North Jersey Notes: Driven Mad, Charetta, Atom Strange and More!

One of the bands I’ve been meaning to check out was one of my Facebook friends, Sam Walters, new band, Driven Mad. I received an invite to “Like” their page a few weeks back and just recently got a chance to give them a listen. Musically, they are bone-crushing, riff-tasty heavy. Add in Sam’s aggressive vocals to the mix and you have yourself a full-blown metal band. The songs “Gripping The Third Rail,” “Crosses Of Bone” and “Vertigo” off of their EP Committed really resonated with me. Without knocking Sam’s vocal ability, these riffs really drove these songs, and that’s not a bad thing at all when it comes to metal!

According to their bio, Driven Mad is kind of a new project comprised of ex-members of popular New York City’s metal band, King Hell. Driven Mad has created quite a buzz throughout NYC’s music scene as of late with their delivery of high-test live shows. The band made their debut in late 2012, so they’re kind of new, but not really. They’ve since released two EPs. In 2012, they put out Disorder and recently released Committed. They’ve been headlining small clubs across the city that never sleeps and more recently were the focus of a two-episode documentary series on NYC Rocks TV. Driven Mad’s music is labeled as “heavy on aggressive but melodic riffs, prominent rhythms with strong vocals across a range of styles.” Singer Sam Walters says about the band’s live shows, “If a pit doesn’t erupt, I failed. That’s how I see it. I motivate myself.” Joining Sam in Driven Mad is guitarist Dmitri Kalmar, bassist Jon Feirman and drummer Angel Cotte.

Driven Mad’s latest EP, Committed, was recorded at Four Legs Records in Washingtonville, NY with producer, Steven Goldman. The band performed a series of headlining shows in NYC to support the EP’s release. Driven Mad is looking to promote the CD some more this summer and support it with a music video for their song “Gripping The Third Rail.” For more on Driven Mad or to find out where they’re playing next, visit



The crew from Charetta has been writing their tails off recently. As they gear up for their next opus, the band has been behind closed doors in some pretty intense songwriting sessions. This will be the first CD without longtime bassist Richard Mollo. For more on Charetta and to find out when the new CD will be out, visit

My bros from Atom Strange have released a brand new music video for their song “I’m Alive,” and it is awesome! Not only does “I’m Alive” rock, but the video is so professionally filmed that in an old MTV world, this video could be quite successful. I was super impressed with the quality of the video and the song! Kudos to you, Alex Rude and my brother, Rickeroo Dunn! Check out “I’m Alive” at or visit for more info on the band. Catch Atom Strange live this weekend (5/16) at the legendary EJ’s on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, NJ as part of the Jersey Shore Festival.

And finally, I was chatting with Saint Caine singer John Kosco a couple of weeks ago, and he let it slip out that his old band Dropbox was in pre-production to put out a new CD. So, I guess that project is not dead and buried just yet. For those of you wondering, Dropbox was a band that was signed by Sully Erna from Godsmack under his label on Universal Records best known for their single “Wishbone.” The band featured former Godsmack guitarist, Lee Richards. Apparently, Lee and John started writing again and will be in pre-production until September. Keep your ears peeled on this development by visiting John’s also been writing some new Saint Caine material, as well. So, keep an eye out for that as well at

That’s all for now! If your band is from North Jersey, and you want some exposure, send your press kits to Arts Weekly, c/o Tim Louie P.O. Box 1140, Little Falls, NJ 07424, or you can email me at, where you can also let me know where you’re performing next!


Just remember….We’re all in the same boat, so every little bit of exposure counts!


Tim Louie is the Author of S**t Happens.


NJN Concert Calendar:

5/14—Eric Martin of Mr. Big/D.M.K./Jake and Dan—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ

5/15—Law and Order/Wrench/White Tiger (A.J. Pero Benefit)—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

5/15—Mike June—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ

5/15—Corey Glover/dUg Pinnick/Apostrophes/Sekond Skyn—Crossroads, Garwood, NJ

5/16—Hyngd/Still Well Angel/Jaded Past/One Day Waiting—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

5/16—Steve Bello Band—The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ

5/16—DIVISION 1.1/Ixion Lux/Me With Creeps/Nuse/Causticaudio/BOUND ALIVE/Framework—Roxy and Dukes Roadhouse, Dunellen, NJ

5/16—Atom Strange—EJ’s (Seaside Music Festival), Seaside Heights, NJ

5/16—End of an Era—Aztec Bar, Seaside Heights, NJ

5/16—Mistress/Beyond Eden/1 Echo 1/Roulette/Off the Turnpike—The Legendary Dobbs, Philadelphia, PA

5/20—Sean Danielsen (of Smile Empty Soul)/Opus (of Dead By Wednesday)/Ascending From Ashes/Ronin—Tenth Street Live, Kenilworth, NJ

5/20—Prophets of Addiction/The Erotics/Long Gone Day/Blackout Stereo—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

5/29—The Independents/Black Cat Attack/Darrow Chemical Co.—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

5/30—D.R.I./Driven Mad/Robots and Monsters—Blackthorn51, Elmhurst, NY

5/30—THE MURDER JUNKIES/Negative Traction/Full Scale Riot/Pat Veil and the Beach Needles/Choke Artist/Damien the Cat—The Brighton Bar, Long Beach, NJ

5/31—The Algorithm/Angel Vivaldi/In Dying Arms/Silent To Slaughter/ The Polaris Breach/Blameless and Upright/Under The Red Hood—Tenth Street Live, Kenilworth, NJ

6/5—TANTRIC/The West Front/Gravity Well/Tilted/Spiral Scar—The Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ

6/6—Jon Herington Band/Stolen Rhodes—The Saint, Asbury Park, NJ

6/6—Warrior Soul/Metalfier/Robots And Monsters/Extercitum/Acid—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

6/6—The CynzRock/Crash Gordon and Debra Dynamite/Vextion/Speed Queen/Lauren Blue Fox/Flowers To Flames—The Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