Toothless didn’t take its name from the main character of “How To Train Your Dragon,” but the band rolls with the link.
After connecting through Luzerne County Community College’s music recording technology program, the five-piece metalcore band from Shavertown found its groove to play in and around Northeast Pennsylvania.
Toothless gained local fame through its reach across subgenres of metal, pulling influences from various hardcore and mathcore national acts. And despite its name, the band put some serious bite in its music, proven by its Steamtown Music Award win for Metal Act of the Year in 2016.
Now the quintet — made up of Travis Antoniello on vocals, Eric Novroski on guitar and vocals, Brian Zannetti on guitar, Scott Wood on bass and James Slattery on drums — expands its shows to reach past NEPA to Philadelphia and Maryland.
Q: How did you each get involved in music?
James Slattery: My dad bribed me to take drum lessons with “Star Wars” toys when I was 4. I hated it at first but eventually grew to love it.
Scott Wood: Musical family.
Brian Zannetti: My dad had guitars around the house, and I started bugging him for guitar lessons when I was 10.
Eric Novroski: I started playing drums when I was 6 and picked up guitar when I was 13. My dad is a guitar collector, so it was easy to pick up a guitar when I wanted.
Travis Antoniello: I picked up my dad’s bass when I was around 9. He started teaching me some chords, and I eventually got my own, little, mini acoustic.
Q: What do you remember about the first time you performed together?
TA: Our first show was at the Otherside in Wilkes-Barre. James bled everywhere, Eric was wearing short shorts, Scott was wearing Daisy Dukes and knee-high socks, I was wearing an ugly Christmas sweater (not for long), and Brian hadn’t joined yet.
Q: What is the process for writing music?
SW: Eric and James yelling at each other.
EN: It is a lot of back and forth. We like to work together as a team to have all of our creative minds come together in a song.
Q: How have you changed as a musician?
TA: Being involved in concert and marching band throughout high school helped me learn a lot of music theory and things I otherwise would’ve been oblivious to. Being able to apply all of those skills has been extremely helpful.
Q: What are some of your favorite memories?
EN: It’s hard to narrow it down. There are so many good memories I have from this band. At one of our shows, James ended up wearing a gigantic Trump mask, and we had a Trump “wall of death.”
TA: One of our fans hand-hammered a steel battle shield with our “T” logo on it. It’s awesome.
SW: Playing Halloween shows, collectively dressed as Lt. Dangle from “Reno 911.”
BZ: During a show, I tripped over a cable and almost fell into Eric’s rig.
Q: How has the NEPA music scene changed?
JS: Over the past 10 or so years, it seems like there are just less and less bands popping up or sticking around. It wasn’t uncommon 10 years ago to go to a local show and consistently see 50 to 100 kids coming out. It seems as time goes on, there is just less and less interest in the local scene in the area, both with forming bands and coming out to shows, which I think has a lot to do with the constantly decreasing number of venues that support original, local music. With that being said, there still are some awesome bands popping up and a solid group of people dedicated to keeping the scene alive, at least in this genre of music.
Q: What are your future goals for the band?
TA: We are striving to make this our career. Being on the road and playing shows as much as we possibly can, seeing the world doing what we love to do, meeting new people and experiencing new things.
— charlotte l. jacobson
Founded: December 2015
Based out of: Shavertown
Members: Travis Antoniello, vocals; Eric Novroski, guitar and vocals; Brian Zannetti, guitar; Scott Wood, bass; and James Slattery, drums.
For fans of: Norma Jean, Every Time I Die and the Dillinger Escape Plan
Genre: Metalcore, with hardcore and mathcore influences
Online: toothlessbandpa.com, toothlessbandpa.bandcamp.com, Toothless Band PA on Facebook, @toothlessbandpa on Instagram and Twitter