SIGNAL 13 - “I Wanted A Party-Like Atmosphere With High Energy”
July 7, 2020, a month ago
Baltimore rockers Signal 13 have recently issued their first-ever EP, Destination Unknown, which as evidenced by such tracks as “Dirty,” “Make It Rain,” and “All Fired Up,” should appeal to fans of ‘80s party metal. Comprised of singer Vicky Starr, guitarists Johnathan Lassier and Chris Starr, bassist Patrick Jenkins, and drummer Johnny Sexx, the band has already shared the stage with the likes of Kix and Great White – with more dates to follow with other similarly-styled acts. Starr spoke to BraveWords about the EP, the group’s sound, and future plans.
BraveWords: Let’s discuss the songs on Destination Unknown.
Vicky Starr: “We wrote seven songs and our management team picked from the seven to put on the CD. ‘Dirty’ we decided was the first one we were going to release first – that’s about hard working people. ‘Karma’ I wrote [the lyrics] in about 20 minutes and then the next day, wrote the music and recorded it. Everyone always talks about ‘Karma’s going to get you,’ so it was the most identifiable thing I could think of about people in life. The next song, ‘Make It Rain,’ and that was about one day I was late to the studio, and ‘boys will be boys.’ They wrote this song and they were all in there giggling, and they said, ‘You’re probably no going to like this,’ and I said, ‘Why wouldn’t I like it?’ They said, ‘We wrote this music and we want to make it about strippers.’ We started laughing, and that’s how that song came out about that. ‘All Fired Up,’ we had to make some decisions about what we were going to do – we couldn’t just stay in the middle anymore. We either had to go forward or backward. And I wanted a bluesy feel to it – I wanted something that felt more like a finger snapping thing in the beginning. It’s about in life that you’ve got to make decisions, and you can’t always be in the middle. When we did ‘Stay With Me,’ we were in the studio and had gone to dinner, and two friends of mine’s son committed suicide. And she wrote this absolute sad – I was crying – post on Facebook. I read this, and I wrote ‘Stay With Me.’ But ‘Stay With Me’ is also attributed to in life things you’ve lost, because you wanted it to stay the same and it just can’t – it has to be different now. And you want people to always remember those people who were around and existed. You want them to stay, but they had to go.”
BraveWords: What do you recall about the video for "Dirty"?
Vicky Starr: “We filmed that in Baltimore in a blue-collar area in a pipe-bending facility that has been around since the 1860’s. That day was freezing cold. It was a lot fun but it was a lot of work. I don’t think people understand that when you shoot a video, how much energy and time goes into it. I thought, ‘Oh…this is going to take two hours.’ No. It took nine hours! There’s a lot that goes into a three-and-a-half minute song when you do it right.”
BraveWords: What is the meaning of the band’s name?
Vicky Starr: “Signal 13 is a police call that means ‘officer in trouble.’ All of the members of this band have family members that were either in the military, police, or emergency responders. And we wanted to dedicate our band’s name to all these organizations that we support on a regular basis.”
BraveWords: Who are some of the band’s influences and how would you describe the band’s sound?
Vicky Starr: “Let’s start with the band’s sound. The band’s sound to me came together in the studio. We talked about ‘Who are we and what do we want to be?’ We started talking about our families and what we all liked together. We wanted to get the same imagination and fun of the metal and rock bands in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s era. But we wanted a modernized sound to it. I like to see people dancing to the music – I wanted a party-like atmosphere with high energy. And that is the type of music that we try to focus on. Because people stay engaged, and I never want them to feel like they just stood there for 3 hours. I want them to dance and get into it and feel good. Influences cover everything from metal to rock to punk to jazz to country. The different members of this band have played music in all these different genres. So, when you’re looking at actual bands – AC/DC, Metallica, Ronnie James Dio, Judas Priest, Tesla, Aerosmith. These are the bands that really influenced who we are and the sound. These bands have been around forever because songs live on and people sing them all the time. That is who we are inspired to be like. Their songs stand the test of time.”
BraveWords: Signal 13 has played shows with Kix and Great White.
Vicky Starr: “It was phenomenal. Their road crews taught us a lot – about how to quickly get on and off stage. Which was really different than anything we’ve seen – how fast they move. The bands, what they do to prepare and how they soundcheck, they were amazing to work with. Very cordial. They’re not typical rockers – everybody just works together. They were wonderful to be around and be friends with. They gave us a lot of encouragement. When you’re in front of those guys and you’re opening for them, you just pray that their fans will like you – and they gave us all great reviews. They were amazing to be with. We have dates coming up with Slaughter and LA Guns in September down in Florida, and we’re having dates rescheduled with Tesla right now.”
BraveWords: What are some of the band’s other future plans?
Vicky Starr: “Right now with the Covid virus being around, we are writing in the studio – getting ready to record some more music. We are hoping to be out on the road as soon as everybody is safe. And shooting our next video, for ‘All Fired Up.’”