To commit to a band takes a lot, says Cold Roses founder Rob Clancy, so he’s understood whenever a member has left his Philadelphia-based group.
“They have their lives to live, and everybody’s needs are different,” explains singer-guitarist Clancy, who has remained friends with his ex-bandmates. “There’s never been a malicious departure. If it wasn’t already on the horizon, it was always well discussed.”
Playing with different lineups and instrumentation “in a way has almost allowed me to feel like I’ve played in different bands, just playing my songs,” continues Clancy. “And every time someone new comes in, it’s like changing an ingredient in a recipe, but you still have the key ingredients.”
Two key ingredients — trumpeter Rick Rein and saxophonist Tom Petraccaro — “were kind of a glorious accident,” admits Clancy. In June 2013, Philadelphia rock radio powerhouse WMMR-FM picked Cold Roses as its local artist of the month. In addition to airplay, WMMR presented a Cold Roses show at The Legendary Dobbs, and for that gig, Clancy decided to “turn it up.”
“I think I was listening to a lot of Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett at that time,” he recalls, “so I wondered what it would be like if a horn section came in.”
Clancy had met Petraccaro a few years before at a friend’s show, and two Cold Roses members at that time knew Rein. Upon hearing the first downbeat during the first band rehearsal with Petraccaro and Rein, Clancy remembers thinking to himself, “This is crazy enough to work.”
It’s worked on 2014’s No Silence in the City, the first Cold Roses album, as well as on the band’s latest, Escape to Anywhere, released July 21 on Recorded Records. Clancy remembers his relationship with the Los Angeles-based indie label getting off to a rocky start: Following a 2015 meeting in L.A. during which he performed solo acoustic versions of his songs, Clancy says the Recorded execs wanted to team him with a studio band.
“You could almost cut the tension with a knife,” he says about that moment. Clancy was not interested in accepting the suggested compromise, telling the label heads, “If you want me to deliver the way it is on [the first Cold Roses album], I need my band — and not just for musical purposes. I have a loyalty to them, and them to me, and I’m not going to do this without them.” The Recorded reps were sold after they checked out a Cold Roses show in Atlantic City, N.J.
Working with the production team of David J. Holman and Roger Paglia, Cold Roses tracked Escape to Anywhere (the first release for Recorded) in Los Angeles, and in doing so, Clancy and company revisited some material from the band’s debut.
“Our label really liked ‘Words Without Speaking,’ and I didn’t mind doing that song again,” Clancy says. “And the same thing with ‘Leave You Alone.’ I think the way we did it on this record did it justice. And ‘No Silence in the City’ — we did that one mostly the same, but the feel is different. It’s a little fatter and sloppier now, which I think it really needs.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Photo by Gene Smirnov