I'm With the Band
I’m With the Band: An Interview with Powerhouse Sticks ‘N Stones
It’s official: concert season is finally here and the drums are starting to beat yo! Stuff your scarves in the closet and break out the shorts and tanks, cause we’re ready to rock-n-roll with one of Neopia’s biggest bands. After a year-long hiatus, the Stones will be breaking the sound barrier from Kreludor to Maraqua and the fun is only just beginning. With new music out and a whole new outlook on life, this summer is going to be on fire.
The Stones made their way to instant stardom overnight after breaking in the newly unveiled Tyrannian Concert Hall in March of 2001. What started out as a simple garage band from the suburbs of Neopia, tickets for the band were selling out in less than an hour after they went up for sale. Singles like “Break Me Down Before I Drown” and “No Love Need Apply” became cult classics and life anthems for their legions of teenage fans. There hadn’t been such a breakthrough in music history since Yes Boy Ice Cream had gotten together nearly a decade before. “It was inspiring,” Moehawk’s lead singer Mo Dee commented after another one of the band’s sold out performances later that year. “It made me want to get off the couch and become a rockstar like Roo and the bunch. The money, the cars, the clothes, the babes….everything they touched turned into gold.” Until it all began crashing down.
After last year’s infamous arrest on the night of their Whirlwind Extinction tour finale, many were left wondering if this was also the finale of Sticks N’ Stones as well. The faces of Axle Roo, Sludge, Gruff, and Grizley glared out from the front page of newspapers worldwide after the band was arrested for trashing the penthouse suite of the five-star AstroVilla. The individual band members later received fines, probation, and were ordered to pay restitution, but the images continued to haunt them for months after the fiasco. Instead of breaking records on the charts, the band was now known for breaking things in concert halls and hotel rooms. Rumors began to fly that Grizley, Stones’ oldest member and drum player, was thinking about leaving the band to pursue a solo career of his own and to spend more time with his young but growing family. Lead singer Axle Roo brushed off the rumors by stating, “I’ll be the first to admit that maybe we’ve been burning the candle at both ends…but hey, all we need is a little time off to get ourselves back together, and we’ll be as good as new. You’ll see…”
The press speculated that this was the band’s final encore. Album sales were declining and the band was getting press for all the wrong reasons. Sludge, the band’s youngest member, was struggling to finish high school, and a report card leaked to the associated press showed him failing all of his classes. Photos of a haggard-looking Roo partying until dawn surfaced time and rumors financial ruin began to float after it was reported that one of his many Neohomes was being foreclosed on. Tabloids were screaming that Grizley and his wife of two years were throwing in the towel and getting divorced. Gruff, toted as the band’s prodigal son, had literally disappeared from the face of the earth and was spotted cooking in the back of Grundos Café. “We had come so far to just, like, have this carpet swept out from under us,” lamented Gruff, in disguise and casually glancing over his shoulder searching for photographers. “I couldn’t even go out of the house without being blinded by photographers and hounded for autographs.” The bandmates knew something had to give. The question was, were they willing to give it?
The band agreed soon after the arrest that something had to be done to save themselves from becoming one-hit wonders. The famous “candle quote” as it was later called, was followed by a year-long hiatus as the members fought to find themselves once again in the midst of sudden fame and fortune. “It was weird,” admitted Sludge, shaking his head slowly while glancing over at his petpet Acko Chomper. “For three years, were were like gods. And suddenly we were the scum of the earth and were fighting hard not to lose our sanity.” In the blink of an eye, the golden light that had ensconced the band members turned into a nasty thunderstorm threatening to release hail in a matter of seconds. “Here we were – we had literally grown up in front of millions, but at the same time were still the same old, bumbling idiots we had been in high school. Maturity wasn’t even a blimp on the radar. All I cared about was getting the next check, or the next house. Life became all about instant gratification and nothing was happening fast enough.”
However, a huge sigh of relief seemed to echo around the young men after they agreed to go on a hiatus. The band’s youngest member, lead guitarist Sludge, ultimately finished his high school degree, enrolled in college and got engaged. Roo went on a sabbatical to Mystery Island to do volunteer work and turned off all means of social media. The other members went on to get married and even had children of their own, but “Something was always missing,” nodded Gruff, glancing at a picture of the group from 2006’s Tyrannian Rock Fest. “We had to grow up together, away from each other. You can nurture a plant and lavish it with all the attention you can give it, but if the roots are rotting, you’ve got nothing.”
So to the delight of the hundreds of thousands of fans worldwide who grew up on the Stones, the band is finally getting back together this year and releasing new music. “It’s going to be a blast from the past,” states Roo as his bandmates nod in agreement. “We’re going back to the beginning, and doing this the way we used to. Play hard, but work harder. The fans are going to be blown away.”