Saturday, March 25. Not this Saturday. That’s next Saturday, for those keeping score. The dRIVIN BEATS are taking the Guido’s Designated Music Area to bring their blend of retro rock to, as they say, “the CBGBs of Frederick.” Also of note: The performance will be in conjunction with the launch of a brand new music magazine in town called “Subversive.” And that promises to be worth checking out. But, anyway. Back to the band. We caught up with Kevin and Drew to talk about why music is supposed to be fun, who influences them the most, and why Frederick has something in common with Liverpool.
First, how did you get into music in the first place and how did the band come together?
Drew Starr: Music started for me when I was about 4 or 5 years old when I got a Ringo Starr drum set for Christmas. I have been hooked ever since.
Kevin Sefsic: I was inspired by early punk from the late ’70s. We happened to be united at a show where I was playing; it was unexpected, but we talked after and had the same ideas about music, so we decided to start playing together.
You guys seem to have a pretty neat schtick – how did that come about? The whole old-time rock and roll/‘60s vibe is both novel and fun, and it seems like you put a lot of thought into it. Was this the kind of band you always wanted to be in?
Drew: Music is supposed to be fun! Not a bunch of screaming hate. I remember going to dances as a kid in school, asking a girl for a slow dance, mostly getting turned down, but occasionally getting a yes. There is no better feeling in the world than a yes for a slow dance. Going to a musical performance should be a special occasion. It should be fun and the audience should want to dance. The groups of the ’50s and ’60s dressed the same, contributing to the appearance of togetherness. I like getting back to that – a musical performance. From a group, not just a bunch of guys who stepped off the curb. It helps create a party atmosphere where you can let your inhabitations down, put your wig on and ask that girl to dance.
Kevin: Yes, the bottom line is ’60s garage rock, mod fashion and dancing.
You once told the FNP that you believe Frederick is the new Liverpool. Can you expand on that? And where does that stand today, five years after you said it?
Drew: Well, we had to take a little break for about two of those years due to me being sent to California for my job. But Frederick has always had a lot of talent and now there are numerous places to perform. Most of them still want you to do a lot of covers, but not all of them. Frederick is really culturally growing and becoming more diverse. I think bands have to be diverse to appease the desires of an entertainment-driven culture. The dRIVIN bEATS write and perform original music, music that is fun, danceable and energetic and if that’s not good enough, I will come out into the audience and roll around on the floor for ya. What more could you ask for? Liverpool – yes, hardworking, and hard partying with a lot of talent. Frederick has a musical voice like Liverpool and I think Frederick is finally starting to realize it.
Kevin: We could use a few more unique original bands.
What’s your perception of the local scene currently?
Drew: There is a strong metal scene and classic rock scene, but we are looking for something more original.
Kevin: A lot of country bands and hair bands. We need more underground bands.
Drew: We are currently searching for more local original bands to perform with us. Dead Bird Pie will be making their debut with us on Saturday, March 25, at Guido’s. I can’t wait to hear them. I used to play in a band called Truman Sparks with Pie’s guitarist, Chris Pyper, who was – and I hope still is – the dirtiest, fuzziest sounding guitar player in Frederick.
Who are some of your major influences and why?
Kevin: Elvis, the Beatles, the Stones, and tons of obscure fun bands. Link Wray.
Drew: How did you know? Yes, the Who is a big influence. All that Mod wildness of the ’60s. Garage bands. High energy, originality, untamed fire, ’70s punk, power pop, rock–n-roll. For me, music is a sacred experience that puts me in touch with my higher self, unleashing the tension of the day and burning it in the fire of passion and creative expression.
Can you give us names of some bands we need to check out that we maybe haven’t seen yet? Who are you listening to the most these days?
Drew: I like; the Cry, Wild Billy Childish’s Buff Medways, and The Jackets. They are some of my favorite groups of the day.
In addition to what you have going on currently, what does 2017 look like?
Drew: The dRIVIN bEATS have currently taken up residency at the famous Zax Trax recording studio here in Frederick. We are partnering up with Zac and working on a new record. I would like to put it out on vinyl, as I think records are really starting to make a comeback.
What are some of your favorite venues to play and why?
Kevin: We really haven’t played in many places. We need to expand and find the right venue – Guido’s is a very special place.
Drew: Guido’s is the best place in Frederick to see alternative live music. Guido’s is under new management and they want to keep it as an underground music venue. Guido’s is the CBGB’s of Frederick and I love it.
What do you think is the most perfect song ever written and why?
Kevin: That’s a hard one. I don’t have an answer.
Drew: “New Rose” by the Dammed. This is the 40th year anniversary of that song’s release, which has the distinction of being the first punk song ever released.
And, finally, what can we expect from your upcoming show at Guido’s?
Drew: Well firstly the debut of the group Dead Byrd Pie will be reason enough to get off your keesters and come on out. But also, the first edition of Frederick’s newest fanzine, “Subversive,” will be available to all in attendance. The dRIVIN bEATS have a number of new songs we will be rolling out for Frederick’s general entertainment, including “Jump-In On Air,” “Radiation Baby” and a number of new groovy covers from the likes of Iggy Pop, the Who, the Cramps and even a number by Johnny Rivers. Grab your partner and come on out. It will surely be a twistin’ good time for all!
Kevin: It will be our best performance yet, we have some new tunes up our sleeves, so put on your most flamboyant outfit – let’s dance.