WHO IS STUNTDRIVER
The LA-based performance-driven genre-bending rock spectacle known as STUNTDRIVER is not just a band. It is a torrid conceptual experience that is straddling rock and art crowds. With its “Diva” Knievel-style white racecar suits, gold/black helmets and painted faces, Janet Jackson-esque choreography, camp aesthetics of 80/90s music videos, nods to Star Wars, Wizard of Oz, & haunted houses and unabashed self-inquiry, STDR makes everyone feel like they’re on the same punk rock team together. But we’re not just talking punk rock here, STDR mixes industrial, electro, new wave/dance and even early 90s metal using howling, melodic vocals, bass-driven, barreling drums & dark synths interlaced with the occasional squealing guitar to accompany the visceral interaction of humans and things (think props like yellow sponges used to clean off new friends and life-size tunnels.) The adventurous undertaking is spearheaded by performance artist/music-maker/songwriter Kym Priess and collaborators include John Avila, the bassist from Oingo Boingo (co-music producer, live bass), Swedish programmer Anton Söder (co-music producer, live synths), theater artist Valerie McCann (actor) and Detroit drummer Jimmy Lucido (Nightmare Air, Electric 6, BangBang, The Strays).
STDR started as a wild, theatrical, immersive living album experience in which the audience travelled through the unreleased record, with individual “stations” dedicated to a song and a particular introspective, interpersonal theme. The concept album was performed via traveling singers, actors, backup dancers, and a double drumming six-piece band.
But since its conception, the adventurous act has honed itself into a sleeker vehicle for Priess’s ambitious musical vision with distilled concert venue versions but without losing the the multi-disciplinary, theatrical approach.
Pre-COVID outbreak, shows (including the cancelled SXSW ones) were taking on the form as a duo with just Priess and a drummer but expect to see Priess doing a lot of live streaming on her own in these next months.
Essentially, STDR is the retelling of the age-old epic battle between Light and Dark, referencing Star Wars and haunted houses while confronting society’s struggles/demons in an abstract, sarcastic and playful manner. The inferred dark side (a la Darth Vader) is represented by a character called “The Influencer”, clearly a biting critique of social media and politics, who makes blatant online appearances and is represented at live shows via projections or a quadriplegic mannequin prop. As a separate thing, Priess has a solo show she does which is a seminar of “The Influencer”s product called Nitecreme that supposedly disguises one’s flaws. Stay tuned for dangerous online content.
The Drivers (white-suited players) represent the “Resistance” or the good side. :)
Clearly this all relates to our current ever-changing status quo. In fact, one of the tracks on the record called “Battle Song” has the lyric ‘time needs to change.” And it sure is.
Barn-burner “Bad Bath” was the debut single along with an accompanying bombastic, surreal music video. It speaks to how we are all on this Earth together - how will we handle it.
The video for the single “Plastic Faces” will be coming out soon as well that Priess filmed alone in her garage with a red seamless backdrop, a mannequin and a roll of plastic.
The full concept album “The Saga” is due out in the fall and we will just see what torridly interactive form it will take - whether that be solo, as a duo or a full band again! Time will tell.
And in the meantime, this sci-fi-inspired performance art meets electro-rock band meets interactive, adventurous spectacle wishes you much health, love and joy!