High school experience provides fodder for hit single from band that makes 'pop that rocks.'

Marti Dodson forged her musical path while still in high school, playing clarinet in the marching band. That love of music spilled over into college, where she picked up the guitar and was introduced to some like-minded individuals. That's how Saving Jane was born.

As the vocalist and main songwriter, Dodson quickly shaped the six-member band's "pop that rocks" musical direction.

On Dec. 17, Saving Jane's debut single, "Girl Next Door," entered the Pop 100 chart. It currently bullets at No. 86.

The song, from the album of the same name, is based on Dodson's high-school experience:

"She is the prom queen, I'm in the marching band
She is a cheerleader, I'm sitting on the stands
She gets the top bunk, I'm sleeping on the floor
She's Miss America, and I'm just the girl next door."

"We have a lot of female fans because of that song," says Dodson. "So many people seem to feel it so deeply. I didn't anticipate it being what it has become. I was just writing a story about me."

Aside from making a connection with listeners, the band's small indie label, Toucan Cove, has had a lot to do with the song's success.

"They really believe in our song and our music, so they're doing everything they can to make it successful," she says, noting that the label is also investing in its own future. "Obviously if anybody on the label becomes successful it helps the other acts. So if there was another band doing well that would hopefully bode well for me, and I hope that that works in reverse, too.

"The best part is seeing people out there getting into your music and singing along," she adds. "It's kind of like all of us are on this big rollercoaster together. Some people are steering in the front and the rest of us are in the back along for the ride."

All joking aside, Dodson is indeed in the driver's seat. She wrote or co-wrote every song on the album, and, as the only female member, she is also the face associated with Saving Jane.

"Mostly it's just me throwing my experiences out there and hoping that other people are feeling the same way," she says of the album's lyrical content. "I really, really like the lyrical style that the Indigo Girls use, and performance-wise one of my super heroes is Steven Tyler [of Aerosmith].

"Growing up I was very into '50s and '60s music. Until I was 11 or 12, that was about the only thing that I listened to," she adds. "I think a lot of that music is crafted in a specific way -- it's very hooky and very sing-along. And I think that shows up in a lot of what I do."

And let's not forget the marching band: "That's where I learned how to read music and where I learned what harmonies are. So that was really the foundation for me going into music," Dodson points out.

So what's next on the agenda for Saving Jane?

"Rock super stardom," laughs Dodson. "Or mini-stardom."