Couldn’t be more excited to announce that I’ll be officially playing Trussart guitars on this upcoming tour 18/19 and next album. James makes incredibly unique guitars and I’m stoked to be a part of a list of artists they endorse including heroes of mine like Bob Dylan, Keith Richards and Charlie Sexton. I’ll still be playing Collings guitars as well but the Trussart provides a unique voicing that I was looking for on these next recordings. I’ll try to post an interesting story next week of why this post took so long after the announcement. Fairly interesting story. Please check out Trussart’s amazing guitars here- -CT
So we want to officially say THANK YOU to every single person that pitched in with the “Mountain” album Kickstarter. It says a lot about the quality of fans, friends and family that we have. Looking through the lists the last couple of days, seeing names of folks that have been friends from our youth, family that always has our backs, or fans that want so bad for us to just catch a break. Very emotional for us. I can tell you this, those of you on this list- we will never forget your help- and wether it was $5 or $100, you are just as much a part of this album as we are now. We are humbled, and we are excited to show you what we are going to do with this album. Details on the track listing, some new merch designs, and some other news will be out in the next few weeks. God bless you, and thank you for doing your part in keeping rock and roll alive, now it’s our turn to put your investment to work— TCS
Please check out our Kickstarter for “Mountain”, share and tag your friends. And thank you very much for playing a role in Cold Stares history- TCS
A tale of two records, publishing rights, and the struggles of a roots rock band in 2018.
As we began to discuss our next record which would have been titled “Ways” we decided together to pass on the record label offers we had and try to self fund the album in an attempt keep our music publishing this time. For those of you that don’t know when you see our music on a Monster Energy commercial, ESPN or a show on TNT, the money made from those performances actually go back to the record company instead of the artist.
Every record deal offer out there for us at the moment had the record label holding our publishing. Our last record deal the record label held our publishing. At this point in our career we were no longer willing to give that up, and artists shouldn’t have to. It’s hard enough to be a rock band out there right now, and for us to sustain our career we have to hold our licensing. So we decided to try to fund our record with our fans.
Here’s the dilemma. To properly record, produce, and promote “WAYS” we needed to raise around 20k. We have been really struggling on asking our fans to contribute that kind of money. We are a working class band, and we know a lot of our fans are blue collar working folks and to be honest it just felt a bit heavy to us. We built a kickstarter and then mulled for weeks over a discussion on what to do. We lost a lot of sleep, but through a lot of prayer and meditation we came to an answer.
What we decided. We decided we wanted to try to pay for the “WAYS” album ourselves. But how could we do that? Release “MOUNTAIN”.
Backstory- In the beginning of 2016 I was a bit over 2 years out cancer free. At that point I wasn’t for sure what life held ahead, but I knew my goal was to just live and make it to the goal we set with my doctors, five years. I also knew a lot of my friends that had gone through treatment with me had lost their battles. Not knowing exactly what we might have to deal with in the near future, we wanted to write and record everything I could so that if something happened to me I would leave a musical legacy behind for The Cold Stares. So we went in the studio with Greg Pearce and recorded “Dark Dark Blue”, and then “The Southern”. Both of these EP’s were released in 2016 with ZERO PR budget, zero buzz behind them. We also released some singles “Stickemup”, “Sleeping with Lions” and our version of the Allman’s classic “Whipping Post”. What we thought at the time, was that later when we got more well known our new fans would find these older EP’s. What we didn’t understand and what we have learned over the years is that without some PR budget behind ANY release- no one will hear or find it. No one is exactly pushing rock music onto the front page of Spotify or iTunes these days to be seen if you haven’t noticed. Those EP’s were very difficult to find online and most of these songs have never been heard outside of our close immediate fan base. So what we decided to do was take that group of songs, along with a few others our fans had never heard, remix and master them together and release as one album “Mountain”.
This group of 15 songs, all written around the same time, share a common theme and feel and we have always felt that they are just too important not to be presented correctly. Releasing “Mountain” will do a couple things, it will give these songs an opportunity to be heard, give our old fans a few new songs and remasters, and it will also give us an avenue to raise money for our February release “Ways”. We felt much better about raising the money with our fans in this fashion and we think it’s the proper way to move forward.
