Cold was already in the midst of a quasi-hiatus when it recorded its COLD:LIVE album during February 2014. (It arrived in January 2016.) Then Ward took time off to help care for his sister, who was battling cancer for a second time. That led to the departure of other band members, including original drummer Sam McCandless and guitarists Zac Gilbert and Drew Molleur, forcing Ward to assemble a new lineup.
“I have [guitarist] Nick Coyle,” says Ward. “He played in a bunch of bands and has been trying his whole life to be successful, so it’s nice he’s able to come with us now and is a great addition to the band. Lindsay [Manfredi] is the same way. She’s been touring her whole life in bands and trying to get it done and is a beautiful person and a great bass player. It’s all working real well. Everybody’s happy to be out here.”
Ward and Coyle co-produced the 12 tracks on The Things We Can’t Stop, some of which have been around awhile: Ward says “Snowblind” dates back to 2011’s Superfiction, Cold’s last studio album, and has been performed live, with Ward improvising lyrics. The album (which can be pre-ordered here) has a textured, ambient dynamic -- what Ward acknowledges as “a very moody, melancholy record” inspired by life issues including his sister’s illness. “It’s a different kind of heavy,” he explains. “The heavy things to me in life have always been the weight of the songs -- not the actual rhythms or the loudness of the guitar.”
That said, The Things We Can’t Stop does have moments of blast off, including the Bush-flavored “Without You” and the full-bodied “Systems Fail.” “I wanted to bring in some elements from older Cold records,” he says. “I think it’s important to go back and have that for fans, too, even if most of the album is different.”
With its big beat, yearning melody and majestic chorus, first single “Shine” takes on the subject of bullying, which Ward experienced as a child and has watched his young daughter and stepdaughter deal with at their schools. Billboard is exclusively premiering the lyric video for the track, which can be watched below:
“Nobody wants to have their kids come home bawling and having a hard time,” he says. “Just to know it still existed was heartbreaking. So, of course, I got online and started looking up things, and that just inspired me. And like with most Cold songs, I wanted to give people an outlet, make them feel like there’s a way out, that this isn’t going to last forever and it might — that’s a ‘might’ — get better. That’s why the chorus is so uplifting. I’m trying to say that you feel alone when it’s happening, but nothing lasts forever.”
The new album will take Cold back on the road, though no dates have been announced yet. “I think with us being off for so long we’re all ready to be gypsies again and go out and play forever. So it’ll probably be a couple years of touring,” predicts Ward. “We’re blessed with the Cold Army; we’ve definitely had a die-hard fan base stick with us this whole time. The music to them is very important, and it’s helped them and it’s just carried over and still helps them to this day. And we’ve always been there for our fans, too. Cold never really had crazy success to where we untouchable. We were always in the middle of everything, which kind of created a family vibe for everybody. Every time we play, it feels more like a reunion than a show.”