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The Noise (Rock Around Boston) June 2003 Issue #232

By: Kier Byrnes

The MockingBirds, hailing from Providence, Rhode Island, have been making a stir in the Boston music scene for years with their mix of power punk and good old roots rock. However, lately things have been quiet from the perch. But as April showers bring May flowers, it also bringts a flurry of new MockingBird material. The irony is that it technically can no longer be called MockingBird material.because the band has changed their name to The StereoBirds. I spoke with Heather Rose, the beautiful, talented, and very un-camera shy lead singer.

NOISE: So why is the band changing it's name?

HEATHER: The band has been working with Rusty Harmon -former manager of Hootie & The Blowfish- and Dick Hodgin, who produced our EP in progress. Things are getting serious for us so they urged us to get our ducks in a row. We couldnt' keep The MockingBirds because there were bands in the past and present with that name. So long story short, we're now The StereoBirds.

NOISE: Wait, did I just hear "Hootie & The Blowfish"? You guys aren't trying to be the next big cheesy frat boy band, are you? How did you hook up with this guy?

HEATHER: We showcased at the Nashville Music Conference late 2001. There I charmed Dick Hodgin, who produced the demo that got Hootie signed. Hodgin loved our sound, gave us a call, and that following April he recorded us at Raleigh, NC's Osceola Studios. Soon after, Rusty listened to the tracks, dug them and came to see us in Providence. That sparked more interest in our music and future. So I cant get into the legal end, but we will be working closely with him. I love the guy! He's like 6'8 or something! He's a great friend but damn I'm staying on his good side!!! It would be funny to see him pick up Kenny and just lob him somewhere though! And no. We will never be part of the frat music movement!

NOISE: You have a bunch of new stuff coming up. What's the deal?

HEATHER: We have a DVD and CD from the benefit shows put on at The Century Lounge and The Call. The CDC will include one new song called, Blackout and a short interview with us about our feelings on The Station Tragedy.

NOISE: That whole thing was very sad. Its good to see that you are getting involved.

HEATHER: We have played about five benefit shows and have many more to go. In conjuncti9on with the DVD, there'll also be a compilation CD released separately called The Call To Action: Benefit CD for Station Fire Victims put out by Liquid Blue. All proceeds will go to the Victims Fund.

NOISE: Very cool. YOu guys are a big RHode Island band, have you noticed any different trends in clubs there since the Station tragedy?

HEATHER: Yeah! Definately. Everything is stricter especially club capacity. But, damn, I'd rather deal with that than take the chance of another tragedy. There was and still is a decline in club attendance. The older crowd is paranoid that all rock bands use pyrotechnics and the younger crowd is being held captive by scared parents. All this will level off soon I'm sure, but believe me, it's still quite erie and painful around here.

NOISE: Have you ever played The Station?

HEATHER: We played there a few years back. It was more of a hard rock venue, but a great club just the same. My girlfriend and I live 10minutes away and were actually at The Station a week before this happened. We were watching my friend (now our new bass player) John Ronci's band VEJ. We were up that night and saw the special report as soon as it came on. It was horrifying!

NOISE: Were any of you personally affected by the tragedy?

HEATHER: We all were. You've heard of Six Degrees of Seperation? RI has Two Degrees, if that. I personally lost a good friend, 94 HJY DJ The Doctor. Our bass player at the time, Buzz Lyon, lost his friend Louie Alves. My friend Tim got out, but lost 3 friends.

NOISE: How are you dealing with this as a musician?

HEATHER: We play as many benefit shows as possible. We have one coming up May 30th for Nick O'Neill, the lead singer of Shryne. Tanya Donelly asked if we would play to raise money for a fund in his name. I recently was able to write a song about the tragedy. It was hard, but needed to be done.

NOISE: What other releases are coming up besides the benefit tracks?

HEATHER: Our song Nicole America will be featured on the two upcoming Local Mix compilations. They are selling one CD and releasing another in Decibel Magazine. We also recorded an EP in Raleigh, North Carolina last summer but have decided to release a song at a time pending contracts that are in the works. Why pay for our CD to come out when someone else might? Soooooo.... The StereoBirds have been very busy!

