Lo­cal band takes next step to­ward na­tional fame

The Covington News - - Front page - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­news.com

At first glance, New­ton County na­tives might have trou­ble be­liev­ing Chris Nichols is a Mans­field boy. Sure he’s the soft-spo­ken, 30-year-old head chef at Bess’ Place in New­born, but his ex­te­rior tells a dif­fer­ent tale of his true pas­sion.

Nichols is one of the gui­tarists for the Cov­ing­ton-based hard rock band POYNTE, a pro­fes­sion more fit­ting for the per­sona of a man with ear plugs, dyed jet-black hair with blond and red streaks and prom­i­nent arm tat­toos.

While his look may not jive with most of Mans­field, the small, ru­ral town of fewer than 500 peo­ple, it fit right in at the pres­ti­gious Ernie Ball Bat­tle of the Bands con­test in At­lanta, which POYNTE won by gar­ner­ing lots of on­line votes and im­press­ing a panel of four pro­fes­sional judges.

The band now moves on to the na­tional level of the Rock­star Up­roar con­test, where a slot in a na­tion­wide tour is on the line. If POYNTE wins, Nichols will be able to trade in his day job cook­ing south­ern-style fa­vorites for a full-time gig as a rock star.

Dang kids with their loud mu­sic

Cov­ing­ton na­tive Matt Bryant formed POYNTE in 2007; the band name is a play­ful acro­nym stand­ing for Peo­ple Of Young Na­ture Tor­ment­ing the El­derly.

“It was kind of a joke at first, and we re­ally didn’t have any­thing to go with,” said Bryant, who said he was pleased to find out the word was a real one, hav­ing been used as the Old English vari­ant of point.

What started out as a joke is now get­ting se­ri­ous, and the band’s five mem­bers hope they’re on the verge of some­thing big. Nichols could give up cook­ing for cus­tomers, drum­mer Tommy Roberts wouldn’t have to spend his days at the metal work­ing plant and Kenny Hathorne could give up his cab­i­net-mak­ing gig.

“It could be a big beak be­cause this is the third leg of the com­pe­ti­tion, and there will be judges there watch­ing our per­for­mance. We’re ac­tu­ally go­ing against the other 27 fi­nal­ists who won the bat­tle of the bands for other cities,” Bryant said. “And if we win, it’s a big pack­age. The big part of it is we get to play Up­roar 2013 — the en­tire tour, not just one day. If we can pull it off and win the com­pe­ti­tion, it could be a big break. Even if we don’t win, it’s a big step.”

“Doors are open­ing just be­cause of this,” Hathorne said.

When asked to de­scribe their sound, the guys calls them­selves “a melt­ing pot.”

“I would say heavy melodic rock,” said bass gui­tarist and new­est mem­ber An­drew Davis, a Por­terdale res­i­dent.

“It’s re­ally a col­lec­tive of ev­ery­one’s in­di­vid­ual in­flu­ences,” Bryant said. “We never re­ally had a di- rec­tion we were at­tempt­ing to go in… Ev­ery­one came in and said this is what I had to of­fer and ev­ery­one played off each other and found out how to meld it to­gether.”

The guys all have a love of famed-Seattle grunge band Nir­vana, but their other in­ter­ests run the spec­trum from clas­sic Guns and Roses to Aus­tralian rock band Sil­ver Chair to heavy metal band Triv­ium to Beethoven (Roberts is re­spon­si­ble for the last one; he likes to mix up his playlist).

The guys have al­ready played around the state and parts of the coun­try, but hav­ing the chance to take that last step is still a lit­tle hard to be­lieve.

“When I ac­tu­ally break it down and think about it, it’s bizarre re­ally go­ing from where I came from to the pos­si­bil­i­ties of what could hap­pen,” Nichols said. “Def­i­nitely liv­ing a dream. You re­mem­ber the first time you saw a rock band on MTV as a teenager and you go ‘Wow, I want to do that.’”

When he was a teenager, Nichols was milk­ing cows at a dairy dur­ing the sum­mer; next sum­mer, he could be play­ing in front of thou­sands.

“Life is what you make it; you can do any­thing you want to,” Nichols said, when asked if had any words for his fel­low teenagers in ru­ral Ge­origa. “It’s up to you; it’s your life. None of us have a whole lot of money. Yeah it can be stress­ful, but the end goal is what you want to get to.”

Even so, Nichols knows he’ll al­ways have the homestead to re­turn to. And he said it’s the di­chotomy of life that’s make it so fun.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the band, visit poynte.com and go to re­verb­na­tion.com/poynte to lis­ten to a hand­ful of their songs, in­clud­ing their lead track “One More Day.”

Snap­ping Shoals EMC is get­ting ready for its an­nual community ben­e­fit for the Amer­i­can Can­cer So­ci­ety’s Re­lay for Life. The 9th An­nual Ride for the Cure will take place on Satur­day, Sept. 29, and this year it will in­clude a car show.

Reg­is­tra­tion for the mo­tor­cy­cle ride will be­gin at 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at SSEMC’s head­quar­ters, lo­cated at 14750 Brown Bridge Road in Cov­ing­ton.

The reg­is­tra­tion fee is $25 per rider, which in­cludes a T-shirt. The cost for pas­sen­gers is $10. Ex­tra T-shirts may be pur­chased for $15 each. All reg­is­tered mo­tor­cy­cle ride par­tic­i­pants will re­ceive one raf­fle ticket and may

Wil­liam Braw­ley /The Cov­ing­ton News

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