Take the lyrical integrity of The Clash, combine it with the high-energy, fearless-punk-sensibilities of The Sex Pistols, empower it with innovative future soundscapes of bands such as The Pixies and S.F.A and you’ve got an idea what S.T.U.N. is about. The four members of the band bring music back to its essence with volume, reason and movement to create new limits with EVOLUTION OF ENERGY, their Geffen/Interscope debut (June 24, 2003). It’s aggressive, dangerous, and volatile. But it’s not the 1-2-3-4 of the past; it’s punk circa 2003.
As a group, S.T.U.N. are unified in delivering a message, both through their lyrics and through their music. Some of the topics S.T.U.N. deal with on EVOLUTION OF ENERGY are the Government’s growing control of the globe through lies and deception, the healing power in finding your own answers, the warning of the trap of blind compliance, the cowardess and effect of judgment, and the celebration of love and chaos until equality is accomplished. Their name says it all: it’s an acronym for Scream Toward the Uprising of Non-Conformity. Influenced as much by linguist Noam Chomsky and author Daniel Quinn as they are by The Clash or Jane’s Addiction, S.T.U.N’s message is central to their music. “Our music is a call for unity and awareness,” says Neil Spies, guitarist and songwriter/lyricist. “When I grew up, every effort was used to force me to comply with the thought process that whoever was in authority was right – and that’s rarely the truth. We’re here to prove that if you are brave enough to fight adversity for what you believe in that you will have your own message to send that will enlighten the world.
“We’re not pushing opinions on anyone – everyone should question everything, and make decisions for themselves,” Spies continues. “We feel that we have a responsibility, though. When I was a kid, music saved and taught me you can’t feel more alive then when you are part of revolution. When we talk to the kids, they really seem to be starving for a band to fight the “play it safe,” fabricated passion state of the music industry right now. We are playing for them.”
The members of S.T.U.N. were equally absorbed by Jane’s Addiction, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Super Furry Animals, Pixies, and David Bowie. “We believe in melody, but these don’t feel like traditional melodies to me,” says singer Christiane J. understating one of the many distinctive elements of the band’s incendiary music. Produced by Sean Slade (Radiohead, Hole, The Cure, 60 ft. dolls, Sebadoh, Circle Jerks, Boo Radleys), and mixed by Slade and Paul Kolderie (Pixies, Dinasour Jr., The Lemonheads, Billy Bragg,) and Andy Wallace (Nirvana, At the Drive-in, Rage Against the Machine, Jane’s Addiction, System of a Down) EVOLUTION OF ENERGY is a record that runs on both adrenalin and free-moving intensity.
True to their no-frills aesthetic, the S.T.U.N. saga is short, sweet and to the point. Formed just under three years ago in Los Angeles around the uncompromising music and liberating message of Spies, the group’s members found themselves experiencing a process akin to creative osmosis. “There was a chemistry between us from the moment we met,” asserts lead singer Christiane J. “The challenge was to build on that and take it to the next level.”
“We played any where we could and every chance we got,” said drummer Bobby Alt. “We played parties, local clubs, and eventually, record company showcases. It was a quick, but natural progression, and what meant most to us was the music seemed to make an immediate connection with all different types of music fans.”
S.T.U.N. slowed down their lightning fast ascent long enough to carefully consider their choice of producer. “We chose Sean Slade because he had a real understanding of the bands that influenced us and how those influences came out in our music,” continues bassist Nick S. Recorded at Slade’s Q Division Studios in Boston over the proverbial forty days and forty nights, EVOLUTION OF ENERGY took shape quickly and decisively. “We came in totally prepared, mentally and physically,” says Spies. “The focus was on capturing as much of the sensory overload from our live shows as we could, while still using studio technology to bring out new aspects of music. Slade allowed just the right amount of improvisation and experimenting which I think is lacking in records these days.” Geffen heard the finished record, and signed the band to a deal in the Spring of 2002.
S.T.U.N. is political and thought provoking – all the while somehow instilling a unified, entertaining, celebratory atmosphere. Their audience crosses over the genre-divide: there are people who are into hip-hop coexisting with people who are into punk. You never know what’s going to happen next at our shows. They are never the same, that’s how it should be. S.T.U.N.’s live shows have been described as “sensory overload.” or, as Neil describes it, chaos. “It’s chaos with a reason,” he says. “It’s chaos that creates love and unity.”
“We’re still playing for certain audiences that have not seen our live show before,” Christiane adds. “So when we tour, people are in shock – and then there’s anarchy. On stage, I’m in freefall. I’ve never jumped out of a plane without a parachute, but that is how I would explain the feeling I get when I’m performing.”
“I don’t write about myself right now. I did everything I could to write about what everyone in the world is going through and could relate to,” says Neil. “There’s so much that I’ve learned. There’s so much I’ve come to understand. I got bruised going against the grain and not accepting things I knew were lies -- but I also found a beauty and an urgency in life from it, and that’s what S.T.U.N. is about living in the moment. We are just a moment away. 05.03