Combining the psychedelic hard rock of Queens of the Stone Age with the spiraling, shoegazing aesthetic of My Bloody Valentine, Detroit's Variac creates arena rock intended to "make the ladies swoon," as bassist Andy Sutton has said.
The band was formed in 1998 out of the ashes of two other Michigan groups: Andy Sutton's local rabble-rousers Forehead Stew and the widely acclaimed Big Chief. With Big Chief producer (and Andy Sutton's brother) Al Sutton on guitar and vocals, Forehead Stew drummer Ken Tudrick, and Big Chief guitarist Philip Durr rounding out the lineup, Variac writes far more intricate songs than either of the members' previous incarnations. As a result, the band soon found itself opening for such high profile acts as Jonathan Fire*Eater, Morphine, and the Smashing Pumpkins.
In 2001, Variac released their full-length debut, Hard Starward, a satisfying mix of Richard Ashcroft grandiosity, spacey, Trainspotter repetitions, and down and dirty Detroit sensibilities.