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It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that Swerve.

Swervedriver, one of the greatest alternative rock bands of the 1990s, has reunited, ending nearly 10 years of anguish for rabid fans.

The English band will play at Salt Lake City's Paladium Saturday night.

"We didn't really break up," said guitarist Jimmy Hartridge. "We just took a break. It doesn't seem like nine years - it seemed like only two."

The band could have been excused for giving up on Swervedriver earlier in its run. From its founding in 1989, the group was beset by disasters, ranging from the frustratingly mundane (its music label folding) to the frustratingly bizarre (its first drummer abandoned his bandmates at the Canadian border just as they were entering the U.S. on a headlining tour in 1992).

Although Swervedriver never really caught on in the U.S., the band had a unique sound, blending the post-grunge music of American tourmates Soundgarden and Smashing Pumpkins with the shoegazing, dream-pop characteristic of British bands My Bloody Valentine and the Jesus and Mary Chain. Only one song, "Duel," ever reached a semblance of popularity in the U.S., and then only on college radio stations.

But the appearance of "Duel" on last year's popular "The Brit Box" box-set showcased Swervedriver to new as well as old fans, and band members joined forces again. "We have quite a lot of hard-core fans," said the once-dreadlocked frontman Adam Franklin, who now shears his hair close to his balding head. "I'm not surprised. It's a cool band."

Franklin said the reunion came about "rather quickly," and playing together again - despite the 10-year break - was as easy as riding a bicycle.

Guitarist Hartridge claims the band deserves a spot in the history of 1990s rock. " 'Duel' has a great power to it," he said. "It's 15 years old, but I hear it, and it doesn't sound dated. There wasn't another band like us at the time."

Just like his bandmate, Franklin seemed to enjoy reminiscing about the 1990s until he was brought back to the present day by the news that one of the semifinalists on the just-completed "American Idol" season, Jason Castro, wore dreadlocks just like Franklin had all those years ago.

"Oh, dear," Franklin said.


* DAVID BURGER can be reached at or 801-257-8620. Send comments about this story to

At The Paladium

* SWERVEDRIVER performs at 9 p.m. at The Paladium, 415 W. 600 North, Salt Lake City.

* TICKETS are $15 at SmithsTix.