We need your help. We just got word that a couple of the tracks from the album might make into rotation on some great XM Radio stations. We are lucky enough that the album showcases both our bluesy side, and our hard rock side as well. Our song “Caught in the Weather” should be appearing on Bluesville, ch 74. We would love to have your support in helping us by calling them, or emailing them and requesting it. Their info is: 1-877-642-5837 phone, and for email.

If you are a fan of more of the hard rock side of things, please give Octane a ring or email at : 1-888-362-8263 (888-3-OCTANE), or and request “Head Bent” by The Cold Stares.
Thank you all so much in advance. We have done everything with this record and tour grass roots and would love to continue doing it that way. Message us with any feedback you get!

The Cold Stares “Head Bent” is on Spotify playlist ‘Dirty Rock’

Some really exciting and unexpected news today. The title track to our new album “Head Bent” was added to Spotify’s killer playlist “Dirty Rock”. So now we have two songs from the album in two huge playlists, on the opposite of the spectrum musically from each other. These playlists have really taken the place of big radio, and charts in that they really put bands on the map. If you are on Spotify please follow the playlist and share with your friends. We are in some killer company.…/…/playlist/37i9dQZF1DWY6vTWIdZ54A

head bent dirty rock on spotify

Love from Moscow…

Recyclable Sounds

Great review of “Head Bent” from our brothers in Moscow. Translated below-

The Cold Stares “Head Bent” (2017)
June 16, its first release in 2017, the year introduced a well-known independent rekod-label from Detroit Small Stone Recordings. CD and vinyl released a new full-length album THE COLD STARES from Nashville, the capital of Tennessee.
The Cold Stares
THE COLD STARES fans of swamp-blues, neo-hardcore and stoner music should be well acquainted. Starting in 2008, the duo Chris Tapp (vocals, guitars, keyboards) and Brian Mullins (drums, percussion) won prestigious contests, went to national tours, performed at leading TV channels, played at prestigious festivals, composed and recorded music … led Costly litigation with the powerful record companies with whom they once argued contracts. The discography of the group includes: the full-length album “A Cold Wet Night And A Howling Wind” (2014), EP minions “Resonator” (2015), “Look Over Yonder Hill” (2015), “Dark Dark Blue” (2016) and ” The Southern “(2016), as well as several singles. On physical media, the recordings of THE COLD STARES were issued in a very limited number, due to the copyright conflict. But the digital versions had considerable success: for example, only on Amazon the digital version of the debut album was purchased by more than 25 thousand people … With the release of the album “Head Bent” on Small Stone, the music of THE COLD STARES again became accessible to disk collectors after a rather long break.
The 37-minute album included 11 new songs, produced directly by the authors – only new material that can be freely published and reprinted. Stylistics of changes has not undergone – THE COLD STARES are played electrified-weighted blues-rock with strong influences of authentic delta blues and ruth-americans.
According to the main song writer of the duo Chris Tapp, careful preservation of the authentic spirit of root American music is the main task of the team. “From the very beginning we tried to create music that we ourselves wanted to listen to … its strength is that we play what is natural for us and what is natural in those parts where we come from …”
The Cold Stares
Lyrics in the songs THE COLD STARES is primary. It is written and performed in a narrative-chanting “swinging” vocal manner typical for the American South and has a tangible personal character (which, among other factors, is affected by the fact that Chris Tapp has been fighting cancer for several years already). Absence of falsehood and posturing, maximum openness and sincerity of the message is exactly what has long attracted listeners of different ages and tastes to the songs of the duo. Instrumental accompaniment is quite simple: a massive, energetic rhythmic bit-groove; A moving, hard guitar riff and an occasional background moaning of the organ in the background. There are things in the program of the album more dynamic (“Head Bent”), but more than those that can be called mid-tempo heavy-action fighters on the blues base, in some cases the most direct relation to the traditionally proto-think (“Neighbor Blues”). In some rooms, the duo evokes associations with the great hard bands at the turn of the 60-70s Led Zeppelin, Free, The Groundhogs, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Peter Green … (listen to “John”, “Price to Pay”, “Caught in the Weather” , “Ball and Twine”, “One Way Outta Here”).
The Cold Stares
The sound of THE COLD STARES is vintage-analog, garazhno-working, rough-rough, without any gloss and glamor … and very rich – it’s hard even to imagine that it’s all played by only two musicians (although with the current recording technology, you can literally do that Anything, there would be talent, taste and skill sound engineer). In many notes, the Nashville duo is compared to the commercially successful The Black Crowes … not without reason, although Chris Tapp and Brian Mullins have their own and song-rhetoric, and the performing zest that makes the songs of the band very special (which is the acoustic album ” Break My Fall “- alas the only thing on the album of this kind). Well … it remains only to congratulate the band and release the label with a decent album. I would like to think that this is only the beginning of a long and fruitful cooperation.

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