NOISE: What is some of your new material about?

HEATHER: Political tunes and break-up songs. The fact that Dubbya Bush is considered president put enough political turmoil in my soul to last 10 albums. The Runaways is about kids contemplating a move to Canada, Bush's coccaine habit and some other lovely commentary on the state of the Union. Songs, like Nicole America & Napolean are Generational rockers. Optimistic, That Girl, and Curls are our mean hearted break-up songs but this time they were written in a different vein. Instead of 'you ripped my heart out but I can't live without you', it's more like ' you ripped my heart out but I'm over it, much happier and stronger... so don't call me anymore.' All of course, done in a poppy manner so your parents can't figure out what they're about.

NOISE: Got to ask, as a singer, what do you think of the smoking ban?

HEATHER: I might not hold the popular rock n' roll opinion, but damn... I'm looking forward to it! Smokers have the civil liberty of choosing to smoke. Everyone has the right to breathe the cleanest air possible. Think of it like this: Say there is a drunk standing next to you. Hey man, that's cool, that's his thing. But what if the guy spills his beer down your back, on your head, all over your clothes? The point is, I don't smoke but my lungs and body feel like I do when I leave a gig. Singers shouldn't have to perform in a bubble and since punching someone who blows smoke in your face is not acceptable, perhaps the smoking ban is the only way to help the situation. Smoke all you want, away from my lungs and if I decide to drink, I won't pour it on you. I promise.

NOISE: Heather I loved that centerfold THe Noise ran of you a ways back. Pardon me but that picture was um, very titillating. what is it like to be a local rock sex symbol?

HEATHER: It's like being a national rock sex symbol, without the money! I just get a higher percentage of cat calls from constuction workers and frat boys. My mother raised me on unconventional advice at times. I have a very 'flaunt it while you got it, attitude because of that. Anyone who grew up with me knows how far from a 'sex symbol' I was. It's nice to be hit on and envyied by the same assholes who treated you less than, growing up.

NOISE: You think you'd do another Noise Centerfold in the future?

HEATHER: Of course I'd do a follow up shoot.

NOISE: Any ideas of how you'd top the last one?

HEATHER: I spoke to Catherine Carter, the great photographer who took that historic shot, and we thought it would be cool to have one with all the hot local female rockers together! I wonder if there would be a cat fight? Either way, I would love to do a follow up, not sure about the details. It would be fair though to see some male rockers show some flesh! You could stategically place your banjo, right Kier? And Pete from Quintaine Americana could do one wearing only his guitar and his truckers cap!

NOISE: Ha! Sadly, I think I'm more of a mandolin guy than a banjo guy when it comes to that. Hell, I could just as well hold a harmonica. Seriously though Heather, I've always admired the onstage fashion of The Mockingbirds. Not only do you guys play smooth but you look smooth as well. Can you give us some fashion tips?

HEATHER: I always thought a band should look like a band. It's what sets you apart from the audience.
NOISE: For example?

HEATHER:Cowboy hats good. Mullets bad. Big belt buckles good. Big guts bad, expecially on girls who wear half shirts.

NOISE: Or girls who have really noiticeable passion trails all the way up to their belly button.

HEATHER: Oh, yeah. Also leather or vinyl pants are great but wear them with caution. Remember to dust with baby powder first or you will never get them off!

NOISE: What about the ever so common thong over the pant line look?

HEATHER: Absolutely not. You shouldn't be wearing any underwear!

NOISE: I like your thinking. What about leapard skin bed sheets?

HEATHER: Hmmm. Not sure. Yes I suppose.

NOISE: Awwright! Mirrors on the ceiling?

HEATHER: No they throw a glare on the camera lense.Be yourself. Figure out what works for you. Never listen to your guitarist and always accessorize with a matching jacket and an attractive date!


The MockingBirds, uh, I mean The StereoBirds, perform on 5/30 at The All Children's Theatre with Tanya Donelly for the Nick O'Neill Scholarship Fund. CD's featuring Nicole America from the Local Mix compilations are available at: And for more StereoBirds news and Heather Rose pictures, check out: