For the past year, fans of the wildly popular, Keanu Reeves-starring video game Cyberpunk 2077 have been clamoring for the release of “Mojo Hand,” the hard rocking hit featured in the game’s official trailer, “The Gig.” Now, on the 6-month anniversary of their latest full-length album ‘Heavy Shoes,’ The Cold Stares have finally released the single, marking their first new music of 2022. “Mojo Hand” has already received more than 100 million streams through the Cyberpunk 2077 trailer and is one of two songs by The Cold Stares featured in the game.
Indiana trio have also announced a run of shows in the UK this June and July to play songs from their new album Heavy Shoes. Beginning in in Manchester on 21 June, they will be playing further shows in Bradford,Liverpool, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Scarborough, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Chester, Sittingbourne and London. You can purchase tickets HERE.
“Mojo Hand” is about a woman that is like a force of nature,” explains guitarist Chris Tapp. “When she blows in it’s like a storm – bad weather, tornados, the whole works. But the guy who loves her has the “mojo hand,” and he’s able to overcome all of her craziness for the sake of love.”
Chris Tapp (vocals/guitar) and Brian Mullins (drums) are now joined by bassist Bryce Klueh making The Cold Stares a trio, with this being his first tour with the band. Talking about the tour Tapp says. “We’re looking forward to finally playing for our fans in the UK after two cancelled tours due to Covid. The UK is the second home to blues and rock and truly has the best fans in the world. I know our fans are ready, and we are as excited as they are!”
Heavy Shoes was released inAugust last year via their new home at Mascot Records . The album was met with a wave of critical acclaim. From being featured on BBC Radio 2 to the high-praise reviews that came flooding in; “Southern Gothic meets fuzzed-up guitar and authentic grit” hailed the Daily Mirror, “darkness pervades the Indiana-based duo’s fifth album” said Uncut, with The Guitar Magazine revelling in their “fuzzed-up garage licks and dark richness throughout” and Classic Rock toasting “a gloriously heavy album that carries as much weight sonically as it does lyrically.”
The band’s story alone would be enough for a drama series – cancer, suicide, betrayal, divorce, loss, self-identity crisis, survival, and ancestral skeletons. Write about what you know, they say.
There’s a richness running through the songs with dark, multi-layered narratives that course through every twist and turn. Dirty fuzzed-up rock and roll meet blues, garage, desert rock and a Southern Gothic sensibility. Sombre storytelling is etched into their songs with unflinching honesty. For The Cold Stares, authenticity is their hallmark.
“I’m writing from the point of Edgar Allan Poe and William Faulkner. It needs to have weight to it,” Tapp explains. “I tend to try to write like you’re reading a book. It’s descriptive, but also visual,” he continues. He solemnly wails about bad luck on “Hard Times,” the first single from the album. They then run a gamut of themes; addiction (“Save You From You”), emotional torture (“Prosecution Blues”), destructive relationships (“Heavy Shoes”) and manipulation (“Election Blues”). The doom-laden, desert-rock “40 Dead Men” centres around an unnamed soldier who destroys his surroundings just to get home whereas the Nuggets-era psychedelic garage-rock “In The Night Time” is the band striving for something more unique and is inspired by the southern gothic city of St Augustine, Florida.
Recorded largely at Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis, the band’s latest album ‘Heavy Shoes’ runs a gamut of themes. Tapp hasn’t been dealt the easiest cards in life. Aged ten he discovered he was adopted, and “for a long time, I kinda felt I was alone.” His Grandfather, whom he “emphatically loved,” ended up taking his own life, and it was Chris who found him. “It was difficult then, and it’s been difficult since,” he says. “That’s a heavy component of my life, and that creeps into the songs. It’s sometimes easier for me to think about it in a song with characters than it is for me to just think about it.”
As a child, his grandfather told him about his great-grandfather, who ran moonshine during prohibition. When no one in the family would discuss that period, he decided to go to do his own research, and discovered that during this, the local Sheriff and Deputy visited his great-grandfather’s house and assaulted his great-aunt. To protect his family, the next time, he hid under the porch until the Sheriff and Deputy returned. He then shot them both dead on the porch. He spent six days in jail and was released. This trauma shook the family and Tapp lived in that home during his twenties. “My great-aunt lived to be 103 and, just before she passed away, in the last couple of years, she started to talk to me about it.”
Tapp was diagnosed with Stage 3 Cancer in 2009 and given six months to live. 18 months of radiation and chemotherapy followed. “Now I feel like I’m saying what I want to say a little bit more concisely and elegantly,” he concludes.
You want authenticity? The Cold Stares are a rock ‘n’ roll band, but they take a sledgehammer to their foundation’s to reveal the cracks that are suppressed within it. With that, allowing themselves to be raw and open to show that, we are not alone.