While most bands are struggling to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Dallas’ Big Story is finding success at SiriusXM satellite radio. The band’s new single, “Rabbit,” released in March, has been receiving regular airplay on Octane SiriusXM radio, boosting the four-piece project into the national air waves.
Singer Randall Stephens moved back to North Texas after a stint working with a band in Orlando, citing his passion for Dallas music and venues.
“Of all the places I’ve lived and traveled to, Dallas by far has the best rock clubs and musicians," he says. "The scene and people here are so supportive and encouraging of one another, it’s really helped contribute to our success. It was a big decision to move back, but it was the right one.”
After returning in 2016, Stephens formed Big Story with guitarist Dave Perez and drummer Ross Rubio. The band spent a year writing and then recording their first offering with Austin producer and Blue October bassist Matt Noveskey. The debut single, “Such Things,” was recorded and mixed with prominent Dallas producer Jim King, who's worked with The House Harkonnen and The Orange. The self-titled EP was then released locally to a sold-out crowd at Trees in spring 2017, which established Big Story as a serious local headliner. The success of the band’s single and momentum eventually found the ears of Seether frontman Shaun Morgan, opening up the door for the band’s first national tour.
“Shaun basically called and invited us to pick a leg of their tour go out with them. ... It was pretty surreal." Stephens remembers. "That’s also when Paul Nugent offered to manage us, and everything just came together.”
With Blue October’s manager Paul Nugent on board and a fall tour ahead, the band embarked on a six-week-long stint with Seether. During the tour, the band also got word that they had been invited to showcase at Piano’s in New York City for Razor and Tie Records. After a successful showcase, the band was signed to the New York City label, and Big Story seemed poised for the big time.
Razor and Tie flew the band to New Jersey to record an album with multi-platinum-selling producer David Bendeth (Paramore, Breaking Benjamin, I Prevail). While finishing up the record, they got word from their management that Razor and Tie had been bought out by Concord Music Publishing and they would be moved to Fearless Records under the umbrella of Concord. Several other Razor and Tie bands would be dropped completely, leaving Big Story one of the lucky few. But with a finished record in hand and no A&R guy fighting for them at the label, Big Story and their management decided it would be best to go the independent route and fight to be released from the label, along with with the masters for their tracks.
After a long negotiation, Big Story found themselves free of their contractual obligations and armed with both a new record and ownership of the masters. This year was slated to be a big year of national touring and releasing music, but when COVID-19 hit, all tour plans were canceled, leaving their single “Rabbit” and its addition to Octane’s regular rotation the salvation of the band's efforts.
The band is sitting on a full album and a national following eagerly awaiting its release as “Rabbit” gains more plays and fans for the group every day. If the group can't perform live, releasing a full length album without tour support may undermine the its momentum. Big Story decided to release another single, “Daydream,” which now has more than 220,000 plays on Spotify alone, but Stephens is eager to get the band’s complete work to the masses as soon as possible.
“We’re going to have to pull the trigger at some point," he says of the album. "We can’t sit on it forever. It’s just time to go, but COVID-19 has made everything so uncertain.”
As the music industry is facing its toughest challenges, Big Story can’t wait too much longer — and neither can their fans. Dallas deserves a Cinderella story at least once every decade.