- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 9, 2003

Most cover bands are lucky to get one or two original songs in during a long night playing worn-out radio hits to local bar-hoppers. The Worry Stones, however, seem to have reversed the typical cover band dilemma; the Arlington band plays mostly original tunes, even at bars where new music is not looked on with favor.
"That's been our saving grace," says singer-guitarist Tim Metz, 27, via cell phone. "We kept searching for the perfect cover songs, but then people kept telling us that our original music was so much better than our cover music."
Gaining that kind of following has helped the Worry Stones become a rather familiar name to many local music fans and made them regular fixtures at Rock Bottom Brewery in Bethesda, Whitlow's on Wilson in Arlington and Fat Tuesday's in Fairfax.
They return to the dream venue for most local acts the 9:30 Club tomorrow night to open for another D.C. favorite, Virginia Coalition, lovingly dubbed VACO by fans.
The bands have been friends for the past few years and Mr. Metz says the group is certainly glad to see VACO's popularity rise.
"They're my favorite band, from the first time I saw them until now," he says. "They're great showmen and great musicians."
VACO's jam-heavy mix of rock, funk and even go-go is a good match for the Worry Stones, who tend to leapfrog across genres with a sound they've described as "rock 'n' roll with blues-driven guitar [and] pop hooks."
Mr. Metz lists Counting Crows, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles among some of his big influences, and fans often describe the band as sounding like Train, Blues Traveler or even the Dave Matthews Band. The influences can all be heard in the Worry Stones' music, but the group's pop hooks save it from being just a knock-off version of those bands.
This month the band will be celebrating its three-year anniversary with a new album due in March and a live album later in the year. Mr. Metz has been putting together bands since his high school days at Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, where he met the band's other guitarist-singer, Erich (who, like Prince, prefers to use one name only). The two played in a couple of other groups through high school and afterward, until the Worry Stones came together in January 2000.
The group also features Jay Rapoport on piano and organ, drummer Adam Dawson and bassist Jeff Nesmith (who joined the group a few months ago) all of whom are in their mid- to late-20s. All of the band's members are essentially full time, though many have part-time jobs or give music lessons on the side.
For Mr. Metz, it's a dream come true.
"It wasn't until I was 20 that I really started thinking that maybe I didn't have to have a career in something else," he says. "Since I was 6, I was in every chorus I was always singing."
The band released its debut in September 2000, only nine months after forming. Mr. Metz wrote most of the songs for that record, though he points out that many of the best songs were actually collaborations. Almost all the Worry Stones' new songs are group efforts, he says.
"We still have arguments," he says. "But now they're quick and short arguments, and we know where they're heading. We like to work in everyone's ideas. The music always gets better with more opinions."
The band's second album, due in March, has a tentative title, "You Don't Know What You're in For." It captures the band's live sound much better, Mr. Metz says, and should include many tunes that have been favorites in the local club scene.
The Worry Stones hope to hit the road in the coming year, building up the grass-roots fan base that is already fairly strong in the area. As for its second gig at the 9:30 Club, the band is already excited.
"It was phenomenal last time," Mr. Metz says. "With 1,200 people to play for, it's great. The crowd is really receptive."

A few days after Virginia Coalition and the Worry Stones hit the 9:30 Club, another band that used the grass-roots system to gain its big break will play the same stage. 3 Doors Down used one single the catchy "Kryptonite" to catapult itself from playing clubs outside Biloxi, Miss., to becoming one of 2000's hottest acts. They play the 9:30 Club Tuesday.
A rabid hometown following and repeated spins on a Biloxi radio station enabled the group to play such well-known venues as CBGB's in New York City, where the band first came to the attention of Universal Records.
A major-label debut, 2000's "The Better Life," netted two big singles, the aforementioned "Kryptonite" and "Loser," both of which are still on regular rotation at radio stations nationwide and made the group MTV favorites.
The band's second album, "Away From the Sun," came out in November, so it should be interesting to see whether 3 Doors Down will be around to stay or if they merely end up forever tagged as the "Kryptonite" band.

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