It goes without saying, that if you are persistent enough, just be yourself and develop honest friendships over time… anything can happen.
In early 1998, I fell in love with the Jacksonville, FL band COLD after picking up the Ozzfest ’98 compilation CD from Best Buy and listening to their track, ‘Go Away‘. At the time I was starting to listen to more heavy music and alternative bands, and was instantly drawn to their self-titled album. By the time COLD released their sophomore album 13 Ways To Bleed On Stage, I was a full-fledged fan of the band and had yet to see them live. It wasn’t until they released the album and began touring in support of the effort, that I was able to see them on tour.
Late in 1999, my dear friend Keith and I started up an online music magazine called ‘The eKo‘ and began taking in live shows, conducting interviews and shooting live photos of bands across the midwest. Yes, with point-and-shoot disposable cameras. It was at a time that I simply needed some live shots to post to our website. During this same time, I had begun to play around with my first film SLR camera, shooting shows. Photography then, was never important to me, but rather a budding hobby while I fumbled through a long and horrible learning curve.
On November 9th, 2000, Keith and I went to see COLD play live for the first time, opening for Three Doors Down at The Rave in Milwaukee. We were both huge fans of the band and hoped to somehow meet them after they played the show. In anticipation for meeting them, Keith and I ran to a local gas station and picked up a disposable 35mm camera in attempts to grab a few grip ‘n grin shots of us with the band. Calling ourselves fanboys would be an understatement to say the least.
Shortly after the band finished their set, they emerged from backstage to meet their fans. We were both starstruck and nervous to meet them face-to-face. But that all subsided, once we met them and were invited to hang out with them backstage. At the time, we were dumbfounded to think a national recording artist would be willing to just randomly hang out with their fans, invite them on their tour bus and play an intimate acoustic set of requested songs for us. We were rockstars, hanging out with rockstars. Hell yeah!
Scooter and Jeremy playing ‘Bleed‘ for Keith and I on their bus after the show.
Throughout the next four years, we went to every COLD show in Wisconsin and I began to grow a friendship with Scooter Ward, the lead singer of the band. It was assumed that every time they played a Wisconsin show, Keith and I would be there to hang out, have a few beers and listen to one of our favorite bands. It’s wild to think that we began as fans and ended up becoming friends of the band. Yet, a lot can be said about developing true friendships from acquaintances by simply keeping things real and not wanting to be persistent, annoying Fanboys.
Much to my dismay COLD took an indefinite hiatus in 2006. This for me, was heartbreaking. I was moving away from listening to many of the bands I had in the past, but always loved COLD’s music. I never let it go. For some time, I fell out of contact with Scooter and I missed talking with him about music, art and living life. But it was understandable as things change. I walked away from The eKo and was working on developing my love for photography. Life’s priorities took a front row seat and I knew I had to grow a career.
It wasn’t until March 9th, 2010 that I finally reconnected with Scooter, Sam and Jeremy after they came back together and played a show right here, in Appleton, Wisconsin. It was like long-time friends meeting again and starting right where we left off. We talked about old times and connected as mutual artists. After talking with Scooter about my photography work, we began talking over the phone about their new album set to be released in 2011. He had fallen in love with my work and brought the idea to me about shooting their new promotional photos to coincide with the release of their album, Superfiction.
Things got surreal. Fast.
Scooter went all-out to bat for me, connecting me with their record label Eleven Seven Music (Motley Crue, Sixx AM, Buckcherry). In February of this year, they ended up flying Trevor and I to Dallas, TX to shoot their promo photos over the same weekend they shot their music video for American Dream. This was my first major label band I ever shot, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed. Of course, I felt like throwing up on my shoes on the way out there, but in the end it was a success and I’m proud of the photos I shot and they loved them! Despite having a fairly tight schedule and limited time to shoot the photos, we accomplished some great stuff here:
I think one of the most impressive aspects of this band, is that they love their fans. And from their fans, they have made friends. And from friends, they have given back to the creative community. An example we can all live by. It’s been evident to me throughout the years, as they have showed me a ton of unrelenting love.
While writing this, I came across a similar blog post by Blake Judd, who was a fan, turned videographer, turned producer of their most recent video for the new track, Wicked World. Check it out:
Scooter sent me their new record, Superfiction, a few months ago. I have been fortunate enough to hear the album in it’s entirety and I gotta say, it’s a great record and WILL NOT disappoint COLD fans! Their album lands in store on July 19th, 2011. Huge thanks and so much love to Scooter, Sam, Jeremy, Zach and the crew at Eleven Seven Music for giving me this opportunity! I got nothing but love for y’all!