The Revivalists Are Modern, Musical Southern Gentlemen
New Orleans has been known as a music capital forever, but did you know it’s also home to some seriously hot southern gentlemen?
And as the Revivalists prove, there’s nothing hotter than a guy who has both manners and a musical instrument — especially when he’s talking about how much he loves his girlfriend despite a constant schedule of touring, because sorry ladies, but most of the guys in this band are taken.
We caught up with the Revivalists to talk about touring, their New Orleans roots, and what it’s like to work with seven of your besties for nine years and counting.
Being from New Orleans, where’s your favorite place to play on tour? West Coast or East Coast?
Andrew: Being from New Orleans actually gives us a bit of a different perspective on touring than being from other cities. The city’s unique music draws people from all over the world to experience New Orleans music in its natural element. There are pockets of people who identify with New Orleans everywhere we tour. People have told us that the live energy of a Revivalists show is a little like being transported to the gulf for the duration of the set. As our fan base has grown over the past few years, the sense of community that permeates the New Orleans music scene has grown along with it. There are amazing cities all over the nation that seem to appreciate live music more than others. Whether its San Francisco, New York, Denver, Pensacola, or at home in New Orleans the energy coming off the crowd most often determines our favorite shows. That said, playing a festival on the beach, in the mountains, or on a boat out at sea is pretty hard to beat.
What’s the story behind your single “Wish I Knew You”?
Dave: For a song like “Wish I Knew You” I’d rather keep the meaning of the song open and free for people to interpret on their own. I certainly know what it means to me and love hearing from our fans what the song means to them. Too often in the past I’ve revealed the truth behind certain songs and felt that by defining them they lost a bit of the mystery. I like mystery…it keeps things interesting.
In a band with seven guys, what’s the writing/creative process like with so many opinions and ideas?
Andrew: Everyone is continually writing and coming up with song ideas to bring the table. The hardest part really is just finding time to work on everyone’s songs. When we get into the practice space, we may work on arranging a song that is complete as far as chords, lyrics and melody or we may work on fleshing out and writing lyrics to a jam that stemmed from a soundcheck on tour. It can be tough to navigate the songwriting process with 7 people who all have musical ideas. Over the years we’ve learned it’s best just to try out everyone’s ideas and generally the group will have a sense of what works best.
How do you see yourselves as a band now versus when you first started?
Andrew: When we first started in 2007 we had the goal to be a touring band playing originally for people at clubs and ultimately festivals. We knew then, as we do now, that the only way to go about it was to write the best songs we could and hit the road winning fans over one at a time. As things grew, we continued to pursue the best songs possible by improving our work in the studio all while refining the live show 150 dates a year. After nearly 9 years it’s become clear that the often disparate goals of putting on a great live show and writing the best songs possible have the common root of creating an honest connection with the listener. I think we’re better at it than we were 9 years ago but the band is much the same today as it was when we began in 2007.
Musically, do you all see eye-to-eye?
Andrew: I wouldn’t say we always see eye-to-eye musically. Everyone grew up listening to a lot of different styles of music but, for the most part, everyone appreciates all kinds of music, so the differences go song by song rather than genre by genre, which I think you’d find in any group of 7 people.
Who’s been your biggest influence as artists and musicians?
Andrew: Within the variety of music we all grew up on there are a few common artists like The Allman Brothers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bill Withers, and a lot of 90s hip hop, but our sound developed as a result of living in New Orleans hearing The Meters and Allen Toussaint songs all day and eventually touring and learning about putting on a live show from Rebirth Brass Band in the first years we were on the road. The live energy and musicianship of New Orleans is as much a part of our sound as is the musical influences that make impressions on our songs.
Most of you are in relationships, what’s the most important thing to maintain that while on tour and being away from your partner for a long period of time?
Michael: Being away from home about half of the year, definitely presents challenges to a relationship. But if we maintain trust, and we maintain communication, everything else becomes easier. We call and video chat as often as possible, and that helps. Knowing that our schedules won’t always line up is difficult. But if there’s love and there’s trust and we both know that we’re still there to support each other, then we’re on the right track.
What makes a guy a true gentleman?
Michael: If you put someone else’s wants and needs before your own without any expectation of recognition or payment, then you’re a true gentlemen.
If you guys weren’t doing music, what do you think you’d be doing?
Michael: I’d probably be doing something mechanical or electrical. I’ve always loved physics, engineering, and technology. I’ll make wild guesses about everyone else. Dave would have a macho construction job where he drives a huge truck and tells people how to do things correctly. Ed would still be working in finance. Rob would probably be a writer of some sort. I don’t know about the other guys, but they’re all super smart, and would all making way more money if they had stayed away from rock and roll music.