Seven months ago, A Dozen Furies were just another band you would catch playing in a dive bar and, looking up only briefly from your drink, note to yourself, "Interesting name."
Now, after besting North Carolina's Cynder in the finals of MTV's "Battle for Ozzfest" — scoring $60,000, a contract with Sanctuary Records and a slot on next year's Ozzfest second stage in the process — they've become the metal community's biggest overnight success story.
"We're a very new band. We only have one album. We've only been around for a year," ADF guitarist Marc Serrano laughed. "When we won and were jumping around on that stage, it was a huge relief. It meant we could get on with our musical careers, and it meant a new life for our band."
You can't blame Serrano for feeling a bit overwhelmed. After all, a year ago he was stocking shelves in his uncle's hobby store and spending his nights banging out tracks with the rest of the Furies — singer Bucky Garrett, guitarist Joey Turner, bassist Keith Reber and drummer Mike Miller. The band scraped together what little cash it had and recorded an EP, Rip the Stars Down, then hit the road in a crappy van, rocking crowds of dozens in the Midwest and South.
"Oh, man, we played one place in Lincoln, Nebraska, and nobody was there. I think the other bands on the bill were the only people there," Serrano said. "We played shows for five people. We did a tour for six weeks, and we got three hotel rooms the whole time. The rest of the time we were sleeping on a mattress in our van or on people's floors."
But now things are a bit different, to say the least. Currently on tour with Saliva, A Dozen Furies plan to stay out on the road for the foreseeable future ("We're road dogs," Serrano insists), launching a full-scale U.S. tour and logging studio time studio whenever they can. The plan, Serrano said, is to have a full-length album out before next summer's run on Ozzfest. And it's all thanks to winning a TV show they nearly didn't sign up for.
"We downloaded the contracts off Ozzfest.com, and they gave you little clues about it being on camera and stuff. And we were like, 'I think this is a reality show, man. Should we do it?' " Serrano recalled. "There were things going through our minds like 'Are people going to think we're some kind of band that lucked out and didn't work for anything?' And that's the biggest thing we worried about."
Now the bands' T-shirts are disappearing from the merch tables and A Dozen Furies' EP is constantly on the verge of being out of stock. Serrano said it's hard work trying to satisfy the public's demand for Furies swag ... a problem most bands would kill to have. And it's not like the band can just use some of that "Battle" prize money to silkscreen a few more shirts.
"We haven't gotten the cash yet. That was just a bunch of fake Benjamins in that case [they gave us on the show]," Serrano said. "But when we get it, yeah, we're going to set aside a bunch of it for the band, to make merch and get our van fixed. It's not like we're going to spend it all on some great vacation. There's no time for a vacation. For us, a vacation means going back on the road."