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LIVING OUT A ROCK 'N' ROLL FANTASY: McCarty wings it on vocals as band caters to loyal fans

August 26, 2002

BY BRIAN MCCOLLUM
FREE PRESS POP MUSIC WRITER

Hockey and hard rock. Different sports, same kind of sweat.

ERIC SEALS/DFP
Along with a bobblehead doll of his Red Wings hero McCarty, Wyatt McCallum, 10, of Lincoln Park watches Grinder perform at St. Andrews Hall. About 500 people saw the show. See more photos

Darren McCarty knows them both. As a notoriously tenacious right wing for the Detroit Red Wings, he's earned three Stanley Cup rings. This summer he's devoted himself to another brand of slashing and smashing: front man for the band Grinder.

Featuring members of the Detroit groups Novadriver and Speedball, Grinder was born in 1997, but things kicked into high gear after the Wings' championship run in June. By summer's end, the band will have played nearly 20 dates across the state, including a show this Friday at Arts, Beats & Eats in Pontiac. And McCarty, those around him will tell you, has evolved into a fearless, energetic showman.

"I'm an adrenaline junkie," McCarty says. "I tell you, man, these are some of the biggest rushes I've ever had, being onstage playing."

Grinder recently added a few original tunes to a set list stacked with punk and metal covers, including songs by Motorhead, the Sex Pistols and the Stooges.

"For me, whether it's playing hockey or music, it's about a lot of passion, coming straight at you," says McCarty, the lead vocalist. On the ice, "I'd rather go through you than around you -- and that's the kind of music I like."

His band mates, veterans of the Detroit scene, are getting a kick out of their Grinder run, which has put them before crowds of more than 1,000.

"I've seen girls crying like they're watching the Beatles," says drummer Eric Miller. "We get star treatment wherever we go. We chuckle at it because it's amazing how things change when you're around someone who's literally a superstar."

Contact BRIAN McCOLLUM at 313-223-4450 or mccollum@freepress.com. Contact ERIC SEALS at seals@freepress.com.


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