With your help we can meet or exceed our goal of 5k that will allow us to release “Mountain” and have a reasonable PR budget to get “Mountain” heard. Sales from “Mountain” and any additional money that might be possibly raised from this campaign will go to the funding of “Ways”. Any money we might be short of for “Ways” we will be funding ourselves. We honestly feel that “Mountain” will be our best album release to date, and when we look at the song listing I can’t say any other release comes close to summing up who we are musically. “Mountain” symbolically means so many different things to us, but more than anything what we’ve overcome, on our terms to be here with you. Thank you for your support in getting us here, and beyond. God Bless-
THE COLD STARES
So this happened this weekend. Our track “Break My Fall” slipped over a million streams on Spotify alone. I get messages from around the world weekly about this song and cannot tell you how much it means to me in this day and age, that a song like this connects with so many of you. We wanted to do a giveaway as part of a thank you. We will draw a name from anyone sharing this post tomorrow morning at 9am and that person will receive an autographed Cold Stares CD or Poster, your choice in the mail this week. Many of you have asked about a tuning/tab break down of #breakmyfall so I’ll also put together a video for you guys as well this week. Please continue to add #breakmyfall to your Spotify playlists and thank you all so much-
Announcement- We learned over the weekend that The Cold Stares song “Sleeping with Lions” has been licensed for a spot on ESPN that will begin to air in August. Please share with your friends and add #sleepingwithlions to your Spotify playlists
Waited all weekend to announce, and just didn’t want to detract any focus from honoring our soldiers. We are very excited to continue to land these spots-
NEED YOUR SUGGESTIONS- AND GOOD NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT-
Ok folks. A bit of a heads up on the WAYS album project and our Kickstarter fund raiser. When we posted about the project a couple of weeks ago we got an outpouring of support and interest in the project. Lucky enough for us, one person that we caught the interest of was our friend Mark Needham (Fleetwood Mac, Imagine Dragons, The Killers). Can’t tell you what how much Mark has done to try to help get us where we are. We spoke to Mark after the announcement and to our surprise he has offered to engineer and help us produce the album. He knows how important this record is, and is determined to help us make “THE” record we need to make. Mark obviously brings a ton of validity into the project. This part of the project is moving from Memphis to Marks Studio in Nashville. The acoustic work will be done in Sante Fe, New Mexico as planned. We are shooting to launch the Kickstarter May 15th, our goal is 20k. This will allow us to record the album, master it, produce the physical cd/vinyl, and our first actual budget to promote the album. Everything we’ve done so far in our career has been 100% word of mouth, part of the project will allocate some money towards PR so that people can actually hear about our new album. Amazing right? This still leaves part of the budget to be covered by the band, but this will give us enough steam to compete with the labels and actually get a rock and roll album in front of some people again.
Questions for our fans. Here’s a list of SOME of the items we are including in the kickstarter campaign that will last 30 days. IS there something else you guys would like to see offered that would help raise the money?
1-Obviously signed cds, vinyl, t-shirts, posters.
2-House concerts anywhere in the continental US. YES we are actually doing this as part of it, and yes if you meet the contribution we’ll bring the rock and roll.
3-Naming a song on the album. (We are reserving one song, and yes- one lucky fan contributor will name it.)
4-Naming our record label. (ONE fan contributor will actually be the one to name our label that our first release will be on, and hopefully some other great albums to come.)
5-Framed WAYS vinyl album presentation boxes for wall art.
6-WAYS coffee table book with images from the making of the album
7-Liner note mentions of some of our contributors
What else? Before we launch this, which is really for the fans, by the fans, we’d love to hear your feedback. Nothing is off the table if you guys are willing to contribute to helping us do this without outside help. Love to hear your suggestions- Reach us by email – email@example.com or on Facebook – The Cold Stares
I was on a school field trip, mall in Lexington KY when I saw the Guns and Roses appetite album and bought it for the cover. I remember us sharing headphones on the back of the bus listening to the cassette, something completely different than I’d ever heard. I thought we were the first kids to ever hear it, hadn’t even seen it on MTV yet. One of the most amazing things about our career is the shows we’ve played with our heroes. Money can never replace stories. Can’t tell you how cool it is to share the stage with @officialduffmckagan this Saturday night in Whitesburg. If you don’t have tickets yet- get them. One of the best albums of the last few years easily Walking Papers so buy it now. And get –
The Cold Stares on Rock Savages Podcast. Discussing the new album, record deals, Clutch, music biz. Recorded after an 8 hour drive and a bit road worn. Rock and roll….
