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Thursday, January 17,2013

Bullet with a change for rockers Nonpoint

Rotating members, a career on the edge of the mainstream haven’t derailed the band

By Alan Sculley
Photo courtesy of Ryan Baker

To put it mildly, Nonpoint went through a major transition heading into its seventh album when it replaced two band members — guitarist Zach Broadrick and bassist Ken “KB” MacMillan — with three new recruits, lead guitarist Dave Lizzio, rhythm guitarist Rasheed Thomas and bassist Adam Wolosyzn.

But if Nonpoint vocalist Elias Soriano and drummer Robb Rivera had any doubts about the move or the future of the group, they were erased almost as soon as the new trio of musicians joined the lineup.

“In the first two weeks, we wrote eight songs,” Soriano says. “So it was hit the ground running. This is a serious project. And these guys, they realized how serious it was. So they jumped right on board. There was no down time at all.”

That sort of enthusiasm and participation in the creative process was exactly what had been missing for Nonpoint over the preceding few years.

“The new members really wanted to work and they really wanted to write music,” Soriano says. “You know, past members, they get jaded, they get lazy. They think that music is just going to come without any work.”

There was a time when the original lineup of Nonpoint was hitting on all cylinders.

Formed in 1997 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Nonpoint came on the national radar in 2000 with its third album (and first major label release), Statement. Tours with Mudvayne, Drowning Point and Fuel (among others), plus a slot on the 2001 Ozzfest helped raise awareness of the band, and Nonpoint’s next CD, 2002’s Development, entered the Billboard album chart at No. 52, more than 100 slots higher than the peak position for Statement.

The band never made a big commercial breakthrough, but over the course of the next three albums — 2004’s Recoil, 2006’s To The Pain and 2007’s Vengeance — Nonpoint stayed visible and had a pair of Top 25 mainstream rock hits, “The Truth” and “Bullet With A Name.”

By this time, though, problems were starting to surface within Nonpoint, and in 2008, the group parted ways with guitarist Andrew Goldman.

The band brought in Broadrick as a replacement and released a 2009 EP, Cut The Chord, followed by a 2010 fulllength CD, Miracle. But after touring behind Miracle, Soriano and Rivera realized further house cleaning was necessary.

“[Broadrick] was pretty much a quick fix,” Soriano says. “He was a Band-Aid over a wound that we had. … So when it came down toward the end of the Miracle cycle, we kind of looked at the performance, and Robb and I agreed we just needed to let Zach know we were going to move ahead without him and try to find somebody else.”

At that point, MacMillan, who according to Soriano had tired of music and touring, decided to leave Nonpoint and pursue work in the graphics field.

Soriano and Rivera didn’t have to look far for the three musicians that came on board to complete the new lineup.

Rivera had met Lizzio through a friend, and he and Soriano had actually started working with the future Nonpoint guitarist on a side project.

When Broadrick was fired and MacMillan decided to quit Nonpoint, Soriano and Rivera turned to Lizzio, who brought along Thomas and Wolosyzn, who were his bandmates in Inn Cinema, a Chicago-based band.

Nonpoint also changed labels, signing with Razor & Tie Records for the current self-titled album.

The new band members brought a fresh energy to Nonpoint, with Lizzio and MacMillan quickly becoming significant songwriting contributors. Soriano said their enthusiasm and work ethic, in turn, re-energized him and had him thinking back to the raw, but melodic, rock sound of the band’s early major label albums as songs started to come together.

“The riffs and stuff [Lizzio and Thomas were writing] were just reminiscent of Statement and the days when we were really, really going crazy on stage and we had the energy of youth to drive us,” Soriano says. “This time, it was just the music was coming from every direction and it was so great. It was easy to look back on our past and say ‘Hey, what I used to do back here would fit great over this,’ and I would sort of bring some of that old style back.”

The Nonpoint album should please and reassure the band’s fans, as the album features such raw and combustible but melodic rockers as “I Said It,” “Lights, Camera, Action” and “Left For You.”

Soriano said Lizzio, Thomas and Wolosyzn also quickly fit into Nonpoint on stage as well, and he feels the band is living up to its long-standing reputation as an aggressive and energetic live band.

“They’ve been really pulling their weight and falling right into the Nonpoint game and perspective,” he says, “which is exciting live shows with a lot of sweat, movement and singing along.”

Nonpoint plays the Marquis Theater in Denver Jan. 25. See The Marquis' website.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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