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 said in an early January phone interview. “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 said. “You know, past members, they get jaded, they get lazy. They think that music is just going to come without any work.”
Of course, 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 eventually push the album on to the “Billboard” magazine album chart, reaching 166.
When the band’s next CD, “Development,” was released in summer 2002, it debuted at No. 52 on the “Billboard” album chart.
But that album failed to deliver a major hit and the band moved to the Atlantic Records-affiliated Lava label for its next album, 2004’s “Recoil.”
That album did produce a modest mainstream rock hit, “The Truth,” which peaked at No. 22 on that chart. But the album didn’t outperform the preceding records, and for its next album, “To the Pain,” Nonpoint moved over to the independent label, Bieler Bros. Records.
“To the Pain” gave the band its best known single, “Bullet With a Name” (it, too, peaked at 22 on “Billboard’s” mainstream rock chart), and that album was followed in November 2007 by the group’s sixth album, “Vengeance.”
By this time, 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 self-released a 2009 EP, “Cut the Chord,” followed by a 2010 full-length CD, “Miracle,” which was released on the indy label, Rocket Science Records. The album debuted at No. 60 on the “Billboard” album chart, the best debut for a Nonpoint album since “Development.”
But by the time Nonpoint finished touring behind “Miracle,” it was clear that a further house cleaning was necessary.
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 that had yet to make much of an impact outside of the Chicago area.
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 said. “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.”
Before the writing sessions were finished, Nonpoint had about 30 songs written for the self-titled album. Then with producer Johnny K on board for the project, 12 songs were selected for the album.
Soriano said he realized there would be curiosity, expectations – even doubts - about the new lineup, but he said this didn’t create extra pressure to make an album that lived up to the best of Nonpoint’s earlier music.
“You always feel like you have more to prove than the last one (album), especially with the member changes,” he said. “People who loved the Nonpoint project, they don’t want to see it go, nor do they want to see it change a ton. Getting rid of half of the band and replacing two with three, it seems like a big change, but it’s exactly what this band needed.”
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 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, which is exciting live shows with a lot of sweat, movement and singing along,” he said.”
And having a second guitarist is giving Nonpoint new dimensions in its live sound.
“It’s definitely a thicker, wider sound,” Soriano said. “A lot of people have been commenting on the fact that they’re hearing a lot of stuff in a lot of our old music that they never heard live because we didn’t have the second guitar. Sometimes you do write second guitar parts on the record just to fill space and help the song along. This time around, having the guitar players, it definitely widens your sound.”