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August 07, 2003|Kevin Bronson, with Lina Lecaro and Jeff Miller

Driveblind hits the fast lane

Singer Terry McDermott glances in amazement at the scene on Sunset Boulevard, where a throng spills onto the sidewalk after the latest Viper Room show by the Scottish sextet Driveblind. "I was always told about the American dream," he says, "but I didn't ever think it would happen to us." It did -- in one whirlwind summer. Conceived 2 1/2 years ago in an Aberdeen, Scotland, basement "where the most expensive things were the posters on the wall," McDermott says, Driveblind built a strong following at home, wowed stateside scouts with their demo and signed a deal with A&M Records without Interscope Group chief Jimmy Iovine or A&M's Ron Fair even having laid eyes on them. But Driveblind's stage show (next up: Tuesday at the House of Blues) would only have sealed the deal. Imagine Travis with the anthemic muscle of U2 and the swagger of the Who, with a sprinkling of psychedelic guitars and keyboards, all anchored by McDermott's passionate vocals. "We pattern ourselves on what we consider classic music," the 26-year-old says. "We don't want to be a flavor of the month."

It hurts so good

Bruises, cuts and stitches are all in a day's work for S.T.U.N., a quartet who wowed crowds on this summer's Warped Tour with their unruly stage antics and audacious sound. The pulverizing, politically charged band makes its hometown return tonight, opening for Taproot at the Fonda Theatre -- if they make it in one piece. "I'm sore after every show," says singer Christiane J., known for climbing rafters, hurtling through the crowd and bashing into guitarist Neil Spies, bassist Nick S. and drummer Bobby Alt (who recently visited the ER after a particularly severe pileup). "But it's a good pain." The singer's tempestuousness may be the focal point of S.T.U.N.'s performances, but he says the messages about liberation, as heard on the debut "Evolution of Energy," are all Spies'. With rowdiness reinforcing revolutionary ideas, S.T.U.N. (whose name means Scream Toward the Uprising of Nonconformity) manages to be both chaotic and thought-provoking. "It's about not being suppressed by your job or society," says J. "Just celebrating being free and alive."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday August 09, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 34 words Type of Material: Correction
S.T.U.N. -- An item in the Buzz Bands column of Thursday's Calendar Weekend mistakenly said that the rock band S.T.U.N. would be performing at the Fonda Theatre that night. The concert is next Thursday.

3 guys, 3 flavors

Given Toluca Lake's reputation as a hotbed for B-list celebrity spotting, it makes sense that former Poison guitarist Richie Kotzen would stop by the same Starbucks where power-pop trio Louden Swain gathered to chat -- and that drummer Stephen Norton is the one to point him out. "[Stephen] came from a hair band background," singer/guitarist Rob Benedict says, describing the band's roots, "and [bassist Mike Borja] came from a college-rock, Replacements and R.E.M. background." Benedict's own tastes run the indie-rock gamut; he's currently obsessed with angular rockers Spoon. All three also admit to a deep-seated love of Cheap Trick, which explains the unabashedly catchy, riff-heavy rock on their self-released EP "Overachiever." The bandmates, who play the Troubadour on Tuesday, say their diverse backgrounds have helped them find a formula for the perfect power-pop song. "We find the hook first," Borja says, "and then put the edge around it."

-- Kevin Bronson, with Lina Lecaro and Jeff Miller

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