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Cold's Lindsay Manfredi: ”There’s a feeling when you’re playing bass. It’s different from other instruments”

Lindsay Manfredi
(Image credit: Dane Nilssen)

”I have a Fender Precision, Jaguar and Mustang,” says Cold bassist Lindsay Manfredi, “and I have an endorsement with Diamond Guitars, who are making custom Maverick and Hailfire II basses for me. They both have Seymour Duncan pickups and active preamps. For amps, I use a Darkglass Alpha Omega preamp and an Ashdown ABM 500, both of which I really love.” 

Manfredi, bassist with the rock band Cold since 2014, recently published a self-help book called Unfuckwithable: A Guide To Inspired Badassery, which details her journey through serious personal tribulations. Its tone is optimistic, though, as befits a book that functions as a source of advice for anyone navigating their way through a tricky time in life.  

“The intention was for the book to resonate with people, and of course I want people to enjoy reading it,” says Manfredi. “I sat down at my dad’s, homeless and not knowing what I was going to do with my life, and wrote it. It was very therapeutic.”  

A crisis is an opportunity to make things better

“In 2014, I had just gotten hired by Cold, which was one of my favourite bands growing up. It’s so incredible how that happened, after non-stop playing in other bands. I never gave up on the music, even though it wasn’t on the level that I wanted it to be at. Around the time I was joining Cold, I was also going through a pretty nasty breakup from a physically and emotionally abusive relationship, so I took some time out. 

“I moved from California back to Indiana to move all of my stuff out of his mom’s house and back to my dad’s, and I was going through all this shit, but one of my girlfriends told me, ‘You’re making yourself unfuckwithable’ and I immediately thought ‘I’m using that. I’m going to write a book and that’s what it’s going to be called’. I wanted to share with people that what other people think about you doesn’t matter.”

Ask yourself the big questions

“Ask yourself what your dreams are, and ask yourself the other hard questions that people usually don’t do because they get so weighed down by their jobs and their kids and their lives. Are you doing what you love to do? 

“Most of us don’t have time to even think about that. Taking care of yourself first is what matters, and ultimately that’s really what I want this book to say to people. Being in the position that I’m in, having the opportunity to play with Cold, I felt that the band was a platform I could use.”

Turn adversity into positivity

“I feel that if something doesn’t work out the way you anticipated or wanted, it’s just a blessing in disguise – as [motivational speaker] Gabrielle Bernstein once said, it’s a detour in the right direction. Everything happens for a reason, and you don’t want to be with people who aren’t going to lift you up and make you happy. Learn how to be strong and loving, but also how to say ‘Fuck off’ to the people who aren’t in your corner and aren’t going to lift you up. You have to do that with everything.”

Know your place

“Service is positive, and we as bass players do exactly that – we serve the song in which we’re playing. The simplest line can have the most powerful effect if it fits the song, and that’s how I feel as a bassist. I’m not trying to show off. I really just want to serve a song and be in the background. There’s a specific feeling or emotion that happens when you’re playing your bass. I call it a vibration level – the frequency of the vibration. It’s different from other instruments.”

Have faith in the right person

“My biggest challenge with the book was getting it published. I’d been shopping agents and publishers – I have a whole folder in my email called ‘Book Rejections’. All these agents would write me back and say, ‘This is great, but I’m not the right agent to take it on’. I think it’s because it’s the first book in the spiritual self-help genre that has ‘fuck’ in its title, and I didn’t want to asterisk any of the letters out. 

“I got rejection after rejection and gave up on it for a year, but in February 2020 I finally found the right deal – and here we are. You have to know that the right person will come along at some point, and sure enough, that happened to me.”