(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Lead Journalist/Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
Starting out under the name of MK Ultra, the Atlanta, Georgia-based band would eventually undergo a moniker alteration to doubleDrive (abbreviated as dD) in 1996.
After winning the award for Atlanta’s “favorite metal/extreme” band in 1998, doubleDrive eventually signed with MCA Records where they released their first studio album for the label in 1999, titled 1000 Yard Stare. The album produced one single, “Tattooed Bruise“, which peaked at No. 22 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. The 12-song LP also included a hidden track, a fantastic version of Wall Of Voodoo’s “Mexican Radio“.
The southern-infused mix of alternative and hard rock with nuances of numetal quickly put dD on the musical map. The quintet of singer Donnie Hamby, guitarists Troy McLawhorn (Seether, Dark New Day, Evanescence) and Adam Sherman, drummer Mike Froedge and bassist Josh Sattler quickly rose among the ranks. They landed support slots on large-scale, respectable tours with the likes of Megadeth and other well established acts.
Hoping to capitalize on their moment in the spotlight, doubleDrive quickly went to work on a second record with producer John Kurzweg (Godsmack, Hurt, Jewel). However, at some point the band parted ways with MCA Records and the completed album went unreleased at the time. Going to work shopping the album around, the band was eventually picked up by Roadrunner Records.
In 2002, dD re-entered the studio with producer Michael Barbiero to remix the album and record new songs. This resulted in the 2003 release from the guys, the aptly titled ‘Blue In The Face’. The more melodic direction of the music was partly due to a lot of blues influence in the songs themselves. The album peaked at No. 43 on Top Heatseekers while a single taken from the album entitled “Imprint” reached No. 22 at Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks on Billboard’s charts. doubleDrive continued to tour with a wide array of bands that included Stereomud, Sevendust and Kid Rock.
For whatever unpublicized reasons, doubleDrive decided to disband in late 2003, which they did in 2004. Singer Donnie Hamby went on to do DVD work, assisting with Sevendust’s ‘Southside Doublewide Acoustic Live’ and ‘Next’ DVDs, as well as working with numerous other Roadrunner artists.
Drummer Mike Froedge owns his own studio in Atlanta called Open Sky Studio where he began producing, engineering and playing with various recording artists. He would start another band, Speed X, with dD bassist Josh Sattler and guitarists Mike Stone (ex-Queensryche) and Nick Catanese (ex-Black Label Society). dD‘s Troy McLawhorn’s own impressive resume was referenced earlier.