By Bobbi McCollum
“God, you got a good rip,” Riz Story, lead singer of Anyone, says after watching a newbie take the biggest puff of her life.
In the Anyone Den (aka the RV parked outside of the Ranch Bowl), Story lounges in his modern retro threads and reflects on the night’s performance while teaching a rookie how to get high.
“Those kids that were sitting there, they didn’t know how to react,” he says. “But I know from experience that they were going, ‘Whoa, this is f*cking trippy.'”
Story has performed for motionless, jaw-dropped, blank-faced audiences before and says: “It’s like meeting a new chick; you might meet someone you’re really, really down with and you don’t completely throw yourself at them. You might actually play it mellower than usual. Play hard to get or whatever. Audiences sometimes play hard to get.”
Thus far in Anyone’s history, the band *got the audiences. Back at home in Orange County, Calif., Anyone’s heavy psychedelic sound, dubbed “maximum acid,” blew up on the music scene. The band’s Jane’s Addiction/Pink Floyd-inspired music and visually intense light shows result in more of a festival atmosphere than of a concert.
“I would have these warehouse parties with naked girls dancing and free joints,” Story says. “There was nobody doing anything like it.”
It wasn’t long before the trio — Story, Jonny Ransom (drums) and Static (bass) — was selling out shows.
Upon achieving notoriety at home and signing a record deal with Roadrunner Records, Anyone set off to play for crowds of thousands at every major festival in Europe.
“We were kind of spoiled with the reception in Europe,” Story says. “We we’re something big-time over there.”
Although they are currently back in the states touring and playing for modest crowds, Anyone’s popularity is growing. After entering the CMJ charts at #170, the band’s self-titled album jumped 40 spots in one week to #130. Now entering the third week on the chart, the album is at #108 and is expected to reach the top 100.
Story attributes his recent success to think time in the past.
“I was brought up by parents who were pretty well off, just surfing and smoking bowls in a killer Southern California town,” Story says. “I had a lot of free time to think shit over and work my shit out. The Hindus would say that’s a gift from past lives spent doing the right thing.”
After spending several years homeless, Story came to the conclusion that the world is “backwards and insane,” resulting in a decision on how to handle his music career.
“Let’s say you have something pure and real and cool to begin with,” Story says. “You go out and say, ‘O.K., I got something cool and very pure and real — f*cking real — the goods, and now I want to get it out there.’ Immediately I have to start changing it a little bit, so that people will be able to get it. You make it a little less pure and a little less pure. And the more people you want to reach, the more you have to make it into something it really shouldn’t have been.”
Although Story realized that successful bands make sacrifices, he never did.
“I just said ‘F*ck it,'” Story says. “I’m just taking the long road. We’re just going to do real music and we’re going to be as subversive as we want to be and say what we want to say and it worked out fine because … I end up making it anyways.”
As Story finishes his sentence, he glances across the table at the baked novice and laughs.
“I think you got a little stoned judging by the looks of you,” he says. “We’re teaching the world how to get high. We’re getting them high with our music.”