Ma Driver

Ma Driver


Heavy Electric Southern Soul!


Staying true to one’s roots while remaining contemporary is not always easy to do. Ma Driver’s roots run deep as well as far. With members from St. Louis, Tulsa, and North Carolina, having an age range from 24-32, Ma Driver manages to combine real rock -n- roll with great songs and a youthful energy that keeps propelling them forward. The seeds of Ma Driver’s musical tree were planted almost 3 years ago when singer/songwriter/guitarist Zak Perry met guitarist Vern Vennard in New York City. Zak was working on a solo project that was being produced by former Sony/550 artist Tim Beattie of the national group ‘Marry Me Jane’. Vern was Tim’s roommate at the time and got to know Zak through many late night acoustic living room jams. They clicked instantly. “I remember being totally amazed at this young kid’s musical knowledge,” Zak remembers with a laugh “he would tell me things about bands that were around before he was alive! Here’s this North Carolina kid livin’ in the big city who can’t wait to get in a van and work like he’s in Lynyrd Skynyrd."

Vern, at the same time, couldn’t believe what he would hear when he listened to the rough mixes that Tim would bring home. “I stood in my room with the first song playing and said out loud, ‘That’s exactly how I want my band to sound!’ He has this incredible talent to write songs that say what we’re all feeling but can’t put into words.” The two soon started to work together and became fast friends.

After a short move to Memphis, the two ended up in Perry’s old stomping ground, St. Louis. Zak had a long performing history there, so they set out playing acoustic gigs and looking for the other members of the band they’d envisioned one and a half years earlier. Neither thought it would be difficult given Perry’s reputation and their combined writing and playing ability.

Drummer Jason Charron had just returned from Tulsa to his hometown of St. Louis. A member of the band whose demo Vern was producing put the two in touch and Jason came down to see the band. “Vern had said they were really looking for a combination of John Bonham and Charlie Watts, and when I saw them play I thought that I was certainly closer than who they had.” recalls Jason. Charron got together and jammed with the band and once again fate played its hand. His ability to play with the awesome fierceness of Bonham while keeping a Watts-like time clicked with both Zak and Vern. “To us,” Zak says, “being able to relate and hang is almost as important as being able to play. We want nothing more than to be in a van going around playing our songs and music for everybody. You gotta love the guys you’re with if you’re gonna do this.”

Surprisingly, the final piece of the puzzle had already been put in place. Jason had called his bass-playing partner Dave Olson in Tulsa, even before he had the gig. “He told me there was a band up there that I just HAD to see,” says Olson. The hard-to-impress Olson took his friend’s advice and made the move to St. Louis. His way of meshing virtuoso chops with a Motown-like groove fit the band like a glove. “When we jam, we JAM” says Zak, “but it begins with the song, you must be able to play for the song.”

The band made its last big move together. The destination became the musical melting pot of Austin, Texas where they continue to hone their craft with as many shows as they can book from Austin to St. Louis, Memphis to NYC. “It never seems to be enough though,” states Vern, “it’s really all we ever want to do!”


Ma Driver - Released October 2001 -

Set List

upon request