Battle for Ozzfest band plays Big Boys

By Gus Bode

St. Louis, a city more widely affiliated with blues music, is quickly rising in the ranks of heavy metal enthusiasts as a place to seek out new musical talent. But rather than being part of an up-and-coming movement, vocalist Jordan Gaw considers his hardcore metal group, Final Drive, to be something independent and promising in its own right.

“We don’t fit into any one category,” Gaw said.

“We just want to play the music we want to hear.”


Final Drive, which is scheduled to perform at 9 p.m. Friday at Big Boys Q’n, got its start with guitarist Nathan Easter and drummer Andy Becker in their hometown of O’Fallon. Upon entering college, Easter and Becker were joined by Casey Logue on bass, making Final Drive officially a three-piece effort. While they tried different vocals, it really didn’t start to click until guitarist Chris Nanney joined on backing vocals. Even still, something was missing until Gaw came into the picture.

From then, the group practiced relentlessly and centered all its efforts around making Final Drive its own living, breathing entity. According to Gaw, he and Easter were driving around Los Angeles handing out sampler CDs when they saw the phrase “Good things come to those who wait” written at a bus stop. Since the two musicians said they believed success came more from one’s own actions than simply waiting on fate, they took the phrase and revamped it as the titled of their new full-length CD, “Good Things Come to Those who REFUSE to Wait.”

Part of creating their own destiny came from trying out for MTV’s “Battle for Ozzfest,” which pitted eight finalists against one another for a chance to appear in the 2005 summer Ozzfest. But when things got down to the wire, longtime bassist Logue opted to back out of the group at least until they could find a replacement bassist.

“We were blown away,” Gaw said.

“He was dedicated from day one; we didn’t know what to do.”

Gaw said after extensive searching and fruitless auditioning, they finally found who they thought would be the ideal fit.

“We had a guy picked out, and the Monday before the Thursday we were supposed to leave, he pulled out.”


After some consideration, Gaw thought of an old friend from high school, and Chelsea Muckerman stepped up to the plate to fill in on bass. With just a few days to learn the songs, the group hit it hard and headed out for the Battle for Ozzfest tryouts. Although the group became one of eight finalists, they were eliminated in the fourth round.

“We knew going in things weren’t going to be right,” Gaw said. “They’re going to make whatever they want work for their advantage.”

Gaw said the competition wasn’t even based on musical ability as a group so much as it was a popularity contest. Gaw said Muckerman is a good bass player, but since she’s originally a guitarist, the show’s producers overplayed her prior inexperience with the instrument and used that as a means to oust them from the ranks. Although the group didn’t make it to the Ozzfest, they’re still reaping the benefits of the exposure they got from being on the show.

“Just exposure alone is keeping us on the road,” Gaw said. “It worked out really well.”

For more information on Final Drive, along with some song samples, go to