Nothing More singer Jonny Hawkins is on the road somewhere in the Midwest. After a couple of weeks on tour, places start to meld and he has to ask someone nearby where they are. "Kansas City," he says. "At least in Europe places are different, but in the States everywhere starts to look the same."
Nothing More is in the midst of a headlining tour that takes it into October and stops by Amos' Southend on Aug. 19. It's the third time the band will perform in Charlotte. The first was as the opener for Chevelle and the second was a few months back at Carolina Rebellion. In a music world where plenty of hard rock bands sound the same, Nothing More made an early point of standing out from the pack.
"When we were playing dive bars where no one knew who we were, we'd have to grab people's attention when the sound was probably bad and the people were more interested in their friends and drinks than the music," Hawkins says. "We had lots of ideas but a budget of zero dollars. We had to use what we had in our surroundings. It's still continuing to evolve."
The San Antonio, Texas band's sound is driven by the typical guitar riffs and steady bass licks, but it's Hawkins' additional drumming on a small kit — welded together with car and motorcycle parts — that complements the music's beat. Add to that a unique vocal style that Hawkins provides through a forced, rhythmic vibrato and a three-men-on-one-bass-guitar solo and it's no surprise that Nothing More is often complimented offstage for their unique sounds and presentation in a music landscape that is often stuck in a rut.
"As a drummer, I like to do things with my hands, so I started to hit my throat with my hands like I would a drum," Hawkins says. "I create rhythms on the air that's coming out that goes along with the music more than a natural vibrato would."
During the band's Carolina Rebellion appearance, it wasn't only that bass solo or Hawkins drumming that caught this writer's attention. It was the dynamics of each song performed as well as Hawkins' stage presence: He jumped on top of his drumkit, flexed his entire body as he wailed certain notes and made use of the entire stage.
People are even taking notice of Nothing More for the depth of its lyrics. One song, "Jenny," addresses mental illness and addiction as Hawkins tells the story of his aunt Jenny and his sister Jenna. After the song was written, he was hesitant and nervous to show his sister the song, but did before it was released to get her approval.
Recently, Jenna showed up at the band's Aug. 1 show in Austin, Texas, and asked Hawkins if "Jenny" was on the band's setlist. When Hawkins replied affirmatively, Jenna was excited.
As the band spends the foreseeable future touring in support of its Eleven Seven Music self-titled debut, they're also eager to return to the studio and work on some new ideas.
"We don't get to work on our show much when we're on the road," Hawkins says. "At some point, we'll have to because people will get tired of what they've seen before."