When Los Angeles punk provocateurs S.T.U.N. take the stage, bring the Bactine. The fearsome foursome are so energized they often wind up swinging their guitars into each other, colliding into monitors or conking their heads on the floor.
"During the Warped Tour, I slashed my leg so deep, I could see the bone," singer Christiane J. said. "It's just so freeing when we play that I don't want to compromise it, and things get in the way. But it's OK. It's fun to bleed and sing sometimes" (see "S.T.U.N. Count Down To Revolution").
Another time, Christiane dove through drummer Bobby Alt's drum kit and seriously bruised the drummer's ribs. And once, guitarist Neil Spies took an instrument to the head, but played on, ignoring medical advice to get five stitches to close the gash.
S.T.U.N. brought the same sense of unhinged chaos to the video for "Annihilation of the Generations," which was directed by Joakim Ahlund, who has also worked with Refused and Thursday.
The video blends shots from the band's tours with Jane's Addiction and the Used with performance footage from a Hollywood soundstage. And Christiane put his own crimson stamp on the afternoon shoot.
"I split my head open when I smashed into a cameraman," he said proudly. "He had a foam piece on his camera, but there was no foam on my head, and it wouldn't stop bleeding. So I had to go get it stitched up and then I came back and finished the shoot."
Revolution rarely happens without bloodshed. S.T.U.N. (which stands for Scream Towards the Uprising of Nonconformity) have the latter part down, and now they want to make sure that fans get the messages they're trying to convey. Evolution of Energy isn't just a powerful rock album, it's a manifesto for political change.
"I think control and capitalism and imperialism are things that are killing our world," Spies explained. "We're not learning why other countries hate us and why other people are having huge amounts of famine. We're just trying to control the world, and I think the results of that are pretty obvious."
Along the road of nonconformity that S.T.U.N. are screaming about, the bandmembers have had some pretty memorable experiences. They've even gotten to hang out with their heroes in Jane's Addiction, whom they opened up for last December.
"We were backstage, and we really wanted to meet them, and their manager said, 'Oh, just go up the stairs,' Christiane recalled. "So we went up, and there's Perry [Farrell] sitting with the guys and he's got a bottle of wine in his hand. And he says, 'Hey guys, come on in.' We drank and talked, and they had drums set up, so Bobby and [Stephen] Perkins started playing [the Go-Go's] "We Got the Beat," and Perry and I were singing. That was just amazing."
Currently, S.T.U.N. are on the road with Marilyn Manson. Starting November 1, they'll start touring with Chevelle, then on November 16, they open for Vendetta Red through the end of the year. For the band that likes to bleed, there's no end in sight.
"We want to stay on tour as long as we can and reach as many kids as possible," Spies said. "When the moment comes when fans are wanting a second record and we've done all we can out there, I'll probably go back into writing mode and we'll open some new doors and challenge some new topics."