by Logan Deiner
I feel I should come clean about something that may trigger some music fans. For the longest time, I was not a big fan of Tool. It might be that they are too tongue in cheek. Perhaps my brain cannot comprehend their genius. Regardless, I could never really get into Tool; that is until I heard their newest album, “Fear Inoculum.” Listening to it, I started to realize something. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Tool, I just didn’t like heavy Tool. The songs that casual Tool fans know best, like Sober, Schism, and Lateralus, are less atmospheric and more heavy, and I realized that Tool was able to pull off the former category more to my liking. Chad Lesch, founder of the band Stone Driver, is a big Tool fan as well and seems to agree. He brings some of that atmospheric rock influence to his own music. Recently, Stone Driver put out a few new music videos in collaboration with Neenah Gee on thecrossover.tv. The two artists collaborated on three different songs, playing together on Stone Driver’s Voodoo Woman and Cage, and a cover of Billie Eilish’s Bury a Friend.
Stone Driver is a band with a mix of influences. Chad Lesch takes inspiration from blues artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan. As a matter of fact, Chad credits Stevie as being the catalyst for performing music in the first place, saying, “I listened to the “Live Alive” album when I was 21, and that is what made me decide to pick up a guitar and play. From there I began to work backwards and look into Stevie’s influences.” Chad also mentioned Albert Collins, B.B. King, T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, and some progressive acts such as Michael Landau and of course Tool. Aside from founder Chad Lesch, who is also a producer, guitarist, and engineer, and Faith Hayden on vocals, other supporting members have changed over the course of the band’s history. New members include the permanent addition of Neenah Gee on backing vocals and keyboards, and well-known session and touring musician Larry Joseloff (John Kadlecik Band, The Jerry Tripsters, etc.) on bass. For their upcoming new album (“1Q20”), they will again be working with producer John Seymour as well as with Jason Everman on rhythm guitar. John Seymour is most famous for his Grammy win for his work on Santana’s “Supernatural” album and has also worked on albums with several other well-known artists such as U2, Alice In Chains, Jimi Hendrix, and The Dave Matthews Band. Jason Everman is also known for his time as both a member of Nirvana throughout the recording of their “Bleach” album and the supporting tour and Soundgarden with the Louder Than Love Tour, Louder Than Live concert video release, and the “Loudest Love” EP. Check out Stone Driver’s social media if you are interested in learning more about their new music and shows, as well as for further updates.
As part of the crossover, the first video that Stone Driver and Neenah Gee put out was a cover of Billie Eilish’s hit song Bury a Friend. The original song, much like Billie’s other works, is an alt pop song with a minimalist and somber vibe to it. It was written about the “inner monsters under her bed,” as she said in a January 2019 interview with Alternative Press. Stone Driver and Neenah Gee take a different approach instrumentally, but not so much as to distance it completely from the original. It utilizes the prog rock sound that Stone Driver is known for and adds a lot more energy, not just with their instruments, but with their performance as a whole. Faith Hayden puts on a stellar performance, with a powerful set of pipes that further adds to the passion behind this cover. She really gets into it, jumping and dancing around the set.
The following week saw the release of Stone Driver’s Voodoo Woman. The song was originally released last year on their “Chasing Demons” album. It is smooth, with a sexy funk rock feel to it, similar in spirit to Red Hot Chili Peppers or early Maroon 5. The version for thecrossover.tv is actually slightly different, as Faith did not originally record on the album version. Her vocal style is very different, sounding less funk and more like a ‘60s style lounge singer. Whether you have heard the song already or not, the video is worth checking out just based on that alone. The same praise can be given to the instrumentals as was given in Bury a Friend. A lot of fun is clearly being had on set, and the artists clearly enjoy what they are doing.
The last music video released was Cage, off of Stone Driver’s second album “Rocks”. Overall, this song gives off a Black Sabbath feel, complete with an Iommi style riff that is sure to get stuck in your head.
The future is looking very bright for Stone Driver. Not only have they recorded two new music videos, recruited several new bandmates, and are working with a Grammy award winning producer, but they are set to release a new album early next year, finally utilizing the additional musicians and experience at their disposal. They have been slowly establishing themselves as a legitimate force to be reckoned with, and hopefully their success will continue to grow throughout the years.
For more information about Stone Driver and their music, check out their official website www.StoneDriver.com.
Follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StoneDriverBand
You can also support them through Patreon, https://www.patreon.com/StoneDriverBand and listen to them on most major streaming platforms.
Logan Deiner is a writer and journalist who enjoys hanging out with friends and listening to music in his spare time. He enjoys most genres of music, and has a vinyl collection of over 500 records.