Breaking down songs of Mountain, day one – “Sleeping with Lions”

We are 9 days away from the release of “Mountain” now. We thought it might be cool to break down some of the songs from the album for you guys. We’ll start out with our single “Sleeping With Lions”.

Pre-cancer, so around late 2011 I had the main riff of the song and it had morphed into a song called “Come Apart”. At that time it was angsty relationship song with what I felt were sub-par lyrics. We were playing the song out some and had even cut a demo in the studio. “Come Apart” didn’t feel up to snuff to me, and so it didn’t make the cut. Move forward two years and I was in the middle of chemo and radiation fighting cancer. We were doing everything that we could to move forward and keep recording. I literally was in the studio with Brian and Greg with a rash covering my body from the chemo trying to cut guitars. It was during that time that I kept coming back to this powerful guitar riff, and the opening anthem type melody. It just felt like it deserved lyrics that would match the power of the riff. I had been reading and focusing on people that had faced great adversity and overcome through faith. Two men really stood out to me, one was Job and the other Daniel from the bible. Both having to survive on nothing but faith. I could really relate to that. At the time I was also thinking about legacy, and that if something happened to me, any lyrics I left behind I wanted to inspire people. I was driving home one night and starting singing a line in my head over the guitar riff. “I hold the light that lights the pathway”. The way I write a lot of times is to construct the entire song in my head. I write a line, repeat, add another, repeat two, and another repeat three, until I’ve written and memorized something until I can make it to a pen and paper. By the time I had gotten home I had the chorus. “I hold the light that lights the pathway, I hold the key that locks the door, I mark the steps that lead to freedom, I swim the sea that leads to shore”. It was a declaration of giving 100% trust and faith to God that he would lead me through whatever was to happen.
I sat down and wrote the rest of the song in probably 2-3 minutes. The first verse I imagined a prisoner, locked away with no hope. Metaphors for a woman trapped in an abusive relationship, a kid stuck in a bad home, someone fighting disease, people silenced for their views, anyone trying to overcome. “Well they took them a hammer, and they took them a nail. And they built you a prison, and they made you a cell. And they gave you no ransom, and they set you no bail. No view of a heaven, yea they gave you their hell.”
Second verse came easily as well, and it is the story of David which still makes me shudder to think about. “Daniel on his knees, he continued to pray, and the king he forbid him, and they led him away. And they laid him with lions, and they told him goodbye. They returned in the morning, just to find him alive.” It is the universal story of faith and perseverance.
Forward months later, and I was on the mend and we cut the new song which was now “Sleeping With Lions”. With no releases immediately coming up we sat on the song. Forward a couple years and we had given some songs to our new publisher who was synching songs to television. Out of all the songs he had to pick from he kept telling me that “Sleeping With Lions” would land somewhere. I wasn’t so sure, and didn’t see it as a single. Sometimes this happens when you are very close to a song and it seems like it was just written for your circumstance. Regardless, I said sure, give it a shot. A few months later I got the call that it had been chosen out of our songs for the “Animal Kingdom” show on TNT. The rest as they say is history. “Sleeping With Lions” then followed up to be placed on ESPN’s coverage of the X-Games this fall. We have a good inclination that you will also hear it on something big in 2019. It was released October 1st 2019 as the first single off of “Mountain” and was added to 12 Spotify Editorial Playlists. To put that in perspective, on our last album “Break My Fall” and “Head Bent” were added to ONE each. Previous releases saw NO playlists placements. “Sleeping With Lions” is currently doing 10-15,000 streams per day and has done 180,000 since October 1st at the time I’m writing this.
I want to add one more note while we are on this subject. Bands ON record labels release records and spend tens of thousands of dollars to have consultants recommend their songs for Spotify playlists. Even after doing that, most do not see any of their songs make the editorial playlists. Those lists are the new top 40. The fact that we have released this record, WITHOUT a label, without consultants, paid for by our fans, and had this success solidifies that it’s a new world out there and this can be done without labels. It requires a lot of hard work, a lot of hustle, and more than anything a lot of FAITH. See you tomorrow with another track explanation. CT

Sleeping with Lions on Spotify

Call or post a request for “Sleeping With Lions” on SiriusXM Octane or email Octane@siriusxm.com them and help us continue the success.

“Sleeping With Lions”
Well they took them a hammer
And they took them a nail
And they built you a prison, and they made you a cell
And they gave you no ransom, and they set you no bail
With no view of a heaven, yeah they gave you their hell

But I hold the light that lights the pathway
I hold the key that locks the door
I mark the steps that lead to freedom
I swim the sea that leads to shore

Daniel on his knees, he continued to pray
And the king he forbid him, and they led him away
And they laid him with lions, and they told him goodbye
They returned in the morning, just to find him alive….

I hold the light that lights the pathway
I hold the key that locks the door
I mark the steps that leads to freedom
I swim the sea that leads to shore

Over 100,000 streams on Spotify for “Sleeping with Lions”

“Sleeping With Lions” from the TV show Animal Kingdom is the first single off our new full length record “Mountain” set for release on Halloween. Yesterday we crossed over 100,000 streams in the first ten days! Thanks to everyone streaming and saving and sharing.

Get the song here-
Sleeping with Lions
And request it here!
SiriusXM Octane

“Stuck in a Rut” used in Dodge commercial!

Very proud to announce that you can now hear The Cold Stares song “Stuck in a Rut” on a new Dodge commercial. You’ll find it on the Velocity channel on Roadkill Nights as well as Dodge’s website and social media. As car fanatics, I’m sure a lot of you know what this means to us. Absolutely stoked.

Dodge – Stuck in a Rut – The Cold Stares

Tracks off for mastering!

Tracks sent off for final mastering touch up for vinyl this morning. Here’s the song listing for-

MOUNTAIN

1-The Great Unknown
2-Stickemup
3-Under His Command
4-Friend of Mine
5-Gone (Not Dead)
6-Wade in the Darkness
7-Child of God
8-Sleeping With Lions
9-The River
10-Cold Black Water
11-The Plan
12-If Your Way Gets Dark
13-Two Keys and a Good Book
14-Killing Machine
15-Mountain

TCS - Mountain

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

“Break my Fall” hits 1 million streams on spotify!

FREE GIVEAWAY!
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-

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