Maybe more is better — when it comes to a rock show, anyway.

Certainly, as a paying customer, the fact that you can see some 25 bands for one price at Sunday’s Carnival of Madness show in Bangor is a good thing.

But being part of the Carnival of Madness Tour is also good for the bands, says Jon Lawhon, bass player for Black Stone Cherry. That’s because unlike some tours, where band members are cooped up together for long bus rides, a multi-band tour allows them to hang out with a lot of different people, in a lot of different buses, and hopefully avoid getting grumpy.

And bands that are in a better mood make for better shows.

“When four or more bands get together for a tour, it’s always fun. More people traveling together means more people to hang out with, and you don’t feel so confined,” said Lawhon, 28. “On tours (with just your own band), you get to that point where you’re like, ‘I love you guys, but I want you all to leave me alone for a while.’ “

Black Stone Cherry is one of five hard-rock bands headlining Carnival of Madness 2011, along with Theory of a Deadman, Alter Bridge, Adelitas Way and Emphatic. When the tour comes to the Bangor Waterfront Pavilion, the headliners will combine with 20 regional and local bands to put on a daylong show running roughly from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

The homegrown lineup will include Lawton, Misgyded, Leach Field, Chaos Machine, Trediah, Dan Rooney and Revolvers, A Days Confession, Bury the Myth, The Thriftways, Core, Salvo-Off, Fifth Freedom and Dark Side Out.

While all of the bands on the Carnival of Madness tour have a hard edge and have had radio success, Black Stone Cherry stands out for its unique musical lineage. The members are from the small town of Edmonton, Ky., which is also the hometown of the Kentucky Headhunters, an innovative rock/country band that had commercial success beginning in the late 1980s.

But the connection is stronger than that. Black Stone Cherry’s drummer John Fred Young is the son of Kentucky Headhunters guitarist Richard Young and the nephew of Headhunters drummer Fred Young.

Black Stone Cherry also practices in the same old farmhouse as the Kentucky Headhunters. Known as “The Practice House,” the old house has been in the Young family for generations.

“Richard and Fred’s great-grandmother gave them that house in the 1960s so they’d have a place to play,” said Lawhon. “It’s still in fairly good shape.”

But although they are from rural Kentucky and have strong ties to the Headhunters, don’t be too quick to label Black Stone Cherry as country.

“We’re all influenced by a lot of different stuff: jazz, blues, Motown, hip-hop, metal, country, pop,” said Lawhon. “Some people call us Southern rock, which is technically correct — we’re from the South, and we’re a rock band. But we’re not exactly Lynyrd Skynyrd.”

(Maybe so, but they have covered the Marshall Tucker Band Southern-rock classic “Can’t You See” on one of their albums.)

Lawhon moved to Edmonton from Florida when he was 15. He joined the high school marching band, where he met fellow Black Stone Cherry members Young and Chris Robertson, the lead singer.

He hated them both. Right away.

“I had been in a school with a big band, and I wanted to be all serious and professional, and those two guy just wanted to joke around,” said Lawhon.

But at some point, they all got on the same page musically. They’ve been playing together as Black Stone Cherry for 10 years now; Lawhon is the oldest member.

The band has had more than a half-dozen songs hit the Mainstream Rock charts since 2006, including “Lonely Train,” “Blind Man” and “White Trash Millionaire.” Its last two albums have hit the top 30 on the Billboard 200 mainstream album chart, including “The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” released earlier this year.

The group has had a fairly slow build to success, Lawhon says, helped by a European tour with Hinder.

“We were lucky to get to know the guys in Hinder, and they blew up and went on this European tour and wanted us to go with them,” said Lawhon. “That helped us a lot. Now when we go to England, we can headline places that hold 5,000.”

Those who go to Carnival of Madness can expect to see more than 5,000 people in the audience, however.

After all, more bands means more fans. And more is better.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

[email protected]