Cold guitarist finds fun in frightening image

Monday, June 9, 2003

With all of its trance-like stares and subtle movements on the stage, Cold would seem to appropriate band to pen a song titled "Just Got Wicked."

The quartet's eerie, intense live show has left a haunting impression even on many of the bands on Cold's latest tour. Staind has gone as far as to designate the band as "The Spooky Crew."

But when Cold guitarist Kelly Hayes opens his mouth, any expected horror is replaced by humor.

With black hair, piercings and stage show image, Hayes has found the reaction from bands rather amusing.

"Yeah, they think we're really scary for some reason," Hayes said. "When they walk by us, they go, 'Boogedy, boogedy!'"

For Hayes, vocalist Scooter Ward, guitarist Terry Balsamo, bassist Jeremy Marshall and drummer Sam McCandless, life has been a bit frightening over the past year.

Ward experienced a blow when both his sister and girlfriend were diagnosed with cancer. But writing songs for the band's latest record "Year of the Spider" has been a source of therapy for the singer.

In the song "Cure My Tragedy," Ward's openness even surprised bandmate Hayes. The guitarist, who didn't consider himself much of a lyrics man, said "Cure" still made a deep impression.

"It's kind of like a letter to God," Hayes said.

The exploratory lyrics offered the band a chance to go in a different direction musically as well. Rather than the rough crunch of its previous self-titled record and "13 Ways to Bleed Onstage," Cold sought out a more finessed sound.

"Year of the Spider" features the production work of Howard Benson, the man responsible for P.O.D.'s multi-platinum "Satellite."

The new approach has been embraced by 98.9 The Rock, which has Cold's "Stupid Girl" spinning daily.
Even with support from radio stations, Hayes does get disheartened by people who pirate his records.

He joked that Cold might not be the gold-status band it supposedly became with "13 Ways to Bleed Onstage." The guitarist has spoken with so many fans who have bought multiple albums that he thinks the actual number sold might be a bit lower.

"Yeah, we've got about 10 fans," Hayes laughed.

Those 10 fans must be onto something. In May, Cold's "Year of the Spider" placed in the top three of the Billboard charts -- right alongside shock veteran Marilyn Manson and hip-hop superstar 50 Cent.

Cold is currently on tour in support of the latest release, but the idea of impending success didn't have Hayes getting too serious.

"When I'm on tour, I'll play different roles to keep it interesting," Hayes said. "On this one I pretend to be a guy named Kool Mo-Dork. He's a crackhead who is a security guard for Cold.

"Yeah, I like to keep things fun."