The Nonplurals
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The Nonplurals


Band Rock Pop


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"Nonplurals make stage debut tonight at the Prince"

By Steve Wildsmith
of The Daily Times Staff

It's almost cute enough to be a movie, one of those early '90s Gen X flicks like "Reality Bites" — girl loves music and dreams of starting a band, girl meets boy who's a musician, girl and boy fall in love and start a group called The Nonplurals.

And given the quirky, whimsical nature of the keyboard-guitar-drum-oriented pop-rock the band plays, The Nonplurals' music would serve nicely as the film's soundtrack.

It's a nice thought, but The Nonplurals — guitarist/vocalist Brian Wasinger, pianist/vocalist Amanda Gulliford and drummer Matthew Ramsland — don't really need a movie to live out their fantasy. They're doing it for real, starting with their first gig tonight at The Prince Deli and Sports Bar in Knoxville.

"I never thought I could do it, but it's been relatively easy," Gulliford, a '98 graduate of Maryville High School, told The Daily Times this week. "Other than finding people to stick around and play with us, it's been easy. Everything seems to have just snowballed, and now it's already December and we're playing our first show.

"I'm a little nervous," she admitted. "I keep having bad dreams that 10,000 people are there, but we can't find our stuff to play."

She and Wasinger share that inside-joke glance that couples often exchange, and both break into laughter. They met on a blind date and eventually began seeing each other steadily. Sooner or later, one of their conversations turned to music — Gulliford's love of it, and Wasinger's experience with it.

Wasinger had been playing guitar since high school, although he only got serious about it a few years ago. Gulliford had always wanted to be a musician and had gone so far as to record a song in a Knoxville studio that she shared with Wasinger.

"She just kind of mentioned it one time — 'Hey, we should start a band' — but I didn't take it too seriously at first," Wasinger said. "But then it started to take off from there. I had always wanted to do it anyway, and I was starting to feel like that a lot of music out there was starting to sound the same. I thought that even if we did it and people didn't like it, at least it'll be different and they'll get to see something that doesn't sound like anybody else's stuff."

Wasinger had attended music school in Wyoming and recording school in Arizona, and upon moving to Knoxville at the urging of a friend, he got a job editing music for programs on the Scripps Network. Although he had studied music composition in college, he had shelved his personal projects and hadn't thought about reviving his creative side until he met Gulliford.

"Amanda really pushed me in that way, which is a good thing because I have a hard time staying focused on one thing," Wasinger said. "The one song that she had actually recorded was done by a guy who helped her out and did the music for it. It wasn't really like what she wanted it to be, but I liked it. The bones of the song were really good, so we started working on new material together."

Gulliford has always been a fan of indie rock, and together the two claim to be influenced by such groups as the New Pornographers, Mates of State and other like-minded indie-pop acts. With Wasinger's recording experience and Gulliford's determination and enthusiasm, they soon had the framework for The Nonplurals put together.

"I didn't know if I could do it, but I was serious about trying," Gulliford said. "Brian was playing in his roommate's band at the time, and when he played a song for me of his, I was real impressed. So I pulled him away from that."

Another look, another shared laugh. It's a genuine warmth, a quirky sense of humor that carries over into the melodic swirl that makes up the bulk of The Nonplurals' recorded material. The creative process, Wasinger said, followed a similarly idiosyncratic path.

"She would record stuff on her cell phone and send it to me, and I would listen to it and figure out how the chords would go," he said.

"I was really shy at first, and I would make him leave the room so I could be in there by myself while we recorded," Gulliford added.

Wasinger's lyrics seem perfectly suited to the pair's sense of humor — slightly oddball, sometimes nonsensical, often cryptic, they manage to convey imagery in a stream-of-consciousness pattern that's both charming and perplexing.

"For me, the lyrics are more like what Beck does — I don't necessarily know what I'm writing about when I start, and I just sort of do this play on words," Wasinger said. "I usually have a melody first, and then I'll try to pick words to mold into that."

"When we started out, he kept coming up with these strange lines that made no sense, but then there would be one thing that would pull it all together," Gulliford added. "I totally trust what he's doing — it's like he's picking favorite words that you don't get to use very often."

Once tonight's show at The Prince is done, The Nonplurals fi - The Daily Times


Adrian Machine



The origins of The Nonplurals as a musical ensemble
cannot be fully understood without first exploring
their intertwining destinies. Many years ago Brian’s
father worked at a canned foods distribution plant
owned by the cousin of someone who knew of Amanda’s
uncle’s favorite singer. This was the same singer who
used to sing the jingle for the glass cleaner that
Matt’s mother would use every weekend to bring the
toaster back to its original glory. Matt would spend
hours gazing into it , as though it were a mirror,
dreaming that some day he would own the largest canned
foods distribution center in all the southeast. Steve
has always been fond of toast, even as a child. But
it wasn’t until he was thirteen that he truly
developed his now mature taste for canned foods.
Several years later he met someone who was arranged to
marry the third cousin of the man who sold Brian his
first guitar. But due to an innate difference in
opinion about when it is appropriate to use an
exclamation point they never married. Amanda is
suspiciously fond of exclamation points. She’s been
known to use them in lieu of question marks and, yes,
sometimes even commas . . . and on rare occasion she
has been known to use them in place of the letters L
and I! !sn’t that crazy! fo!ks!