Kickstarter for album “Mountain” to help self fund “Ways”

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

A letter to The Cold Stares Fans…

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-

God bless-
TCS

Early 2017 – New album and tours!

Early 2017 The Cold Stares will release our Small Stone Records album “HEAD BENT”. The track listing has been finalized, and the album art work will be posted in the next week. Very proud of the record, our relationship with SS, and excited about all the things happening in 2017 for the band. The album will be available on vinyl as well as digital and CD. A national tour as well as a European tour is in the works. You will also find us at SXSW 2017.

HEAD BENT

1-John
2-Head Bent
3-Kings
4-Neighbor Blues
5-Stuck in a Rut
6-Ball and Twine
7-God and Country
9-Price to Pay
10-Caught in the Weather
11-One Way Outta Here

The Southern EP – Background and Lyrics for Cold Black Water

Leading up to the release of our new EP “The Southern” next week I’m going to post the lyrics to each song on the album with an explanation and a little background how each song originated. You guys always ask at shows where some of the songs come from, so hopefully this is something you’ll enjoy. The first song is “Cold Black Water” the third track on “The Southern”. CT

COLD BLACK WATER
I wrote this song specifically about Jeff Buckley. During the time that my music persona really formed, Buckley was a huge influence on me. Everyone now debates on Jeff’s greatness, but to me it’s not as simple as one or two songs, or his voice, or his arrangements. Jeff Buckley’s greatness was the intangible thing that makes all artists great. It’s the thing that can’t be explained, but can be felt when you hear or see their work, or soak up when you are around them. Tim Buckley, Jeff’s father died around the same age as Jeff which is very ironic. And then the way Jeff died, in the Mississippi river, clothes on, in a moment of freedom when he decided to wade in to the water that night, that longing to push it, risk it, live it, like I’ve waded into trouble so many times in my life but somehow by the grace of God emerged. Of course Jeff didn’t. And we’ll never know what he might have become. But for those of us that were impacted by his work, he is a Robert Johnson, Jim Morrison type figure. Enigmatic. Mysterious. But in the end human. As soon as I picked through the opening riff to this song in my living room, I saw that water surrounding Jeff, the darkness of the current, the moon above him, as the world around him was touting him as the savior of rock music, what the moment felt like to fade into that murky water. Wrote the song in one long poem in the moments following.

Here are the lyrics, as well as some explanations in parenthesis.

Cold Black Water

Don’t you call my name Peter don’t you dare (Matthew 16:9 )
I been treading in the water and a fever running through my head
They say I was the chosen one who’d make it all alright (Jeff’s critical acclaim)
But I’m sinking in the Cold Black Water down here tonight. (drowning)

I was just trying to find a place I could rest my shoes
Quarter mile off of Beale I could still hear them sing them blues (Beale street where Jeff was found in the Mississippi river)
Bottle of wine singing hallelujah right across my lips (Jeff’s version of “Hallelujah” is still daily discussed, and his love for wine was known)
Current of the ole Mississippi dancing at my hips

Swing low, low brother won’t you drag that line (metaphor for them dragging the river for Jeff’s body)
Swing low low never know just what you’ll find
Every child of God gotta answer when it comes his time (we are all going to die, quicker you wrap your head around that, the better you’ll start to live)

Don’t you shed no tears for me on that muddy ground
Don’t you waste no wine for me when they lay me down
Don’t you stray down in that water just to see my face
Come up baptized trying just to find some grace (Grace was Jeff’s critically acclaimed masterpiece album)

Swing low, low brother won’t you drag that line
Swing low low never know just what you’ll find
Every child of God gotta answer when it comes his time

Buckley_found

Buckley_missing

Out in Public

More and more we are getting stopped in public by folks we don’t know that recognize us and come up and just want to tell us how much they are into what we are doing.
Just wanted to thank each and every one of you that are on this page for the time you take out of your busy lives to listen to our music, come see us live, or share our music with someone else. It is very humbling, and rewarding to see how our music can affect someone else’s world. This is “our” band, meaning Brian, myself, and every one of you who has helped get the word out about The Cold Stares. Whatever talent we have, we give God the glory for that, whatever success we have- have to credit every one of you guys as well- Thank You All, and please don’t ever give up on rock and roll- CT

New EP “The Southern” release date – September 8th

September 8th 2016 The Cold Stares will release their 4th release “The Southern”. The track listing will be
1- Friend of Mine
2- Child of God
3- Cold Black Water
4- The River
There will be a single and video sometime in September as well- and a CD release party on September 10th at Mojo’s in Evansville. Anyone showing up to the release party with a “animalpolooza” Burdette park wristband or ticket will have free cover that night. We were asked to play Parksfest on September 10th, and choose for a number of reasons not to be associated with the event. We certainly feel like the folks in Evansville deserve rock and roll, and we plan on providing it September 10th- if you get your family out please support a worthy cause at the Animalpolooza, and then come join us at Mojo’s that night for the opportunity to get “The Southern” and a Cold Stares show.
The “House” picture was a very close 2nd so we’ve decided to incorporate it on the back cover of the EP as well. Thank you all so much and please share with your friends. SEPTEMBER 8th 2016- THE COLD STARES PRESENTS “THE SOUTHERN”

thesoutherncover

Colds Stares exciting news and updates!

Ok. Gonna drop a bit of news on you fine Cold Stares folks.
UPDATE:
Original plan was to have our first Small Stone label release turned in by first of July, and to be released end of September. Due to some scheduling issues, and us having to complete some projects that some of you are now seeing on TV, we were delayed. For that reason we have decided with Small Stone to push the release back to January. Although the album is completed, with distribution, some new found opportunities and a possible European tour in the spring- it makes a lot more sense for us career wise to hold on a few months further for a Jan 2017 release. Crazy difficult to sit on it that long without you guys hearing, but seems legally it’s what we have to do as well.
The good news for our fans-
In the process of recording the Small Stone records album we also cut a group of songs where we really pushed our southern roots. A group of four songs exists that we really love and have chosen to release them together as an EP titled “The Southern” first of September. Hopefully this will tie you guys over until January’s full length label release.
“The Southern” will not be B sides or out takes, but rather a group of songs that just uniquely fit together and was separate from the direction we were going for the SS album. We have long wanted to do a release that showed our more rootsy electric side. How will it sound? I would describe it as a bit of CCR, a touch of Steve Earle, some Free maybe, but definitely Cold Stares.
Artwork and release date will post this week, and we will announce a string of tour dates to support “Dark Dark Blue” and “The Southern” throughout the late summer/fall- winter 2016.
With each release I think we continue to find ways to be more pleased with our art, and we also find ways to express better who we are through our art. “The Southern” is no exception, and once again we feel it will be our finest work to date. It means something to us both personally in who we are, and where we’ve come from. We plan to release a single and video from “The Southern” in late August.
God Bless you all, and thank you for sharing the ride. We are taking a turn south for awhile, hope you enjoy the scenery-
TCS

The Cold Stares – King’s Video release!!!

The Cold Stares – King’s Video!

Walked all the way to Rome, with a razor and a comb. When no one did suspect I took my blade to Caesar’s neck. Then I took me a Roman girl, and I set out to rule the world. I set all my women free, came back to Tennessee.