A LETTER TO OUR FANS-
The Cold Stares last album “Head Bent” came out June of 2017 on Small Stone Records as most of you know. We’ve had some amazing success with it, including “Break My Fall” and “Head Bent” entering Spotify’s curator playlists. We acquired a new booking agency. We’ve done some amazing shows in the last year with a lot of globally known rock bands and heroes of ours. We recently had our song “Head Bent” featured in Monster Energy’s new film/commercial. We now have a global fan base that we interact with weekly, and have shipped and sold vinyl literally around the whole world. Things are great for The Cold Stares, and in no small part to you guys- our fans that are reading this.
Around Christmas we started thinking about, and writing for the next album. We knew around June we would be a year into the album cycle and would want to put something out after that. We got confirmation from our label that they were interested in putting out another album with us, and we discussed signing with some other record labels. After much discussion, thoughts and prayers we’ve made up our mind on our immediate path forward.
With the current musical landscape, artists really only make money a couple of ways. Streaming is one. Here’s the math for you. About every million streams produce about 5k. It’s insanely hard to make any real money by streaming. We all do it, it is the nature of the beast now, we are not complaining, we are explaining. Good and bad things about streaming, one is that we can see that around 15,000 Brazilians stream our music monthly.
The second way an artist makes money is playing shows and touring. Most major labels now have what they call “360” deals, which mean when you sign a deal with them the label collects money on ALL aspects of your career, including touring, merchandise sales, and publishing. Which means literally you can go on tour, make thousands of dollars, but after incurring the touring costs, come home owing the record company money.
The last way I’ll mention that an artist makes money these days is publishing/licensing. This is a huge deal to us. This is when TNT pays us to use our song “Sleeping with Lions” for their show “Animal Kingdom”. Or Monster Energy pays us to use “Head Bent” for their commercial. This revenue stream is the largest now for most artists, and a lot of us use this money to fund tours, record records and continue careers. Sadly, now almost all record company deals have the record label keeping the publishing for the recorded songs.
Another thing that record companies can do is decide what kind of album you will record, and what songs will obviously be on it. Which means, they can tell you not to have a song like “Jesus Brother James” on the same album with another religious themed track. Or, for arguments sake, could say the same about “Neighbor Blues” and “John”. At this point in our career, I’m personally not willing to have anyone decide that. And again, let’s be honest here- if it’s a million dollar deal we can have that discussion because we are trying to feed our families- but if it’s 50k and the label keeps all publishing, no- you don’t have the right to tell me what kind of artist The Cold Stares will be. Luckily we had none of those issues with Small Stone records and they were amazing on letting us put out the record we wanted. Our decision for the next album not to be on Small Stone records has nothing to do with that, nor do we have ANY complaints about SS regarding artistry.
However, for the following reasons described above we have decided to continue with our OWN label and fund with record with ourselves and with our fans. We will be starting a kickstarter in the following month that will detail out our plans for the next album, with some amazing incentives for our fans, friends and families to help us and contribute and do this on our terms. This will allow us to keep the publishing rights for OUR own songs, keep the budget from being over-bloated. It will allow us to personally hire the team of people we want working with us to record and promote the album, and it will allow us to make the record we want to on our terms with our fans.
What we can tell you now.
The album will be called WAYS. It will be recorded in two halves. The first half of the album will be recorded in Memphis and Mississippi and this half will feature blues-rockers and show the influence that this area has had on us in the last ten years. The second half of the album will be written and recorded in the southwest desert this summer and will feature acoustic based western themed story songs in the vein of “Break My Fall”. The second side of the album will showcase this side of the band that has been a huge part of our success as well. We will have a videographer with us for the entire recording of the album, which will produce a documentary as well as videos from the entire recording process which will be included for all our contributors.
We will have vinyl of the album, world wide distribution, and a larger press and PR presence than all of our other projects combined.
We are very grateful for all of the support we have received over the years from you all. When we look back on the things we’ve accomplished from winning the Hard Rock contest, to the battles with lawyers and labels, cancer, overcoming and retaining our identity, it’s amazing to us. From the Duck Inn to the Viper Room, to the Delta, it’s been an amazing journey for us. We are aware of who we are as a band, where we come from, who put us here, where we want to get to, and the album we need to make to do so. “WAYS” WILL be that album. We have the best fans in the world, and we are very excited to share this process with you, including you, and for you. More details to come over the next month. See you on the road- Please share-