A Canadian rock/post-grunge supergroup whose membership has been pulled from bands like Three Days Grace, Staind, Finger Eleven, and Art of Dying, Toronto’s Saint Asonia made their debut in 2015. Following a four-year gap and a handful of lineup shifts, the group resumed work with 2019’s Flawed Design.
Saint Asonia came into being when Staind guitarist Mike Mushok and Three Days Grace frontman Adam Gontier began writing together just after the latter split with his flagship band. Impressed with what they had managed to conjure up, the duo enlisted Eye Empirebassist Corey Lowery, and former Finger Eleven drummer Rich Beddoe to complete their initial lineup. Heading into the studio with producer Johnny K (Disturbed, Megadeth, Sevendust), the quartet began work on their debut long-player. Released in July 2015, the eponymous full-length Saint Asonia resembled the sum of its parts and was a success both at home, where it reached the Canadian Top Ten, and in the U.S., where it made a solid showing at number 29 on the Billboard 200.
Prior to their next release, Saint Asonia swapped out their rhythm section, with former Stainddrummer Sal Giancarellireplacing Beddoe and Art of Dying bassist Cale Gontier (who is also Adam Gontier‘s cousin) replacing Lowery. With their second lineup settled, the group recorded their 2019 follow-up, Flawed Design, for the Spinefarm label.
Kentucky’s Black Stone Cherry employ a fiery and uncompromising mixture of rootsy hard rock and post-grunge/heavy metal. The band’s 2003 self-released Rock N’ Roll Tape caught the attention of Roadrunner, which signed them after witnessing audience reactions to their endless touring. Their self-titled debut for the label appeared in 2006 to rave reviews from the rock press. 2011’s Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea was celebrated for its gritty attack on tunes such as “White Trash Millionaire” and “Killing Floor,” plus the swaggering honky tonk blues of “Let Me See You Shake.” After leaving Roadrunner for Mascot in 2016, they issued the back-to-basics crunch & roll of Kentucky. For 2018’s Family Tree, they recorded at the same studio as their debut. 2020’s Human Condition revealed new complexity in the band’s songwriting. Following the pandemic and a year of touring, Black Stone Cherry re-entered the recording studio and emerged with 2023’s Screamin’ at the Sky.
According to the bandmembers, none of whom were born before 1983, the lack of anything to do in their hometown, coupled with a rich musical background in their community and families, led them to start playing music. Lead vocalist and guitarist Chris Robertson met drummer John Fred Young (the son of Kentucky Headhunters‘ Richard Young) in school, and the two played music together throughout high school. In June of 2001, Black Stone Cherry officially formed with guitarist Ben Wells and bassist Jon Lawhon. They began holding shows at clubs in the area, and after a short while they gained a large all-ages following.