| by ALI OWENS |
“We were the six o’clock band – we figured nobody was going to see us,” Johnny Bones, lead vocalist for the up-and-coming horror- rock quartet 13 Nails, tells me, recounting the band’s experience opening for the legendary Wayne Static of Static X.
“There were about ten people in the room when we got there,” Grey Jones, guitarist, adds. “Then we came out on stage to see this huge crowd, and it was just this glorious holy shit moment – where did all these people come from?”
“It was about that point we realized we were in it,” says Johnny. “That show was what snowballed everything.” Snowball – or avalanche? Although 13 Nails is a relative newcomer to the Colorado music scene, their impact speaks volumes. The band formed in 2012, but Johnny tells me they spent a year developing their sound before ever booking a show. “We didn’t want to say, hey, we’ve got six songs, let’s go play now. We spent a long time trying to gure out what this was going to be. We wanted to do it right.”
And that’s exactly what they’ve done, if their ever-growing fan base, prominent social media presence, and multiple sponsorships are any indication.
Alongside Johnny and Grey, 13 Nails includes Joshenstein on bass and Mark Girard on drums – and their connection runs deep. They’ve been in and out of bands together for a decade, and they’re a self- described tight-knit family in which each member is irreplaceable. “As di erent as all four of us are, we mesh really well.”
You only have to listen to a few songs before you realize that 13 Nails has a sound like no other on the local scene – a fact which hasn’t always been advantageous, as promoters have had a hard time categorizing the band. “Starting out, we had a lot of difficulty with that,” Grey says. “Punk, death metal – we don’t really fit into either of those genres. These guys say we’re too hardcore, and these guys don’t think we’re heavy enough.”
“No one really knew where to put us,” agrees Johnny. “Once we started doing the national stu , though…now people know what they’re getting into.”
Just what are they getting into? It’s rock with an edge; metal with a groove. It’s lights, props, makeup and masks. The band has been widely in uenced by horror films, and this is apparent in every aspect – including the visual nature of their performances. Their upcoming album American Grindhouse, due for release this spring, will fully embody their signature style – and their shows aim to raise the bar. “We’ve got marquee lights. We’ve got skeletons. A movie release poster on stage – that’s what we’re hoping is going to come to life.”
This band has big ideas – and, it turns out, the business acumen and dedication to back them up. “We work hard,” Johnny tells me candidly. “We’ve only taken one week off since 2012 – because I was getting married and I had very specific instructions.” Everyone laughs. “And, you know, it’s difficult. But it’s all worth it. There’s been nothing we can’t overcome.”
So, having achieved notable success on the local circuit, where do they want to go from here? Everyone agrees it’s all about moving forward. “You’ve got to think big. We want to do this for a living.”
That’s hardly a farfetched idea for a group of people as talented and driven as this. Keep your eyes on 13 Nails, music aficionados – they’re not going anywhere but up.