Sitting down with Northern Kentucky-based Punk rockers The Nothing on May the 4th (Star Wars Day for the non-geeks in the audience) felt like fate. The members of the band (vocalist Jimi Caudill, guitarist Paulie Burgio, drummer Eric Robinson and bassist Dan Snow) have all had a Jedi-esque journey of redemption littered with band transitions, relationship implosions, addiction and other trials.
And like Luke Skywalker, the band managed to come out the other side a little darker and battle-hardened, but with a ton of wisdom.
Caudill, Robinson and Burgio came together as The Nothing after two local acts they were involved in, The Reanimated and Switchblade Syndicate, either dissolved or relocated (Snow joined the trio later). Both former bands had their own distinctive niches and sounds, which The Nothing had no intentions of following.
“We can do what we want; no one gets to judge us. No limits,” Caudill says.
Robinson agrees, adding, “No limits. That’s our motto, that’s how we roll.”
Following their dictum, the members have blended not only elements from their old bands, but also tossed elements of everything from Doo Wop to Death Metal into the mix. The decision to include so many styles was only natural.
“It’s what we’re all into,” Robinson says. “Playing with The Reanimated … it was awesome and it’s a huge part of our lives but you’re confined with what you can do. We were adamant about not setting limits.”
The result is The Art of Revenge, an 11-track chunk of just about every loud and angry genre imaginable. The Nothing wears its passion on its sleeves and its inspirations on its chest, literally. Venom, Motörhead and GBH are just a handful of the patches that adorn members’ battle vests, typifying the range that The Nothing is trying to infuse into their recordings.
But hellacious music is nothing without equally rowdy lyrics and that responsibility falls on Caudill’s shoulders. As a longtime vocalist for many different projects, Caudill has written about everything from space aliens to murderous Plymouths.
But, with The Nothing, he’s exploring the darkest subject of all: real life.
“Everybody knows that I had a cocaine problem. And getting sober and going to rehab — I wrote the start of Nothing stuff while I was in rehab, but at that time I thought I was going to use it for Reanimated,” Caudill says. “It got to the point where I was just getting really frustrated and I’ve always wanted, since I got sober, to write personal things. I want to write about being in jail and doing drugs, doing drugs on the street because you’re afraid to come home, robbing people to buy more drugs. I want to bring it to light; I want to talk about it. This album should be like ‘Street Life 101,’ because this is all our stories.”
These stories spawned songs like “The River,” about an internal conflict that produces what Robinson claims “is more horror than anything you’ll ever hear” in any Horror Punk band’s library.
Even with such dark lyricism, The Nothing takes great care to foster and celebrate the brotherhood and loyalty found in its local scene.
“It’s something we’ve been pushing for. The pack mentality is we want to create an atmosphere where bands stop competing and start joining up and joining forces, like a Justice League,” Caudill says.
“I want camaraderie; I want to be around my friends. I want to be around people who get it. I don’t care if I’m playing in a goddamn sewer or I’m playing in U.S. Bank Arena. I don’t care. I’m not bigger than that,” Robinson adds.
The Nothing has been playing for less than a year and they’re already hard at work writing a follow-up to The Art of Revenge. The band tries to play any show it can to a crowd that packs any venue, any night.
The members are relentlessly pushing forward, focusing on their credos of honesty and taking risks. Judging by the success they’ve already achieved and the progress they’ve made to build upon it, it’s probably safe to say that the Punk Rock Force is definitely with this group.
performs Saturday at Covington’s Backstage Café with Darrow Chemical Company. More: facebook.com/thenothingrock.