After Totaling Van, Motionless in White Bounce Back to Fulfill Dreams

On March 29 at 6:20 p.m. PT/9:20 p.m. ET, Yahoo Live will live stream Motionless in White's concert from the Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia. Tune in HERE to watch!

In early March, Scranton, Pennsylvania modern metal quintet Motionless in White was touring through the Northwest United States, on its way from Denver, Colorado to Salt Lake City, Utah when it encountered a blinding snowstorm that only allowed the members to see a few feet in front of their van. The headlights were as ineffective as a flashlight with cheap batteries and the vehicle’s wheels were struggling to grip the highway.

It was the first time in two years that the successful band wasn’t touring in a bus. The reasons were twofold. Motionless in White figured that since the Northwest was enduring a harsh winter it would be safer in a van that stood less chance of being buffeted by the wind. It also figured being in a van would allow it to reestablish some of the camaraderie it had lost from being in a bus for so long.

“When you’re on a bus, you’re so distant from everyone else,” explains vocalist Chris “Motionless” Cerulli, who favors black to white in his tattered shirts, eyeliner and nail polish. “We haven’t done a van tour in years and we always talk about how we’ve missed taking turns driving, hanging out and jamming music. We wanted this run to feel more like a road trip than a tour.”

Even with the snow and freezing temperatures, the van tour went as planned until Motionless in White were forced to pull off the highway on route 80 in Wyoming because the road was closed due to hazardous conditions. Motionless in White checked into a hotel and called the venue in Salt Lake City to delay the show for a day. After a solid night’s sleep the band headed out the next afternoon. The highway had reopened by then and Motionless in White expected to arrive at the club in plenty of time to make soundcheck. But as soon as he pulled onto Route 80 keyboardist Josh Balz was battling blizzard-like conditions.

“It was super-icy and snowy,” Cerulli tells Yahoo! Music. “We were pulling up onto a bridge when we hit a huge patch of ice and spun out a few times. We smashed right into the guard rail of the bridge and we thought were definitely going over the side. But we bounced off the rail, spun a few more times, hit the other side of the bridge guard rail and landed in a ditch. It happened so fast and was so disorienting, we didn’t have time to react. We were lucky that we weren’t on the road when we stopped, and no one smashed into us when we were skidding.”

The van was totaled, but amazingly no one was hurt, and while the band members may have been in shock, no one seemed particularly traumatized and everyone was lucid and sensible. “I think we were all fully expecting to crash through the guardrail and fall off the bridge,” Cerulli says. “When that didn’t happen everything else was a huge relief.”

Since Motionless in White had two vans on the road, the musicians piled into the second and finished the tour. Having survived its perilous brush with death, Motionless in White has reevaluated its aspirations and priorities. No longer is it miffed when critics compare it to Marilyn Manson or call the band gothcore. The group’s not even bothered when it gets inaccurately lumped in with roaring guitar-grinding bands like Veil of Maya or Chelsea Grin. What does still annoy them a little is when they’re aligned with flashy, image-conscious outfits like Black Veil Brides and Asking Alexandria, whose debut albums came out at around the same time as Motionless in White’s first offering, 2010’s Creatures.

While that debut was filled with jagged breakdowns an haunting keyboards, as well as roaring verses and melodic choruses redolent of the new breed, the group’s second release, 2012’s Infamous. featured more impressive musicianship and faster metal tempos, sounding like a cross between Slipknot and Avenged Sevenfold.

“We have stuff with a metal backbone, but we also have songs that are very rock-based,” Cerulli says. There are elements of a lot of different styles in our sound. “If we can say there’s a business model we like a lot and want to follow it is Avenged Sevenfold. They’ve catered to all types of fans across a huge spectrum of music -- active rock, metalcore and metal -- and that’s why they’re so huge today.”

Motionless in White’s latest release, Reincarnate, expands upon the growth of Infamous, featuring a wider variety of tempos, a more memorable array of riffs and numerous vocal styles, including roaring, moaning and even rapping. In addition to being the band’s most memorable record, it’s an effective bridge between Creatures and Infamous.

“After Infamous, we felt a bit of a disconnect from the fans,” Cerulli says. When we were doing this record, we felt like we had an extra motivation to build that intimacy and connection back up with the audience. We wanted the record to represent our new sound and point to where we want to go with the band, while staying true to what our current fans like hearing from us. It’s the first record we’ve put out that I’ve been 100 percent happy with.”

Up to now, Motionless have played Warped Tour, modern metal mini-fests and numerous Hot Topic band bills. It is currently on the road with For Today, Ice Nine Kills and New Years Day. While Motionless performs well on such lineups, it hopes to expand its fan base, which is why it is especially excited to tour this summer with Slipknot, Lamb of God and Bullet For My Valentine.

“That’s the world we’ve wanted to be in since day one,” Cerulli exclaims. “It’s really rewarding to be on a bill with bands we grew up with and totally respect. And we hope that some of the Slipknot and Lamb of God fans who aren’t familiar with us will check out our show and like what they see. I think it’s gonna be a huge tour for us.”

Sure beats almost falling off a bridge. Catch a live stream of Motionless in White’s March 29 show in Philadelphia, brought to you by Live Nation and Yahoo Music.