Currently on tour in support of Page Avenue, 10 Years and Counting, a reworked and revised version of the band's 2003 debut, St. Louis' Story of the Year has returned from hiatus on a roll. After spending two years decompressing from endless touring, the five guys in Story of the Year decided to return to their roots and retool the album that started them on the road to success.
From a tour stop in Las Vegas and in anticipation of Story of the Year headlining the Scream It Like You Mean It Tour this Friday at Quik Trip Park in Grand Prairie, guitarist Philip Sneed was kind enough to talk with DC9 about retooling history and why he's still pissed that he never met Madonna.
Why rework and re-release your debut album, Page Avenue?
We had taken a few years off from making records and touring, especially in the United States; and we wanted to do something special with the record that changed our lives. Most of our fans' favorite record was that record. We wanted to do something special with this a tour. We started by playing the album in its entirety in St. Louis. We then decided to do some sort of rerecording. We didn't want to do it acoustically or something like that. We wanted to do something more than that. We did remixes with different artists we've known over the years and liked. We just decided to do it ourselves. We wanted to remake or re-imagine each song. It has been going over extremely well. It is a completely independent release.
Have fans embraced both versions of the album?
I think so, a lot. We've been on this tour a few weeks and everybody has been coming up and saying that they have. We are selling physical copies on tour and a lot of people are buying it. It has gotten nothing but good reactions. You expect your fans to like your stuff. There is usually a little negative thing here or there, but on this, we haven't heard any negative things, nothing on Facebook or Twitter. People on the street and at the shows have been incredibly positive about what we have done. It makes us really happy.
Why did the band take a break in 2011 and why get back together in 2013?
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Honestly, we had toured for so many years straight and, especially in the U.S., people start to not care. You show up and they keep on coming and they just don't care as much. We all need a bit of time to regroup. We all had and we all have other bands we wanted to focus on for a minute. We needed to slow down instead of running it in the ground. Some bands run themselves and their fans into the ground by thinking that they have to keep doing things and keep doing things. Going away, honestly, was the best thing for us to recharge our batteries and rededicate ourselves to our fan base. Our fans really reached out and told us that they wanted us to tour and they wanted new material. It was a good thing to do. We are still the five original members and we all still love each other. That's not a very common thing.
Do you still live in St. Louis? I know for a while you lived in California.
We are kind of all over. We lived in California for a year back in 2002, but most of us are based in St. Louis now.
I hate going up in that stupid arch. It makes you feel so claustrophobic.
We've been up there plenty. It's not for the faint of heart if you have claustrophobia or if you have a fear of heights. Most visitors see the top of the arch more than the local patrons.
What's your prediction for the World Series?
I think it will be five games and we will take it. Loving the Cardinals is kind of born into you in St. Louis.When you think of St. Louis and other larger cities in the Midwest, you usually think of music scenes dominated by R&B and the blues. Does St. Louis have a thriving rock 'n' roll scene?
It has definitely had its ups and downs. We've had our issues with venues that were not the right size. It is a good small-town mentality where people would decide to band together and make a scene. It has a lot of potential and there are a lot of great bands that have come out of St. Louis. There has been a lot of talent there and sometimes that talent has moved out of St. Louis. Right now, I think the scene is thriving.
The band's first name was Big Blue Monkey. Were you contacted by the blues band that already had that name?
That was before I was in the band. They realized that it was a shitty name.
The band was on Maverick Records but then moved to Epitaph. Why?
We didn't choose to leave them. They actually dissolved into Warner Bros. It was a fantastic experience. We were technically on a major since they were under the Warner Bros. umbrella. We had a small, impassioned team that really cared about us and about what we were doing. We weren't working with major budgets. We weren't working with hundreds of people. Honestly, I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. It was ideal for us.
Does your music fit the vibe at Epitaph a little better?
You just never know. Maverick did sign a lot of bands like us shortly after we had success. That was a really good company to be at. People were excited and it was a new time for that style of music. We all had success with it. We did well on radio. We did well commercially. We were on there with the Deftones and a couple of other artists who are still around today.
Wasn't Madonna involved with Maverick when you were on the label?
It was Madonna's label. She sold the majority to Warner Bros. shortly before we got there. We were promised by the president of the company that if we ever went gold, we would get to meet her. We did go gold and they were full of bullshit and we never met her. She was living in London and we never saw her.
What would you have said to her?
I would have said something that you couldn't print in a newspaper.
When will the band's film, Who Killed (or Saved) the Music Industry, come out?
They are actually editing it as we do this tour. Hopefully, that is going to be wrapped up very shortly. I would anticipate a 2014 release.
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The band has come through Dallas a lot. Are there certain places you like to play?
Yes, we played House of Blues and there is a Hooters next door that feeds us well. We have a lot of friends in Dallas. We have friends in bands and friends who just live in the area. We've had some good times in Dallas, Austin and Houston.