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May 8, 1997 * Vol. 7, No. 18

Nice Guys Win

Situation No Win prove you don't have to be fierce to be heavy

by John Sewell

The underground rock scene produces new categories of music with amazing rapidity. These categories are usually perpetuated by the music media in search of new means of classifying music trends as they arise. 1) Once a new genre is defined, thousands of wannabe musicians all over the country join the queue to get in on the hot new trend. 2) Within a year, whatever had been hyped as the hot new trend becomes passé. 3) At this point, a deluge of bands who sound and look almost exactly alike scramble to deny their dubious musical heritage. Though almost all bands claim to be beyond classification, it is truly rare to meet a group of musicians who are not easily classified. Situation No Win is truly such a band.

The band could be most easily compared to the moody, yet poppy sounds of bands like Jawbreaker, Hüsker Dü, and Squirrelbait. The Murfreesboro-based group fits the criteria for a number of classifications, including emo, punk, power pop, hard-core, or college rock. Ironically, the guys in Situation No Win describe their sound as "heavy."

"We're not punk at all, we're more of a metal band," says lead vocalist/guitarist Joey Kneiser, 22. "It's just like a heavy guitar sound; it's heavy, fast, pretty technical—unlike our older stuff, which is more simplistic. Most of the punk rock kids don't even like it. The straight-edge, hard-core kids seem to like us 'cause we're heavier and faster. It's not all heavy and demonic like a hard-core metal band, though. It's still poppy."

Looking at the guys in the band doesn't really offer any visual cues to any trend affiliation, either. The band's non-image is actually a pretty good representation of the band: three college guys who just like to get together and play loud, fast music.

Situation No Win began in Oak Ridge and migrated to their new digs in Murfreesboro after graduating high school. Kneiser was the first to move to Murfreesboro to attend MTSU's recording industry program, and the other members commuted there on weekends so they could keep the band going. After graduating high school, drummer Eric Tittsworth and bassist John Nygard also enrolled in MTSU, studying pre-engineering and music, respectively. The main reason for relocating to Murfreesboro was to keep the band going, not for educational purposes.

"I just went to Murfreesboro to get the hell out of Oak Ridge," admits Tittsworth.

The band has accomplished quite a lot in their one-year history. Their first self-titled EP was recorded a mere three weeks after the formation of the band, on their own 3 Guys 12 Eyes label. They have a track included on the recent House O' Pain Records' Our Scene Sucks Part 2 compilation, and a tour is in the works for late May/June. They hope to release a full-length CD within the year, assuming they can find financial backing.

Situation No Win have made their mark in the area by playing several all-ages shows at the Mercury Theatre and the now-defunct Autonomy House. Even though the band claims no affiliation with the punk scene, they tend to get good reception from the punk audiences in Knoxville.

"Last time we played the Mercury, all those guys were there...all those gutter punk kids," says Kneiser. "They come up to us and talk after we play, so I guess they like us."

"All those image punk kids get on my who think you have to be part of some image to be punk. That's stupid. Everybody thinks we're like frat boys or something," Kneiser adds. "We're really just regular people."

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