While penning Cold's newest song, Scooter Ward was faced with a real mental challenge.
Not only was this the first time the Floridian frontman was forced to work within an existing theme, in this case a video game, but the game he was writing for is the first spy thriller to combine conventional weapons with psychic ones.
"ESPionage," due this fall for all major consoles, anoints its special-agent hero with psychic powers, such as telekinesis, pyrokinesis, remote viewing and mind control. Its publisher, Midway, which last year tapped Adema to compose the theme for "Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance" (see "Adema 'Immortal'-ized On New Mortal Kombat Game"), this year turned to Cold for "ESPionage"'s theme song, "With My Mind."
"They sent me the trailer and the story line, and I was stoked," said Ward, who favors action games like "Tomb Raider" and other role-playing games over racers and first-person shooters. "It's kind of like 'Metal Gear Solid' but better because you can use mind control. You find out you have mind powers gradually as the game progresses. So as you discover these powers, you can actually pick up boxes; and bodies that you've shot, you can pick up and throw them at other people. You have mind control, so you can turn somebody's mind around. If two enemies are standing there, you can change one and make them turn on his buddy. It's cool."
"With My Mind" is one of three songs commissioned by Midway for its upcoming titles. Vanessa Carlton wrote and recorded the theme song to "Spy Hunter 2" (see "Video Gamers Can Drive A Thousand Miles With Vanessa Carlton"), and DMC turntable champion DJ Rocky Rock and World Freestyle Champion MC Supernatural composed music for the one-on-one basketball game "NBA Ballers."
Ward, whose band's latest album, Year of the Spider, is filled with personal, introspective lyrics (see "Cold Turn Year Of Loss Into Year Of The Spider"), was helped by the fact that the game's theme is somewhat in sync with his lyrical aesthetic.
"The kind of lyrics I write are usually dark and have mind-control things going on too," he said. "[The lyrics for 'With My Mind'] follow the progression of the character's mind powers throughout the game. It starts off simple, then it becomes more prominent as the song builds."
Cold performed "With My Mind" for the first time Thursday at E³, the Electronic Entertainment Expo held in Los Angeles (see "Video Gamers Drool Over New War Games, Movie Tie-Ins, Handhelds"). Kelly Hayes' fuzz-toned seven-string built an atmosphere of riffs while Ward, clinging to his microphone stand like it was on the only thing holding him up, fired off double-entendres about being on someone's mind and actually controlling it.
"I can take your thoughts away," he crooned while bassist Jeremy Marshall caused Midway's exhibition booth to shudder under his bottom and drummer Sam McCandless pounded out a rumbling beat. "I can take you far away with my mind."
After premiering the song, Cold also played Year of the Spider's "Remedy" and the single "Stupid Girl" before launching into "Just Got Wicked," from 2000's 13 Ways to Bleed Onstage.
Cold's ties to video games will continue on a future pressing of Year of the Spider, which will include a game designed by esteemed game designer American McGee (see "Cold Pair Up With Weezer Frontman For 'Stupid Girl,' Battle Giant Spiders").