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MUSIC DRIVIN-N-CRYIN : Loud, Not Jangly : Freewheelin', stealin', healin' mysticism from the road.

March 05, 1992|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Sad-N-Lonely, Smokin-N-Drinkin, Drunk-N-Stoopid, Drivin-N-Cryin, Armed-N-Dangerous, Shot-N-Killed, Over-N-Out. All of these bring a clear picture to your mind's eye.

But only Drivin-N-Cryin comes with a soundtrack.

They're the band from Georgia that doesn't sound like R.E.M. And they have neither a Grammy nor a comparable bank account.

Still, Drivin-N-Cryin will be at the Anaconda Theater Friday night. Local band Cinderblock will open.

Drivin-N-Cryin has been Drivin-N-Playin since their latest, "Fly Me Courageous," came out 17 months ago. They have four albums and an EP on Island Records.

Band brain Kevn Kinney also has an acoustic album he recorded with Peter Buck of R.E.M.

These guys know what a song should sound like--plenty of melody hooks, heavy on guitar, spiffy lyrics by Kinney--what else is there?

Maybe Fame-N-Fortune will be next. The lyrics urge the listener to wise up and think for himself, dumping on dumb love and pollution.

In a recent interview featuring some Dialin-N-Talkin, Kinney discussed his favorite band from his luxurious Seattle digs.

Are you guys on one of those endless rock tours?

Pretty much, although it's going great. We started our American tour in October, 1990, opening for Soul Asylum. We've been in every state at least three times. We just got back from New Hampshire working for the "Rock The Vote" organization trying to get people to register to vote. This will be the last of our American tour, then we'll be heading for Europe. "Fly Me Courageous" came out in September, 1990, and we have a lot of new songs since then.

So you guys must be rich rock stars by now, right?

Let me tell you about my rich rock star hotel room. This place makes Motel 6 look like the Ritz. Everything is laminated. There's no windows. I think it's a lot like the place Mike Tyson's going to end up.

Pretty cool name for a band. Who's to blame?

I used to have a punk rock band in the late '70s called the Prosecutors, sort of a Ramones type of band. One of our songs was called "Drivin-N-Cryin," and I just liked the name.

How 'bout those Braves? Are they going to do it again?

No, not this year. I think what really got them going last year was that they were always last for so many years. I think they'll do real well, but the Dodgers seem pretty strong.

How does Drivin-N-Cryin fit into the Southern rock tradition?

If you mean how are we like R.E.M.? I don't know. Really, Atlanta is no different from Seattle.

How would you describe Drivin-N-Cryin music?

Freewheelin', stealin', healin' mysticism from the road.

Has the band ever had a dream gig or a nightmare gig?

We've already had a dream gig when we opened for Neil Young. We had a nightmare gig one time in Juarez, Mexico, for some radio promotion. It looked like a place where people usually get stabbed. I'd prefer not to take the blame for a stabbing.

What was your strangest gig?

Well, the Juarez gig, or maybe about two weeks ago when we played at the Naval Air Station at Jacksonville, Fla. We played on the runway between the rocket car display and the Boy Scout Jamboree. We also played at a supercross race at that place the Raiders play in L.A., the Coliseum.

So what's the best and worst thing about being in this band?

The best thing is when you get on stage, man. The worst thing--there's so many worst things--let's see, waiting for a check at a restaurant. I mean, it's like "I've eaten my dinner. I'm done. Can I go now?"

Who started the band?

That would be me. I started the band in 1985 and we became the biggest local rock band in Atlanta. We got signed to Island Records in 1988, and here we are.

Who goes to see Drivin-N-Cryin?

Mostly working class people, but it depends on the region. Basically, we get one of everybody.

What's the most misunderstood thing about the band?

That we're a Southern folk rock band like R.E.M. We're not jangly. We're loud like Thin Lizzy or the Ramones.

If you guys were a movie, what would you be?

"Repo Man."

What do you do when you're not being musical?

I have two kids so I'm usually watching "Peter Pan" or "Fantasia."

Complete this sentence: It's only rock 'n' roll but--

--When the keg's empty, the party's over.

Why should people go see Drivin-N-Cryin?

Because we're great. Every show we play is different. We just pick out the songs as we go along; we probably have over 100 songs. We're playing about two songs off each album, most of the songs on "Fly Me Courageous," plus some new songs. It's just jammin', really powerful music, and we have a good message.

So can music change the world?

Nope.

* WHERE AND WHEN

Drivin-N-Cryin and Cinderblock Friday night, 9 p.m., at the Anaconda Theater, 935 Embarcadero del Norte, Isla Vista, 685-3112. Eight bucks.

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