Suddenly, the hard-rock scene is getting crowded again (just look at the charts), and with it comes the inevitable question: Who stands out?
No One does.
With its emphasis on bone-crunching melodies and unbridled intensity, No One makes a statement with its self-titled Immortal/Virgin album (released Aug. 14).
“I don’t rip on any other bands, but I don’t think there are a whole lot of them doing what we’re doing,” frontman Murk said recently. “We want to be new and different. We just do our own thing. Our songs have peaks and valleys. There are some highly intense moments, then there’s soft melodic points.
“Song-oriented structure is very important to us, and we try not to overdo a rhythm or riff. We’re blending the old-school metal with nu-metal.”
Murk founded No One in early 2000 with longtime friend, guitarist B-Larz, in their native Chicago. After adding bassist Flare and drummer Billy K, No One had barely made the rounds of nightclubs regionally before Immortal – home to Korn and Incubus – came calling.
“We were freaking out,” Murk said. “Our first gig was on Aug. 5 (2000) at Champs on the South Side. We had a three-demo within a week, then Immortal sent an A&R guy out and we showcased for him in the studio, and we played great. By November, they signed us. God touched us.”
Good thing Murk didn’t listen to his mother. When things were at their lowest for him, after his previous band had split up, she suggested he give up music altogether.
“Before all this great stuff started happening, I was really down in the dumps,” he said. “I thought I didn’t have a career anymore in music. I had no money and had to move back home with my mom. That’s when she said, ‘Maybe you should try something else.’
“I remember sitting in my broken-down Blazer, thinking ‘This is bad,’ but for some reason, I knew it was going to get better. I thought, ‘I gotta change my life.’ Having no future was the scariest thing, but it was my wake-up call.
“Me and B-Larz started working on some songs, like ‘Chemical.’ People said it was awesome, so that keep me going. It helped build my confidence back up. Flare was really into it, too. He was very positive, focusing on getting it off the ground. It’s hard to get the energy to put a band together, but he learned the songs quickly and, with Billy K, we all connected immediately.”
Now No One finds itself joining Slipknot’s six-week “Pledge of Allegiance Tour,” with System of a Down, American Head Charge, Rammstein and Mudvayne, opening Sept. 14 at Chicago’s Allstate Arena.
For all those struggling young bands out there, Murk hopes his story will inspire them.
“I always wanted to do this,” he said. “The thrill of creating music is the best. It’s a great way to express yourself, and I feel like I have a lot to offer.
“We were so dedicated with this project. I was 100-percent determined to get it done. We worked twice as hard to make this a real album experience for everyone to listen to. If anyone says you can’t do it, ignore them. You can do it. You just have to give it everything you’ve got.”
THE FIRST RECORD I EVER BOUGHT: “When I was 8 years old, I got ‘Led Zeppelin II.’ I loved blues metal, and that album had such great songwriting.”
THE FIRST CONCERT I EVER WENT TO: “I saw Bad Company with my uncle at the Royal Music Theater in McKinley Park. It was a really good show. I fell in love with the elements of live shows.”
THE FIRST SONG I EVER WROTE: “Oh, god, it was something called ‘Eternal Darkness,’ back in my heavy-metal days. Thinking back on it now makes me laugh. I was 15 or 16. It had such super heavy dark lyrics. I don’t know what was going through my head at the time.”
NO ONE ON THE WEB: Get hooked @ www.noonemusic.com.
More updates: Joe Henry, Marcus King, Lily Kershaw, Poliça, Sarah Brightman, Jerry Leger, Simple Minds, Grateful Dead, etc