Rock band Saving Jane is fronted by Marti Dodson, a rocker chick with a throwback vibe to the likes of Patty Smyth or the Wilson sisters. She's sexy, but she also writes great songs and sings them with conviction. Saving Jane's new album, One Girl Revolution, is full of hooky songs and may just stick in your head for months. We talked to Dodson recently about the new album, answering to the name “Jane,” and why it's better to be on an indie label.
Bullz-Eye: So, One Girl Revolution is your third album. And you guys are back on Toucan Cove?
Marti Dodson: Yes.
BE: So what ultimately happened with Universal?
MD: We had basically a one-album deal with them. And when we went with them, we were kind of hoping things would turn out differently, and they really didn't. So, it was a mutual parting of ways.
BE: And you guys sold 100,000 albums?
BE: And that wasn't enough for them?
MD: Well, it was kind of…I don't want to talk badly about anybody. We didn't feel like they gave us the kind of attention that we needed, and we couldn't really do the things that we wanted. So we wanted to go back to being indie and they didn't have any kind of issue with that. So…
BE: So that's good for you guys then?
BE: And you sold 100,000 and I saw that you also had 600,000 downloads of “The Girl Next Door” song.
BE: Did you ever think that you would achieve that somewhat overnight success?
MD: No, I mean I think it's something that you always hope for, but it still doesn't feel like we're actually talking about me (laughs).
BE: Right. And how did Toucan Cove find you guys in the first place?
MD: Toucan Cove's president had some kind of business relationship with our manager. And he had spoken to them about us a few times and they decided they were interested.
BE: Do you still have the same manager?
BE: And who is that?
MD: Mark Liggett
BE: I've heard of Mark. So one thing I noticed about this album, like your last one, is that you guys really know your way around a hook, and there are some really great songs on here.
MD: Oh, thank you!
BE: You're welcome. So what are the influences that help shape your songwriting?
MD: I think I've just gotten better at it as a craft. I've started to realize that songwriting is such a personal thing to me. No one could ever tell me that it's not great or it's not perfect or whatever, and I started to realize that it's not just my journal entry, that songwriting is a craft. And I just tried to pay closer attention to what I was doing and how it was going to be palatable to people other than myself.
BE: OK, so who are some of the bands and artists that have been influences in your career?
MD: I've always been into a little bit more old-school stuff. I love Fleetwood Mac. I think they had fantastic pop songs in their time. I love Aerosmith. I love….and I'm trying to think of who else as songwriters…I love the Indigo Girls.
BE: And are you the main songwriter?
BE: And does Pat (guitarist Pat Buzzard) co-write with you?
MD: On some songs. There are basically two songs on this album that I fully co-wrote in every sense of the word -- lyrics, music and everything. And then everything else I completely wrote myself, or I wrote with Pat, or I wrote music with someone else and wrote the lyrics.
BE: In the press release, you talked about not really wanting to be a sex symbol, and you're probably going to have to fight that constantly.
BE: What message would you like to convey to aspiring young women making rock music?
MD: I don't think there is anything wrong with being aware of your sexuality. But I don't think that is anybody's only selling point. And so I think you should just be aware and pay attention to everything you have to offer, and don't let anybody put you in a box.
BE: Right. Do you get people constantly wanting to call you Jane?
MD: Oh yeah, (laughs) I answer to it now.
BE: And what is your favorite track on the new album and why?
MD: I like them so much for different reasons. But probably my favorite song is “What I Didn't Say.” Just lyrically I'm in love with that one and it's fun to sing live because it's a real rocker compared to some of the stuff I've done in the past.
BE: And that's another thing I noticed. The last album had more acoustic stuff on it than this one.
MD: Yeah. We've actually sort of come full-circle. I would say we started with more of this sort of sound, and got pushed a little bit into the acoustic thing. Which is fine because we like all different kinds of music. But now it's come back around to the rock sound that we all love.
BE: Was that one of the things with Universal, trying to make you more acoustic based?
MD: I just don't think they knew what to do with us. (laughs) Because we have so many various influences and things that we like.
BE: (laughs) I don't think they know what to do with a lot of bands.
BE: That's true for any major label, really.
MD: Yeah, no kidding.
BE: If you had to compare Saving Jane to someone who has never heard you before, what would you say?
MD: What I get a lot is Alanis Morrisette, which I think any female artist that has a plugged-in guitar gets. Everybody thinks Alanis.
BE: And what kinds of plans are in place for radio and touring for this album?
MD: Actually it's funny that you mention that. Tomorrow is our first day of radio. It's pretty exciting. The first single is going for Top 40.
BE: That's awesome. What is the first single?
MD: “One Girl Revolution.”
BE: Great. And touring, is that not in place yet?
MD: Yeah, it's starting to come together right now. It was hard to get anybody to look at us before we had the single out and the album and everything. That's all in the works right now.
BE: And what would your idea of a dream tour be?
MD: Oh gosh. For all of us in the van, it's different. So we sit around and daydream about who would be our favorite tour. As far as somebody current, I think we would fit well with a band like The Fray. I think our audiences are real similar.
BE: And you've played with them before, haven't you?
BE: Yeah, I saw that you've opened for some pretty big names.
BE: Who is like the coolest artists that you've opened for?
MD: I'm a huge Pink fan, so that was cool just for me. She kind of does what I feel like I've always tried to do, which is that she doesn't just sell her image. She's not afraid to say what she thinks, and I love that.
BE: Absolutely. Do you guys still live in Columbus?
MD: Yeah, we do.
BE: Are you a Buckeyes fan?
MD: Oh yeah. I'm a huge Buckeye girl.
BE: So what did you think about this past year?
MD: Year of the Florida Gators? (laughs) It was a heartbreaker, but we had a fantastic season up until then in both football and basketball.
BE: Yeah, hopefully they can both do something next year.
MD: Yeah, I guess you just take what you can get.
BE: OK, that's about all I've got. Do you have anything you want to add or plug on Bullz-Eye?
MD: I guess you could just say that the album is coming in July.
BE: What is the release date?
MD: As of right now I think it is the 24th but I don't think that's set in stone.
BE: OK, I'll check with John on that then. Well great. I appreciate your time, Marty.
MD: Great. Thanks so much.