Vail Daily News
The Sons and Their Floyd Fathers
by Shauna Farnell
The Sons of Nothing might have finally landed at the right time in their rock careers to admit they’ve got a father.
The Utah-based band, famous for its dual personality as one-half Pink Floyd cover band and one-half original progressive rock, are beginning to let Jekyll and Hyde shake hands and reach an understanding.
“The last time we played the Sandbar, and often when we played anywhere, we sometimes opened for ourselves,” said Sons of Nothing front man Thom Bowers. “We’d play our own tunes, then come back with Floyd. This time, we’ll be going back-and-forth. We finally started letting our Floyd influence creep in.”
Bowers and band decided they could be sons of something much worse than one of the most embraced rock-art-space-progressive – call them what you will – bands of all time.
“I don’t know what made Pink Floyd such a hugely influential band, I don’t think they know either,” Bowers said. “Maybe it’s the universal themes like in ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’ It’s got simple, universal themes going on, especially to young people. The music is so well-produced and very little of it is dated. It’s withstood the test of time pretty well. Some of it is the rite of passage. There’s a lot of angst in the music that young people identify with. Deserved or not, they also have a big reputation for being a drug-influenced band.”
Before starting Sons of Nothing when he met guitarist Tim Hollinger in 2001, Bowers had been through the ringer with other musical acts, during which time his influence from Pink Floyd followed him like an odor.
Embracing the artistic side
“I was in so many bands that tried to beat the art rock out of me,” Bowers said. “In Tom Hollinger, I found someone who embraced it as much as I did. When we got talking, we started jamming on Floyd. That has now evolved into ‘Floydshow.’ When the ‘Floydshow’ started, we were still aiming for this pop thing, even though we thought one might negatively influence the other. We wanted to be our own men, our own band. Besides that fact, ‘Floydshow’ worked so well, we just had to admit we’re good at it. We’re good at putting across their particular style and their particular vibe. So, we started thinking, if we could have those influences and do it our own way – as that turned out to be true -audiences are getting behind it too.”
In a similar spirit as that governing the incorporation of Floyd music with light shows at planetariums throughout the United States, Sons of Nothing have designed a whole new dimension to “Floydshow,” incorporating lights, film screenings and all sorts of visuals to accompany the band’s impeccable live renditions of favorite Floyd tunes, which coincide with the 30th anniversary of Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” album.
“I discovered the Floyd when I was a teenager,” Bowers said. “What I liked about it is you could listen to the songs and it could take you to a whole other place. I wasn’t just listening and picturing a bunch of guys playing music. ‘Wish You Were Here’ was my favorite album.”
Sons of Nothing will be playing two gigs at the Sandbar in West Vail tonight and Friday. Both will be Floyd extravaganzas involving the four core Sons and also saxophonist John Flanders. One show unleashes the entirety of “Wish You Were Here” and the other will pick through each crater of “Dark Side of the Moon.” Bowers refused to say which show will transpire on each night.
“”Either way, it’ll be a nigt of classics.” ,” he said. “Maybe come on out to both!”
As to Sons of Nothing’s own material, the band’s third album will be on its way later this year. And one day, Bowers can only hope to develop a portion of the following that Pink Floyd has collected over the decades.
“They’re never necessarily going to be pop icons, but they definitely don’t have a fickle fan base,” Bowers said of Floyd. “We’re excited about finally being comfortable with that influence. It’s not the most fashionable, but the fans are rabid, enthusiastic supporters. We’re honest about it, and it’s reaching people.”