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 Indiana blues-rock outfit THE COLD STARES have finally released the single, marking their first new music of 2022. Mixed by Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar, Gov’t Mule), “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. The band is currently on tour in support of ‘Heavy Shoes’ and is working on a new album, due out later this year.
Watch and listen to “Mojo Hand” 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.”
The Cold Stares’ story is enough for a drama series – cancer, suicide, betrayal, divorce. 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 guitarist Chris Tapp, drummer Brian Mullins, and bassist Bryce Klueh, authenticity is their hallmark.
“There’s not really anything that bothers me to talk about,” Tapp explains. “When you don’t allow yourself to be human and say what’s happened to you, then you make other people that are going through tough shit think that they’re alone. Both been Brian and I have gone through divorces, and I’ve been through cancer. We’ve been through tough times and never been given anything on a silver plate. We’re just a blue-collar American rock and roll band.”
Recorded largely at Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis, the band’s latest album ‘Heavy Shoes’ runs a gamut of themes; addiction on “Save You From You,” emotional torture on “Prosecution Blues,” destructive relationships on “Heavy Shoes,” and manipulation on “Election Blues.” 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.
Now at work on their sixth full-length album, the road-worn warriors have crisscrossed the US and Europe, playing the Mercury Lounge to the Viper Rooms, and played with Rival Sons, Spoon, Grand Funk Railroad and Thievery Corp. You want authenticity, take one long cold hard stare at this band. The Cold Stares are a rock ‘n’ roll band, but they take a sledgehammer to the foundation 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.
For details and tickets for The Cold Stares’ upcoming tour, please visit www.thecoldstares.com.