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!
PHOTO: MELISSA RAMIREZ
“Unique and has a great energy." - Mix-It-All-Up
"If Rocky Horror & Clockwork Orange had a baby and enrolled it in the future."- Robb McCaffree, Designer
"A Live action music video! Like being inside 10 music videos in under an hour!"
- Kim V, Event Producer
"...the almost operatic and dramatic performances of the band is critical to the existence of the dragon in you. Your heart pumps, but gently...The raking vocals and punk growls, wake you up to the savory goodness of the band. Kym Priess is your gal, and she’s here to rip your face off. You like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, PJ Harvey, NIN? You’ve come to the right place." - Come Here Floyd
“Very aggressive, full of emotions and feelings. It seems like there are many influences indeed.”
- Synths of Eden
ABOUT KYM PRIESS
Kym Priess (aka “Tomahawk”) is an adventurous, bold creator, musician, singer, actor, on-camera host and performance artist living in Los Angeles whose creations are highly influenced by the Wizard of Oz and the art of drag and disguise. Her work pushes boundaries, forms and comfort levels yet maintains a playful, whimsical and curious tone and has been seen in galleries, theaters, non-traditional locations and federal prisons globally. Priess has been described as “critical to the existence of the dragon in you” (ComeHereFloyd) and earned comparisons to Siouxsie Sioux and Joan Jett (LA Buzz Band’s Kevin Bronson). Fun fact: sang on William Shatner’s record “Spirit in the Sky.” Other current irons in the fire include: a rock’n roll fitness web series called “Tomahawk Training” and a virtual talk show/variety hour called “The Tomahawk Outlaw Hour.” KP is from Austin, Texas, loves tubing down a river, frozen margaritas and actually, really wants to be a stuntwoman.