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Artist Spotlight: The Revivalists, the men behind the rock and roll

Written by  IntheNOLA.com
It was an extremely hot and steamy night when we first saw The Revivalists. We were slowly walking up and down Julia St. for White Linen Night, trying to look cool in our already sweaty white linen, when we happened upon this group of people playing in the middle of the street (y’all know how we do it in New Orleans). And we couldn’t take our eyes, ears, or dancing feet away from that spot ‘til they had finished. Little did we know that this group was poised to be one of New Orleans’ most popular bands.
 
Fast forward a couple years and we’re still talking about that band we saw all that time ago at White Linen Night. Only now, it’s not only Julia St. you’ll see them on. Nope, they’re hitting up places like Denver, New York, San Francisco, and everything in between. So, it is with great pleasure that we introduce you to IntheNOLA’s first Local Artist Spotlight of 2013, The Revivalists! Let the rock and roll begin!
The Revivalists
The Revivalists, consisting of David Shaw (vocals), Zack Feinburg (guitar), George Gekas (bass), Ed Williams (pedal steel guitar), Rob Ingraham (saxophone), Andrew Campanelli (drums), and Mchael Girardot (keys/trumpet), found themselves thrust together in 2007. David, looking to pursue his music career, was sitting on his porch (like any good New Orleanian) singing when Zack rode by on bicycle and decided to stop to join him on guitar and the rest is Revivalists history.
 
With a “blend of soulful, syncopated rock and earnest songwriting,” The Revivalists are certainly making their mark on the music scene. “Our songs reflect a lot of different styles,” said Andrew. “They reflect whatever we’re listening to.”
 
Zack added, “There are several people in the band liking a diverse range of music and all of us contribute to how a song is arranged or written. Our music can really go in a lot of different directions because we love songwriting so much. At our heart, we are a rock and roll band like good ol’, high energy and electric guitars blaring. But we’ve also got a bitchin’ horn section and non-conventional instruments, so we love mixing it up.”
The Revivalists
Now, when you think of the word revivalist, you probably think of someone awakening or bringing life to something. And The Revivalists certainly gave us life on that hot White Linen Night several years ago! The name of the band first started out as a “dumb combination of all our names,” explained Zack. “But it was 2007 in New Orleans and the city was still really recovering from the storm. At that time, there was definitely this sense that everything would come back, and it was exciting. So that was one way that The Revivalists worked. It was also that I liked playing older styles and tunes and you call someone that plays a tune a different style a ‘revivalist,’ so that was another way that worked. I got the idea by watching 60 Minutes. They did a piece on Bruce Springsteen where they described his concerts as having a ‘revivalist fervor.’”
 
With writing being an integral part of The Revivalists, the guys all have a part in it with David having “the final say because it’s coming out of my voice. So I put the final stamp of approval.” Zack said, “Dave brings a lot of stuff to the table and we’ll add our stuff to it. We’ll write music and bring it to Dave for a melody or bring it to everybody and sort of toss it around and shape it, like a potter’s wheel. We’re a lot more collaborative than the majority of bands; you’ll see usually there is a benevolent dictator. We’re a pretty egalitarian group. That’s the reason we need Mike. We need a seventh guy for when we vote for stuff.”
The Revivalists
Being in a city like New Orleans, The Revivalists can’t help the influence New Orleans plays in their music and themselves. “We’ve definitely got that rhythmic tinge to our stuff and that funkiness going on in a lot of ways,” Zack said. “And living in a city with so many heavyweights is definitely going to influence our work ethic. Anytime I’m starting to get lazy, I can go to a bar two blocks away from my house on a Thursday and feel like, ‘Shit, I’ve got to practice.’ While we’re not overtly playing songs that are about New Orleans or overtly funk music or jazz music, I think the influence of the city is simmering under there.”
 
Andrew added, “No matter what, New Orleans music has a rhythm, a beat. You can feel it and you want to move to it, fast or slow, whether if it’s funk or jazz. It’s more like the spirit of it rather than the sound of it. Plus, when you go to other cities, it’s way more cutthroat. Here, it’s not really competition; it’s more like inspiration. New Orleans people help each other out a lot more. Everybody books and promotes for each other.”
 
One of The Revivalists’ biggest goals is to play on the moon…no, seriously. “I think with the right microphone it be able to work,” noted David enthusiastically. Delving even more into the issue, Rob added, “We would have to pump oxygen into some kind of glass dome or something. When we tell the government we want to, I think NASA will kind of pick up the slack. We’ll REVIVALIZE the NASA space program!” And as Andrew explained, “When we play on the moon, that’s where our job ends.”
The Revivalists
While playing on the moon is obviously on The Revivalists’ to-do list, the guys also have some more concrete goals, specifically with international touring, new albums, and signing with a record label. And with all the festivals coming up, you’re going to see and hear these guys even more.
 
“This last year, we’ve seen a lot of growth,” said Zack. “We signed on with a really good booking agency and we found really good management. They’re really fighting for us now, so this festival season coming up, we’re going to see ourselves playing pretty much every festival.”
 
For more information about The Revivalists, please visit their website, Facebook, and Twitter. To purchase music, including their latest album, City of Sound, please visit their online store.

Last modified on Sunday, 13 January 2013
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