The Never’s taste for booze and Pellegrino

by Heather MacIntyre

The Never

Trekky Records

You might have recognized the intricate and beautiful snowflake album cover at a few record stores, even Barnes & Noble, over the last couple years, sticking out from the racks. That would be Antarctica, a concept that the Never agreed upon after rediscovering a childhood memory that they all shared. “All three of us had great Disney records that came with a book and vinyl so that you could read as you listen to the record. It was great!” explained percussionist Jonny Tunnel. So for two years artist/guitarist Noah Smith began to write and illustrate one for Antarctica, now one of the most beautifully assembled albums out of North Carolina.

The album was lyrically composed mostly by Smith, but contains the general message and efforts of all three members, outlining themes of environmental and political issues. They all are huge supporters of community involvement, such as co-ops. It’s been five years since this Chapel Hill psychedelic, indie folk band came together — what exactly does that genre mean? Maybe if you mesh together the Beach Boys, the Zombies and the Flaming Lips you’d get a pretty close crossbreed of the Never.

I’m sure their record label might ring a bell as well, Trekky Records (, which is based out of Chapel Hill (and holds the contracts of a few Triad bands). The label has been one of the most positive experiences for these guys (and many) in the music scene. Joah Tunnell (yes, Jonny’s brother) jokes, “That label has been shitty since day one!” He laughs and continues, “They have been an incredibly loyal label to work with. It really is a family, and an inspiring community to be a part of, with mucho talent. Also, they keep the booze and Pellegrino flowing like milk and honey.”

Seriously though, the Never has been, as they put it, “going steady” with Raleigh’s the Annuals ( for a few years now, and recognize their previous tour with them and Manchester Orchestra as their favorite to date — which is a lot to say when you’ve pretty much been touring straight for the last two years. Other favorites they share: If they could play a show with anyone it’s agreed upon it would be Black Sabbath or Sneaker Pimps.

The most fun they’ve ever had on tour was Halloween, playing at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City. But before it all started half a decade ago, the Tunnells came from Swan Quarter, NC (in the marshes!) and Smith, still resides in Pittsboro/Siler City. They found each other during a musical block while spreading themselves thin in a few other bands like the B-sides, Vibrant Green (with the Tunnell’s older brother) and an earlier member, Ari, who followed his own path from a side-project known as Lost in the Trees.

They’ve remained a three-piece for the last couple of years. So what do they do when they aren’t on tour? Smith works at his parents’ vintage/antique shop in Pittsboro, while Jonny and Joah spend time at the Trekky Records headquarters, helping run the label, along with the Owl Room recording studio and Auxiliary House Publishing. Though they’re in town right now, make sure to come out to the Blind Tiger ( in Greensboro this Saturday night around 10 p.m. and check out their live set — these guys won’t sit still for long before they get itching to tour again.,