Drive: Characters In Time


Characters In Time
(Warner Bros)

Back in the late 1980s there was a promising Los Angeles band by the way of Houston called Drive. Featuring David Taylor (vocals), Rick Chavez (guitar/vocals), Mercy Valdez (guitar), Michael Antony Guerrero (bass), and Valentine San Miguel (drums), the band made their debut with the powerful prog rock/metal album ‘Characters in Time’ (1988) and followed that with ‘Diablero’ (1992).

Led by Taylor’s ballsy vocals with powerful screams and Chavez’ killer fret work on the guitar, the band won a spot on KNAC’s ‘Best of the West’ compilation and in 1988 signed to Rampage Records, who issued ‘Characters in Time.’

With comparisons to Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, Drive separated themselves from the hair metal nation which was ruling the Sunset Strip at the time. Thanks to guitar-driven songs like lead off track “(New Reign) Phoenix,” the followers “Kamikaze” and “Stormtrooper,” the album grabbed your attention quick and kept you listening to the masterful musicianship. 1980 guitar aficionados will love this reissue with the twin guitar attack on tracks “The Entity” and “I Need the Nights,” the song which was on the KNAC compilation.

Sadly like countless bands before them, Drive had to deal with a lineup change and record label issues after their well-received debut. Not to mention that Drive came on the scene right when the “grunge” movement was about to explode. The band would go on to release one more album and call it a day. Sadly, while driving along a San Antonio interstate on June 25, 2009, singer David Taylor lost control of his vehicle after a tire came off, causing the car to crash. He was airlifted to an area hospital where he died of his injuries five days later.

Drive’s ‘Characters In Time’ is a nice walk down memory lane if you are into prog-metal and guitar virtuosos. Search it out on iTunes, on which it was recently reissued.

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