On October 17th, 1997, one of my best friends, Brad Nichols and I went and seen Limp Bizkit at what was The Brewery in Louisville, Kentucky. It was three months after their debut album “Three Dollar Bill Y’all” had been released.
Brad and I had been fooling around on the internet looking at bands (via dial-up) and found LB. We liked what we heard and there was a 1800 number on the site to call on get a free demo tape sent to you, which we anxiously did.
Back to the show, so Brad’s dad, Brian, took myself, Brad, and our other two friends Michael and Melissa to this show which $4. The opening band was called My Own Victim and was a local band from Louisville. They were OK and since this was all of us’s first concert we didn’t know what to expect. As we had come in the door, they had handed out COLD stickers. The band had no merch and their debut album wasn’t due until June of 1998. But I had that sticker.
COLD went on stage and I instantly loved their music. It was heavy which I liked but more melodic, especially after hearing My Own Victim and knowing what was coming from Limp Bizkit next. They instantly became my favorite band.
So, when I got home, I went to A&M Records website and all it had was one pic and the names of the members. So me, with my limited internet skills, made a COLD fan page called “Dark Ice.” It consisted of a blue background, a scanned in version of that sticker (the original COLD blue/white), the image pulled from the label’s site, and all of the member’s names.
I got an email about a week later from a fellow named Dan Longley who was friends with the band and also lived in Jacksonville, Florida where they resided. He said that I did not have the first COLD page, he did, but I was actually the first COLD fan page from a legitimate, non-direct friend of the band. Dan and I became friends and stayed in touch and he kept me up with the band’s going ons and also with my site when I got in a pinch.
On June 2, 1998, the only record store close to me, On Cue, didn’t even get the album in. I had to order it and wait… So a few weeks later, when the album came in, it was 24/7. And, yes, I scanned the images, typed out the lyrics, etc. and put them on the site.
A year or so later, I got a phone call at my home. My mom yelled down, “Blake, Scooter is on the phone?” To a 17 year old super fan, it was surreal. Scooter called to thank me for the site and the support and said that they were taking some time off to work on their follow up album. He also invited me down to Florida to meet the guys if I ever was down that way.
That spring break, my senior year of high school, me and a few of my friends went down to Jacksonville to meet the band in person. It was right when Terry (who is no longer in the band and now with Evanescence) had joined them. We stayed at Dan’s house and went to The Freebird Cafe on Jax Beach and met them for the first time. We ended up going back to Jeremy’s place and listening to them play some of the new songs and just hanging out. It was by far one of the greatest experiences of my young life.
From there, we have been friends. I have been to shows to hang out in Louisville, Lexington, Cleveland, Columbus, Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Cincinnati, and who knows wherever else.
Cleveland stands out as one of the most memorable. COLD was on Tattoo the Earth, which at the time was trying to rival Ozzfest. We were on the bus and “Thirteen Ways To Bleed On Stage” had not come out yet. Scooter let us see the video for “Just Got Wicked” and handed me the insert for the CD. He told me to check where he thanks people. Sure enough, in his credits section, he there was my name. He also gave me one of limited screen prints for the CD release party by an artist named EMEK. Fast forward 10 years and EMEK is one of the most famous artists in the US and also the image from the COLD poster is an original design that a variation of is on the shirt of Zach Galifinakis in “The Hangover.”
Another great show that I was apart of was when the guys opened for Marilyn Manson in Indianapolis. I was playing basketball in college at the time and made up some huge excuse to miss a game to go to the show. Unbelievable night as not only was COLD unbelievable but Manson was in his prime and in that smaller space very much everything he was billed to be.
One of my other favorite stories was my sophomore year of college, I took out on the road with the band when they were with Godsmack and Staind. Aaron Lewis and his wife were super nice and it was right before “Break the Cycle” blew that band into the stratusphere. Aaron always did AIC covers for sound check which was always cool and on one show, we were back stage and he let us hear the entire “Break the Cycle” album before it came out while handing me the handwritten lyrics. Pretty surreal. I ended up staying out with COLD an extra week and got in all kinds of trouble at school, but as always, it was very worth it.
My favorite story, hands down, is this one: We were in Columbus. I had driven up to see the guys and it was one of the last times that I saw them before they went on hiatus for a few years. I walked on the bus and there were these two hot girls sitting on the bus just being girls I guess, I said, “Hey man. What’s going on? I damn near died getting here….” and whatever else I said in my southern Kentucky twang and one of the girls was like “Who is this redneck? I mean really? Is that how you talk? Where the hell are you from, Deliverance?” I paused because for one of the few times in my life, I didn’t have anything witty to say. Scooter looked at her dead in the face and said, “Get the fuck off my bus.” She was like, “What? That’s your friend? ” He replied, “Yeah, my good friend and your in his fucking seat. Now take your friend and get the fuck off my bus.” It was very funny and one of the moments that I realized that more than just a fan, we had all become friends.
In 2008, I went out and saw the guys in Columbus once again for their Reunion Tour. had been almost 4 years since I had seen them and they were the same old friends that as always. I knew when I saw them, their energy and their place in their lives that something good was to come for guys. Little did I know how all that would play out in the coming years not only for them but for me and my connection to them as well.
February 25, 2010 I went and saw the guys by myself at Pheonix Hill Tavern in Louisville. It would be the most memorable COLD show to date. Scoot and I spent most of the time on the bus talking about what had been going on with band, my ever growing video production business and other odds and ends, but mainly we talked about family. He was very open about his kids, how they were doing and how he was at such a great place in his life because of them. Sam and I even spent some time talking about his son and how great that aspect of his life had become. The irony of the all the talk came to head while the guys were getting ready to go on stage. All of them were in the back of the bus or roaming around getting ready and I was sitting there somewhat alone. My girlfriend, Stephanie, called and sounded a little freaked. I asked her what was wrong and she went on to tell me that she was pregnant. After all the family talk, it was on this night, on the bus with the guys, that I found out that I would be a father for the first time.
So here we are another year and a half later and I am officially the director of the “Wicked World” video which is COLD’s fist single from their first album in over 5 years. It is truly an honor to do this not only because of the music that has inspired me but because of the friendships that I have made with them and the impact that they have had on my life both as musicians and as people. I’m not much on sharing a lot of personal information on by site/blog, but this is a brief summary of a story that I felt was worth sharing. It’s not the final chapter in this story but hopefully only the preface to a story we can continue to write in the years to com.
Thanks to the guys in the band present and past including Sam, Jeremy, Zach, Drew, Terry, and Kelly for always being so great to me.
And thanks to Scooter who went to bat for me on this project and believed in me not only as a friend but as an artist. It was truly an honor.