STNNNG (pronounced “stunning”) are from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. No, they do not sound like any of those three Minneapolis bands you can think of from VH1 Classic oversaturation or Rolling Stone’s retro-active fawning. They sound more like a lumbering giant laughing madly while tangled up in some barbed electric fence. In other words, like heavy rock in the art-y/noisy Touch & Go vein. Think punk rock tenacity with metal power, classic rock riffage, vaudevillian showmanship and the hyper-literate lyrics of a man seemingly possessed by a full encyclopedia set of subtly deranged characters.
Since forming in 2003, STNNNG has released three full-length albums on Modern Radio Record Label, performed at over 300 shows, and basically perfected the art of turning their audiences into shit-grinning masochists. STNNNG is one of those rare bands that seems too damn good to give a fuck, but actually do reach out to grab you, make you smile, wince, heckle, and thoroughly engage as they pummel you into a lifeless purple pulp. On stage, the band’s a drunken speedboat careening off every ship in the harbor. Their five spastic bodies leap, puff, snort and wrench like the subjects of some mannerist sculptor’s wettest dream. I mean it when I say there is no better live band on this earth to photograph.
Comprised of lead vocalist Chris Besinger (ex-Death and Texas), the guitar interplay of Nate Nelson (also of Chambermaids, Pony Trash and American Cream) and Adam Burt (ex-Vets, currently of Total Fucking Blood), bassist Jesse Kwakenat (ex-Heroine Shieks, ex-Private Dancer) and drummer Ben Ivascu (also of Polica), STNNNG recently recorded their fourth full-length album with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio and will be mastering the record at Abbey Road.
Having shared bills with the likes of Shellac, The Fall, Pissed Jeans, U.S. Maple, Melt Banana, The Ex and Times New Viking, STNNNG has always had a penchant for putting on unconventional concerts, including a five-year run of epic “lunch shows” at the 7th Street Entry as well as performing live on a raft floating down the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. Over the years, the band has earned high praise from legends like Steve Albini, Bob Weston and Mike Watt, as well as acclaimed music critic, Mark Prindle.