The Revivalists come to Vilar Center in Beaver Creek, Feb. 2
February 1, 2017
Every band has a "how we met" story, whether it's collaborating at an open mic night or a Craigslist-facilitated rendezvous. For The Revivalists, it's "the bike story."
"I was a student at Tulane and I was riding my bike home from class, and this guy was singing his heart out and playing guitar on his front porch," said Zack Feinberg, the band's guitarist. "I stopped to have a listen, and it sounded really good.
"He stops playing, and I said, 'hey, you sound really good man; don't mind me, I'm just hanging out.' He finished the song, it was really good, and he said, 'do you play?' 'Yeah, yeah.' He passes me the guitar and we ended up hanging out all afternoon. It was our lead singer, David (Shaw) — that's the true creation myth."
At the time, Feinberg was a student at Tulane University and attending Sunday morning Youth Music Workshops at Tipitina's music club with drummer Andrew Campanelli.
"We were the only college kids going," Feinberg said with a laugh. "It was mostly middle school and high school kids trying to learn a little bit from these awesome New Orleans musicians."
Feinberg brought Shaw and Campanelli into the fold, as well as sax player Rob Ingraham, whom he knew from Tulane, and Campanelli recruited bassist George Gekas and Michael Girardot on keys and trumpet. Along came pedal steel guitarist Ed Williams, and the band solidified as a septet.
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"The lineup we have today has been the same since 2010, 2011 — the same seven guys," Feinberg said.
On the road
It's relatively rare for a band to keep the same cast of musicians for nearly a decade, especially traveling across the country in close quarters.
"It's challenging," Feinberg said. "If you're tired, you get more grumpy; you don't have your own space, you get more grumpy, so it can be challenging, especially when we're traveling in a van. We just in the fall switched over to touring in a bus, which is helpful for that. You get more sleep. When you wake up, you're generally in the city, the bus drives when you're sleeping, so you can wake up and do your own thing all day.
"In a van, you wake up and then you're sitting there for however many hours it takes to drive. You're stuck there with each other. It feels like you have less freedom over your time, which is frustrating."
Occasional aggravation comes with the territory, but maintaining a mutual respect for one another and cultivating real friendships helps ease the stress of touring and keeps spats from coming to blows, he said.
"We all came together because we were friends, no one was a hired gun — that hasn't been how our band came together," he said. "We really try to care for one another and be decent people. Nobody's ever fought each other; there's never been anything like that."
The upgrade from van to bus came on the heels of the breakout success of the band's most recent album, "Men Amongst Mountains," particularly the single "Wish I Knew You," which has gotten a lot of play on Colorado radio stations.
"The rising success is definitely real," Feinberg said. "We're selling out these shows a lot, and that's a great thing. I think that success has enabled us to switch over to the bus, which makes life easier on the road, that's a positive thing.
"We've always felt like we ought to have this level of success, and perhaps beyond it, so it's not going to anybody's head or anything. We worked 10 years to get to this point, and we feel like, great, this is going incredibly well; it's going better than we thought it would in many ways. We're really happy about it."
The success has driven the band to create new material that's of an even higher caliber.
"As musicians, we've gotten better," Feinberg said. "I think the songwriting has grown, as well. I think we still share the idea that we're very open stylistically to anything, but we've pinpointed various vibes that we can do well with the group that we have."