That's interesting. I've never heard of their their early acoustic stuff referred to as a gimmick, but I could see some heavy metal scene kids thinking it was. I have to say I own their first Nemo album and it really isn't that great. The "Oh What a Nightmare" side project is much better, because the brother's songwriting and melodies are much stronger.
Congrats on your bands' moderate success. Playing music is awesome, but to get paid for it is even more incredible.
What's interesting is most charlotte bands have gotten frustrated at one point or another and considered doing something totally off the wall or ridiculous to get noticed. I knew the Truckstop Preachers pretty well before they started doing all the crazy costume and giant foam hat bits. Nobody noticed them back then, but now if I mention that band to someone who follows the local scene they know who they are, all because of the crazy outfits.
Maybe it was a comment in jest by one of the Avett's and it was taken too seriously. Who knows. All I know is it worked for them and that's great.
Oh and thanks for the kind words