Danny Martinez – Five 13

S. M. W. – OnOne

Tonight I sat down with Danny Martinez of Five 13, a cover band that has been sucessfully playing the Denver music circut for the last decade.  Recently they have started playing more original material at their shows.

Five 13 rocked the house playing covers of ALice in Chains Man In The Box, Buckcherry’s Crazy Bitch, The Scorpions Rock You Like A Hurricane, just to name a few I saw in the short time I was there.  After their set, we sat down and had a very candid interview….

OOO: What is new with Five 13?

DM: “We have put out a c.d. of original songs by Five 13 called Unbreakable, we are trying to tour more globaly and get our music out there to new listeners.”

OOO: How and why do you pick the songs that you choose to cover?

DM: “It depends on the crowds.  We try to be a balanced mix of old and new rock.”

OOO: Where did the name Five 13 come from?

DM: “When we first started out as a band, we wrote down a few choices and the guys at the time liked my suggestion of Five 13, I didn’t tell them then that it is my birthdate.”

OOO: Why did you choose to start doing more original material vs. cover songs?

DM: “The fans started asking for it, so we sat down and started writing and it all just really flowed well.”

OOO: What are some memerable high and low points for the band?

DM: “I can’t think of any low points in our nine years together,it’s all been pretty good.  We are really fortunate to be able to do what we love for a living.  The summertime is deffinatly a high point for us,we can expand our market and we get to travel to different outdoor gigs like Toadstock in Nebraska, Sturgis at One Eyed Jack’s.”

OOO: How has the bar and club scene changed in the last ten years?

DM: “I think it’s changed due to strickter D.U.I. laws,the economy, and the amount of bands that are consistantly doing it on a consistant basis.  I think that’s the ebb and flow of people coming into the bar.  We’ve been fortunate enough to be around for nine years, we have a huge fan base, so we can bring people in four nights a week to fill up for a house gig Tuesday through Thursaday and the weekends take care of themselves.  I think those are the two main factors that occur in the bars as a business, and that’s the only change that I have seen, the amount of people that come in on a nightly basis.”

OOO: How has music changed in the last ten years?

DM: “I think just the accesability of it.  I think with You Tube, I-Tunes, just the accesability of things on the internet that the music industry has changed.  I don’t know about music itself because music evolves, it is the same but it changes but it’s the same.  I think the way people get their music and the accesability and how easy it is to get music these days has changed a lot.  I’m sure it’s way different than when I started out in ’88, and said “I need to go to L.A. to make it big.”  It’s way different than that now, so I’m sure that that has a lot to do with it.”

OOO: What are you feelings on music downloading?

DM: “You know, it is what it is.”

OOO: You’re not all Metalica on us are you?

DM: “No, I mean it’s gonna happen either way.  Technology is gonna evolve as it is and it’s just gonna happen.  You can’t fight it, cause you’re not gonna win.  You either find a way to make it work for you, and you know what, to be honest with you we really have.  How do we get the word out about our shows- through the multimedia outlets like Twitter accounts, text messaging, all those things and it’s made a direct impact.  It used to be where you would go staple flyers on telephone poles around town, but now you’ve gotta use those things to your advantage to bring people into the bar and increase our revenue.  So we try to learn those things and not bypass them.”

OOO: How hard do you push yourself?

DM: “I think we push ourselves pretty hard, I mean we play a ton of shows every year. “

OOO: That’s a crazy schedule.

DM: “It is a crazy schedule but after working a day job six days a week, this a joy.  To be able to do what you love to do and get paid for it.  We basically run this as a small business and as with any small business, you have to do those things to keep it going.  It’s a different way to look at it.”

OOO: Why has Five 13 succeeded as a cover band in a field where so many others have failed?

DM: “I think consistancy, you have to find members that wanna work and have the same goal.  So everyone in this band has the same goal- we do this for a living.  So the biggest part of it is we never turn down a gig.  If an extra gig comes up, we’ll take it.  If a Sunday gig comes up, we’ll take it.  We’ll do a mountain gig during the day and come back down here and finish a gig in the night.  We have four members that are consistantly wanting to work and that’s the biggest part of why we have been successful, and the other part is that we took every gig possibly when we started out cause we wanna get in front of as many people as possible.  I think a lot of bands a afraid to put in the hard work of doing that, they expect to just walk in and make a ton of money and it wasn’t that way.  WHen Jack and I started this band we took in only like $300.00 bucks a night, but we took everything we could get, and eventually nine years later we are in a posistion where we can do this for a living.  I guess if you wanna do this for a living devotion and hard work are the biggest keys.”

OOO: What are your musical and non-musical influences?

DM: “Musical influences, I think we are all children of the 80’s, you know we all grew up listening to hard rock and heavy metal and that’s where are influences are.  Probably me more than anyone else in the band, listens to more modern music, I get into it I still go to concerts, I’m still a fan and I’m still inspired by that.  Non-musical, everybodies into different things now, we are all at a different place in our lives than we were in our 20’s and we wanted to be in a rock band.  So I guess everyone’s got their little thing they are into.  Some people are into politics, some poeple are into sports.  But as far as music goes it’s still rock, AC/DC and Iron Madien that get you going.”

OOO: How do you handle a mistake while playing live?

DM: “You just keep going, you ignore the looks from the other guys, cause they’ll let you know, “You fucked up!”  But you just gotta keep going.  I think you were here for a couple of them, you just gotta keep plowing through them.”

OOO: You carried them out well.

DM: “Yeah, we tried to.”

OOO: What does the future hold for Five 13? Plans, goals?

DM: “Probably more original music, maybe another recording.  But I think the biggest this, like I told you earlier, is expanding our market.  I went to Vegas and saw some things out there and said there is no reason why we can’t do those things.  So we’ve made some contacts and we will be trying to persue that, expand the market.  Every now and then you get the chance to do those really cool things like we got to open for Cinderella, that was awesome, my heros growing up.  Howard’s been a part of a few of those things, I got to sing with Stephen Pearcy and hang out in a hotel room with him, that was awesome.  Every now and again you get to do those really cool things if you hang in long enough.  That’s what we look forward to, those rare things that you get to do that make it all worth it.”

OOO: If music had failed, what would have been your fall back career?

DM: “You know what, I would have been an english teacher.  That’s what I was going to school for.  If music would have failed, that’s probably what I would have done.”

After seeing this band live and talking to Danny about their consistancy, I have no doubt in my mind that they will be expanding their market leading the way for endless possibilities in the future!

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