By Rebecca Bulnes
By Laurie Charles
By Chuck Strouse
By Lee Zimmerman
By Laurie Charles
By Falyn Freyman
By Hans Morgenstern
At Ozzfest this year a female fan showed her appreciation for the return of Nonpoint by letting the rap-metal band's frontman Elias Soriano rub his face against her chest. As the former Fort Lauderdale resident buried his head in the groupie's mammaries, his long black dreads flapped in the humid air. Hidden was the bright smile (perhaps brighter than usual at that moment) and handsome smooth-skinned face of the 26-year-old vocalist. Obviously he and the rest of the group were happy to be home. Coming up for air Soriano declared, "We gotta catch up with everyone."
On tour for over a year and a half, Nonpoint now comes home heroic on the hottest tours in rock, eager to show off its success to old fans and friends. At the Bonsai show earlier this year, the sold-out crowd chanted the band's name. Backstage at Ozzfest chums flagged down the band, interrupting its rising stars' interviews. Last May, Nonpoint's first major label release, Statement, debuted at number 166 on Billboard, with the single "What a Day" topping the charts.
Even before being signed to MCA Records, however, it was common for Nonpoint to lure more than 1000 kids at a time to local parties. Like its former neighbor New Found Glory from Coral Springs, Nonpoint engineered its own success by putting together shows across South Florida and releasing the independent CD Separate Yourselfin 1997 and the disc Struggle on Jugular in 1999. "We were religious with our mailing list you know," Soriano says, "making sure kids knew when our shows were [and] that is pretty much the key. How they gonna come if they don't know [where to go]?"
Like fellow metal travelers Puya, Nonpoint has roots in Puerto Rico, the patria of singer Soriano and drummer Robb Rivera. Rounded out by guitarist Andrew Goldman and bassist KB, formerly of the band Fuse (another South Florida favorite), the foursome is not afraid to preach, invigorating its often socially conscious messages with a wide range of musical influences including rattling metal, rave/techno ("DoubleStakked"), jazz ("Hive"), Latin beats ("Orgullo," a Spanish-language testament to the band's pride), and rap-rock. Statement closes with "Tribute," a rap-rock medley that would make Aerosmith proud, mixing up lyrics from Wu-Tang Clan, Slick Rick, and Busta Rhymes. "We all have the general staples of rock music," explains Soriano, "but we all just kind of let our likes and dislikes dictate how we express ourselves."
Relaxing at the back of the tour bus in a white T-shirt and blue jeans, the singer twirls his locks and looks into Nonpoint's future. "We have a lot of ground to finish covering," he says. "We're trying to make a business out of this and make sure we're around for a long time. Look at our bus," he commands. "It looks like a library." Reading musical styles as voraciously as they read industry books, Soriano sees such variety as insurance for Nonpoint's survival. "We wanna give ourselves room to grow with our music," he says. "When music starts to change, we want to be able to change with it."