Mark Vollelunga guitarist of Nothing More speaks about touring as a Father, European food and funny tour stories.
Backstage at Alexandra Palace before their set supporting Bullet For My Valentine the lovely Mark Vollelunga, guitarist of Nothing More chatted to us about life on tour when you’re a Dad, European food and funny tour stories.
How is tour going?
“It’s been good! It’s been nice to really be exposed to so many people every night. Bullet have a lot of fans and so does Of Mice And Men. I think this is collectively the biggest tour night after night that we have been on so its been awesome to play infant of that many people. It’s also nice that we have really bonded with Of Mice And Men a lot, we’ll be playing with them in the States in a few months to do a tour over there.”
Has there been a date on this tour that has particularly stood out?
“Yeah! In general, I feel that a lot of Eastern Europe is really exciting. I can’t think of many bands which come through there so they’re just really stoked about it. Maybe in general I think they’re just more boisterous, a more energetic culture. When we were over there in the summer with Stone Sour in Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria, those shows stuck out to me as the most fun, the crowds were so stoked. So when we played Vienna on this tour and even in Prague, those where the most memorable shows to me cause of the crowd’s energy. Whenever that happens it makes the show that much easier and more fun because you really connect with the crowd, there’s that feedback loop which happens.”
Is there much difference playing UK shows compared to over in America?
“It’s sort of true with everywhere like I was saying about Eastern Europe. There are certain pockets in the States that symbolise that like Louisiana shows are pretty crazy. A lot of the time small cities people light up more and are less stuck up or snobby because they get every band that comes through which can make people more opinionated about things and less excited. I do feel like (In the UK) because we are so far from home people care more and they are more excited. Even lyrically maybe UK fans have attached more of themselves onto that. I don’t know if that is just a culture thing or if lyrics are more impactful or taken a bit more seriously. Maybe that’s a generalisation but it’s something I’ve tried to observe.”
How are you getting on with the other bands on tour?
“Like I was saying we really hit it off with Of Mice And Men they’re straight up Cali, super no worries very chill and good humans. It’s been nice to connect with Bullet, we did some shows with Sh>pes in the UK before they’re really nice guys. This is their first bus tour they’re super excited, party, party!”
Who parties the hardest is it Sh<pes?
“Erm maybe! Maybe their bodies can handle it a bit more they’re younger but every night’s different. Sometimes certain guys go hard other nights there are some sleepers that awaken and go hard.”
Is there anything you’ve been wanting to do whilst in London?
“I got to be a bit touristy yesterday and went on London Bridge and Tower Bridge and took some photos, wandered around. I successfully navigated the tube, I was proud of myself, I was a bit nervous. Went to a couple of proper pubs. Definitely had some great Indian food last night. Always, I always look forward to having proper Indian whenever we come over here it’s always different everywhere you go and over here I feel like it’s the best.”
What food have you been living off whilst on tour?
“Oh gosh. This tour’s been great. We’re sharing a bus with Sh>pes so sleeps been great so we actually have time to go out and grab a bite to eat and see most cities. Honestly, we’ve been eating a lot of Cafe stuff, sandwiches coffee. If we do have a day off we get to experience more of the culture like we went to the Hofbräuhaus in Munich and had plenty of German food which is always some sort of pork and beer and bread it’s the trifecta which is always fun! I was stoked to have Prague food because it’s so cheap! Everything is over there went and did some shopping and had this crazy waffle cone with Nutella ice-cream and hot wine.”
What do you think of the venue tonight? (Alexandra Palace) It’s quite an iconic building for us.
“You’re exactly right, I feel a sense of a lot of history here I’m really curious to know more about its purpose through the wars and it’s quite an image. Going outside it’s cool it’s so high up you can really get a good view of London.”
What’s your favourite song to perform live?
“Currently I would say I love playing the song Fade in/Fade out it’s really personal it’s about my son and father and so obviously there’s that personal attachment as well as seeing people sing along and share their stories about how it has touched them or related with them.”
Was it difficult releasing such a personal song?
“Yes and no. That’s the thing about music is that it can really bring people together and even if it’s a song about a hard time it’s retaliating to somebody else who has gone through a similar experience and that song has got them through something. To me, my Dad is still kicking and he’s doing great although no one can escape time, it does make me think about that and the inevitable future that will happen. But no I’d say it’s not hard I love playing it.”
How does it fee when fans tell you how much your music has helped them?
“It feels amazing. Honestly, it feels purposeful that’s why I personally got into this. Being talented with music and knowing that it’s what I want to do with my life, I know that music has changed me so hearing stories of how it has changed other people, that I had a part in a song that got somebody through some shit, that’s the best thing ever. It’s like my life is complete it’s a big check to a big box.
What do you miss most when you go out on tour?
“My family of course. It’s hard my son is five, he’ll be six now he’s just starting Kindergarten. It’s great because of FaceTime I can play games with him and talk to him nearly every day. I couldn’t imagine what touring was like 15 years ago and longer ago. That’s the hardest thing, a lot of the time all he see’s is that Daddy’s just gone so I’m missing a lot of things. I do my best to try and keep connected even though we are physically disconnected. I’d say that’s the thing I’d miss most.
Who has the most annoying habits when out on tour?
“We all have different ones. Dan clears his throat a lot and it drives me bananas. He has this strange clicking noise that he does. Jonny snorts a lot like really loudly and aggressively. He’s also very aggressive when we are going to bed with slamming doors and things like that too which is ironic because he’s also the most sensitive sleeper. Ben tends to interrupt everybody that’s annoying. I have plenty of fails I’m sure I annoy everyone else too. I’m not innocent by any means.
What inspired you to first pick up a guitar?
“My Dad tried teaching me when I was nine, he’s from San Fransisco so he loved the Beach Boys. I Iearn’t a few of their songs but it wasn’t really doing it for me at nine years old I didn’t really have fun with it. So I didn’t play for another five years and I think the sound of electric guitar, my brother playing the drums, being able to play together, learn some Metallica songs stuff like that. It just kinda happened honestly.
What band’s influenced you growing up?
“Like I said Metallica for sure I feel like that’s when I started caring about music and when it started affecting me before it was just something I was kinda good at. I was always involved in Choir and Band earlier when I was a kid, I was good at music. I liked Sting and Toto all the 80s new wave driving around in a soccer mom car going to this rehearsal or this practice so the radio was always on I fell in love with a lot of new wave. When I started really caring about music it was bands like Metallica, Incubus I fell in love with their guitar playing. There are bands like Thrice who got me through some real hard times. Ann Marie even Alanis Morissette, Imogen Heap she’s an amazing programming artist. We are all pretty open we try to listen to all music.
What’s the funniest thing to happen whilst on tour?
“We’ve done some funny pranks. Historically the headliner always pranks the opening support bands. So whenever we’ve been the headliner we’ve gotten saran wrap another van and put shaving cream and chocolate sauce all over it. On stage Dan and I played badminton, we brought a net, dressed up silly and just set up whilst they were playing. We went back and forth as they played the whole song, it was so funny. They pranked us back, all three other bands. Sometimes in headliner sets, we’ll do a three-man bass solo thing which is a big showpiece. Each of the other bands all had a bass, they came on stage all shirtless like Jonny and they all had drumsticks pretending to do the bass solo flipping it around and moving it. It was like they had all practised it was so funny! That was a great moment of friendship commodity”