by Michelle Harper
December 2000



Imagine you’re taking a journey through various realms of reality.  The only specific destination being emotional vitality, you’re sped through black tunnels, hurled into vast spaces of echoes and set to drift on a winding stream of grinding utopia.  Where are you?  You’re listening to the debut CD of Nonpoint.

Nonpoint, whose home base is Fort Lauderdale, Florida, formed in 1997, and are currently on tour with the female metal band Kitty.  As a new reporter, I was given the assignment to interview the band’s drummer, Robb Rivera.  I went out and purchased a copy of Nonpoint’s debut CD “Statement” and waited for my phone to ring.  As I sat by my cordless, I thumbed through the CD insert.  There in the center layout, was a picture of the band.  I saw Robb Rivera’s looming presence among his fellow band mates.  I was interviewing him?  Me?  A small town fan from Madison, Wisconsin?  What does one say to a famous musician?  For some odd reason, I suddenly became nervous.

As my phone rang at exactly 3 o’ clock, I was greeted with a friendly voice.  Robb Rivera was personable, intelligent and humorous…just like a normal person.  I thought “Ok, what can I ask this famous person that would be interesting to readers?”  Tape recorder in hand, holding the phone away from my face with the microphone held up to the ear piece, I asked Robb to share the secret behind his music’s versatile sound. 

“Well, it’s really a collective effort”, he replied.  “I mean, we like music ranging from Blues to Metal to Hardcore to Hip-Hop to R & B to Techno.” ““Doublestakked”“, he continued, “comes from the techno rave influence cuz that song’s about Ecstasy.  “Orgullo” is Latin based and “Tribute” is our Hip-Hop influence.”  I suddenly recalled the experience of hearing Nonpoint’s “Doublestakked” for the first time.  It felt like warm butterscotch syrup.  A drastic contrast to the fast and furious “Tribute”, set partially to words from a children’s story.

Nonpoint’s incredible array of sound tantalizes sensory perception and challenges musical genre boundaries.  How to define Nonpoint’s musical message of heavy emotional inspiration?  Robb eagerly answered, as if he were conveying the message to the world, and not just my $60 tape recorder.

“I’m into emotional music”, he related.  “[An interviewer] described our music as “passionately violent”.  And when she told me that it stuck in my head.  I write music for our fans, but we also write music for us to be satisfied with. There’s different emotions in music.  We try to put in the anger, the sadness and the love and everything into one.”  Listening to Robb’s vocal inflection and excitement in talking about his music was a fantastic experience.  It was clear to me at that moment that Nonpoint’s music is much more than a hard-driving, ferociously catching sound.  For Robb and his band, it’s a way of life.

His profound mannerism led me to ask about the symbol on the cover of “Statement”.  Every piece of art must have meaning, conveying a piece of one’s soul, right?  “That is a frog actually”. Robb replied.  “People think it’s a spider, but it’s not.  It’s a tribal frog that when the [Taino] Indians first arrived in Puerto Rico, they carved that into the caves.  That was their symbol.  It’s a symbol of me and [lead vocalist] Elias’ Puerto Rican roots.”  With a strong conviction, Robb explained what went into the CD’s song “Orgullo”, meaning “pride” in Spanish.  Having lived in Puerto Rico for 14 years, Robb wrote “Orgullo in an effort to enter into a new territory; a unique blend of hardcore metal and Latin phrases.  I have never heard anything quite like it.

One final question I posed to this very much human being, was one of choice.  I asked Robb Rivera if he could communicate one message to his fans, what would it be?  Robb paused and said “Listen with an open mind”.

After 20 minutes and almost one full side of my mini-recorder, my first celebrity interview ended.  Nonpoint’s drummer exemplified all the heart and fire of his music.  I drove to my publisher’s to pick up material for my next assignment, contemplating the insightful and enlightening conversation I had held with someone I had believed was out of reach of the average fan.  The music I grew to love even more because of it.  As I left my Publisher’s front door, I had a second copy of Nonpoint’s CD in my hand.

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CD: Statement Record Label: Geffen Records
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