13 Stories
By Ronnie

Mix Blondie, occasional ska, a wicked '70s tinged guitar, a sense for melodic-catchy-get-up-and-move songs and you get the music of the Atlanta based band, 13 Stories. Although they are as-of-yet unsigned, they have still managed to have three of their songs featured on VH-1's Fashion Television. But, don't compare them to No Doubt! Where No Doubt turned into a fashion statement for Gwen Stefani, 13 Stories has no such pretensions.

E.C.: First, the basics. How long have you guys been together and who came up with the name? What image did you want to evoke with the name, "13 Stories"?

13 Stories: We formed fall of 1996. Well, the name is derived from the practice of omitting the 13th Story in office buildings, which we think is pretty interesting and a little amusing. We want people to have fun when they see us and listen to us, so in a way it’s a light hearted way of poking fun at life itself.

E.C.: Your influences have been cited as Blondie and the Rolling Stones. What do you think you bring from each?

13 Stories: Both of those bands make people move around. They’re both really great, versitile bands with charismatic lead vocalists.

E.C.: What I see as a strong point with the band is that your songs are catchy as hell! Who writes the songs, or is it a group effort?

13 Stories: It’s a group effort. One of our strongest points is how different each of the members are as people, we’re all from different parts of the country (James – Alabama, Cheri – Detroit, MI, Cat – Massachusetts, Van – Philly, Max – Oklahoma). Eventhough you can’t listen to any of our songs and say “listen to that bass line, that is SO Birmingham” – your geography does affect you, especially if you’re an artist.

E.C.: I saw a common thread among mp3 reviews of "Naked Picnic", where people kept comparing you to No Doubt. I personally don't see it, maybe people just see a blonde singing and notice that one of your songs has a ska feel to it. What does 13 Stories offer that No Doubt doesnt? (I think I know, just wanna see what you think!)

13 Stories: There were a lot of No Doubt comparisons back when they were just about the biggest thing going, but we haven’t heard that in a while. None of us really listen to that much ska, but we all dig Bob Marley and theWailers, so we may skew that influence occasionally. Bob has a lot of good things to say. There’s more rap in a lot of the recent material and there are always pop overtones to our stuff, regardless of the style.

E.C.: We are reviewing "Preview to a Pop Album" in this months issue, are there any new releases planned? If so, how is the new album different?

13 Stories: There are plans to record a full-length CD this fall with David Barbe producing again. It’s been over two years since we’ve recorded anything. We’ve played a good number of shows since then and we’ve written more songs and gotten better. We’ll probably re-record some, if not all of the five songs from Preview to a Pop Album. The arrangements have changed and none of our previous recordings are complete. We’ve either had to rush the mix down or we haven’t had time to try some overdubs, but that shouldn’t be a problem this time. This album has been a long time coming and we think we can make it really good from start to finish.

E.C.: Three of your songs have been featured on VH-1's Fashion Television, how did that come about?

13 Stories: They found us over the internet at www.13stories.com and sent us an e-mail. The website has been great for us. We’re constantly amazed at how many people from all over the world check it out. Our song “Playtown” was #1 on mp3.com earlier this month, and that’s mainly due to the website getting our name and music out there.

E.C.: Do you think exposure like VH1 will eventually bring you a deal with a major label; or is a major label deal part of the master plan?

13 Stories: We would be willing to listen to a record company. We’ve talked to two that liked us and we got all excited. And they were interested, but the offers weren’t what we really wanted and we decided to wait. There’s so much more to it than just signing with a record company.

E.C.: I imagine that not being signed to a major label (and the constant touring that is demanded from the labels), you all have day jobs. At what point will you "go for it" and devote your entire time to the band? Or is that tied in with my label signing question?

13 Stories: Some things would have to fall into place for us to do it full time and a good record deal would be go along way toward that. We’re all doing okay outside of the band, which has been a good thing. We all want to see the band’s success keep growing, but we’re not depending on it the for our livelihood and that’s eliminated a lot of problems that constantly being broke can cause. The money we’ve made from gigs and merchandise sales has been put back into the band 100%.

E.C.: Being a very "photogenic" band, will videos eventually come into the master plan?

13 Stories: Absolutely. We’ve done some amateur stuff as a trial run. Nothing that we would release, but it has been a learning experience. We’ve had a number of photo shoots recently and it’s like anything else, the more you do it the better you get at it. We’re getting better at having our picture taken. That sounds weird, but it’s true.

E.C.: What IS next in the master plan?

13 Stories: We would like to play on the same bill as Prince. And then we would like to eliminate world hunger and maybe buy an island or two.

Click here to visit the 13 Stories web site

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