It's reunion time again for the Cold
by Vincent Fumar (November, 1987) Times-Picayune
The history of the Cold can be described as brief and frantic - from its enormous local success in 1980-82 to a series of breakups and reunions. Now, some five years after its first breakup, Cold reunion-time is upon us once again - tonight and Saturday night at Jimmy's. Cold guitarist Kevin Radecker hasn't any idea how many people will show up.
"Maybe some of the people who used to come to our shows have moved out of New Orleans," Radecker said over the phone from his Los Angeles home. "Maybe people now 19 or 20 never did see us. It's a crap-shoot. I just don't know how many people are going to be there. The only predictable thing, the thing we can control, is how tight a show it will be."
In its heyday, the Cold was the biggest attraction on the local club scene. Its music was a mixture of several 1960s pop styles, and was delivered with an appealing energy. In 1982, near the peak of its popularity, it disbanded. Several reunions followed, including one that featured only four of the original five members. This weekend's shows will feature all five - guitarists Radecker, Bert Smith and Vance DeGeneres; vocalist Barbara Menendez; and drummer Chris Luckette.
"Just the thought of the five of us back in the rehearsal hall is something to look forward to," Radecker said. "We always dealt with each other with a certain amount of tension - a fun tension. We drew up a list of every song we ever did, maybe 60 or 70 songs, and just whittled it down to what we want to do. It'll be stuff that people will recognize. Opening for us Friday is a band from Baton Rouge called Boulevard Six, and on Saturday it'll be the Wayward Youth featuring 'Rockin' Rick Connick. I think it's going to be fun again."
Since the band's breakup, Radecker and DeGeneres have moved to Los Angeles. (Radecker describes himself as "a working stiff" who also still shops his songs around.) Menendez did the same thing but recently moved back to New Orleans. Smith has been out of the music business, and Luckette is now playing for Force of Habit.
According to Radecker, circumstances have changed not only for Cold members, but for rock music in general. "At the time that we came up, there were a lot of people starting bands," he said. "There was an underground rumbling happening. But the whole club scene has changed. I think MTV has
changed the way people think about music. Instead of going to see a live band and having this communal rite every week, rock music has become - I hate to use the word 'commercialized', but that's what it is. You make an expensive video, and you've got to sell yourself. Back then, we were part of this underground thing happening. We played the clubs regularly, put on an exciting show where people would leave dripping wet and feeling good. Now, it's a totally different scene."
But much of the Cold's legacy, as Radecker sees it, is in its songs. Some were captured on its singles and two albums, "16 Songs off a Dead Band's Chest" and "Major Minor".
"I'd say that most are just good, basic songs," he said. "They hold up. Our most popular song would have to be "You". But people who came to see us every night would be burned out on it. The most off-the-wall song would have to be the combination of "You Know My Name" and "We Can Have Sex but I'm Not Very Good". We also did "Green Slime"."
The Cold's records continue to sell, though not always officially. Rumors have emerged lately of bootlegged Cold material. "It did surprise me," Radecker said of the continued sales. "It's good to hear that there's still interest in us. Several record stores in the New Orleans area in the last year or so have asked about getting more copies of the '16 Songs' LP which is out of print. We pressed 3000 copies of it. But I've also heard of people bootlegging it. And somebody told me of going to a store in the French Quarter, where five of our singles were displayed on the wall. Each was priced at $10."
Asked if there was any one lesson he learned from his experience with the Cold,
Radecker answered," It’s a great way to make a living, but all bands eventually