What Inspired you to start playing Guitar?
I loved ACDC growing up, when I was a teenager I saw them play for the first time, Angus started the show playing thunderstruck on top of a huge speaker with one hand rocking the lick, and the other giving the horns, thats when I knew it was the instrument for me.
Who are your guitar heroes and what was the first song you learned to play?
I have such an eclectic taste in music so I love many different types of guitar players, the Edge, Angus Young, Johnny Greenwood, Jerry Cantrell, Billy Corgan, Adam Jones, David Gilmour are some of my favorite players. I learned basic chords on the guitar first so some of my first tunes learned were Bruce Springsteen’s ‘My Home Town’ and John Denvers ‘Country Roads’, but the song i remember working on and wanting to learn early on was ‘Mama i’m coming home ‘by Ozzy.
Do you remember your first Gig?
It was in january 1998, we played a small bar called the townhouse pub just north of boston, it was a college hangout and I remember at the time we were playing cover tunes and we packed the place out, just a bunch of buddies getting loaded, I remember seeing a flyer for a band called ‘Godsmack’ playing the week after, the next year they played woodstock 99 and this past summer we toured with them, small world.
“It would be 2 more years of cutting our teeth in the New York and going on some small regional tours until we quit our jobs, bought a van and hit the road fulltime.”
What is the story behind Rev Theory? Where did the name come from? How long have you guys been playing together?
When we graduated from college in 2001, Dave our drummer and me got jobs working in boston, Rich moved back to the New York area. It was during this time he met our manager, Steve Ferraro. Steve had asked Rich if he knew any musicians that would be interested in starting an original project, I got a call the next day and Dave n me moved to Long Island in January 02. We searched for a bass player until the summer of 02 when we met Matt through an intern at our managers office. He was going to NYU studying voice and music. We started jamming and writing songs, and by the fall we played our first gig in Long Island. It would be 2 more years of cutting our teeth in the New York and going on some small regional tours until we quit our jobs, bought a van and hit the road fulltime. made an album on our own with grammy award winning producer Paul Ebersold and then hit the road to support, toured with everyone from Evanescence, to Hinder to Buckcherry.
We literally grinded it out on the road touring the country over and over, sold 40k albums on our own and had a our single ‘Slowburn’ go top 25 on the rock radio charts. Thats when we earned a major label deal with INterscope/Howes/Maloof in 2007. It was a long hard road to get there and looking back it was really just the start. As far as the name, we had a bunch of choices and we needed a name for our first gig, Revelation Theory just sounded good and over the years it has taken on a more specific meaning to each of us. This past album is when we shortened it. All of our fans called us Rev theory anyways and people kept getting it wrong, revolution, kevdution, etc it was getting ugly..
You guys have been touring quite extensively promoting “Light it Up” with Crue Fest and Buckcherry. Any plans of slowing down?
As of now no, we are a touring band and thats where we make the biggest difference, as long as we can get in front of people we are going to turn them, we truly believe that, so staying on the road is the best thing for Rev Theory right now. Our label has been committed to developing and establishing us as a career band, and not just throwing us against the wall and seeing if we stick. They have been behind us staying out on the road and believe in our record. We are about to launch another single and then we’ll take it day by day.
6. When can we expect to see a follow-up to “Light it Up”?
We are already writing and have been since the spring, I feel like we have a lot of good material right now and we haven’t finished this album cycle yet. That being said we are taking it one step at a time, we want to be ready to start thinking follow up, but right now our efforts are to support this album on another single, it really will all depend on how Broken Bones does to dictate when we are going in to make another album.
7. How do you go about the process of Songwriting? Do you sit around on a couch and play guitar? Do you watch films or read books to get inspired?
Songs can come from anywhere, typically the genesis of most of the songs will come from Matty or myself playing on an acoustic guitar, or jamming a riff with Dave. We’ll have an idea melodically, conceptually, or just a riff and then things will take shape as the whole band will contribute to finish things out. As far as inspiration, it can come from anything, we are all music, art, and entertainment fans. I personally get inspired when i see a band live. Its great to be on the road with such great bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Motley Crue, Godsmack, Buckcherry, Seether, they have all inspired us to raise our game and bring the rock.
8. Ever had an embarrassing onstage moment?
Yes, funny you ask, we were just talking about this the other night, It was actually in Amsterdam while we were on tour with Evanescence in the fall of 06. The first thing we all did when we got to Amsterdam was hit the coffee shops and indulge in some of the cities finest. It was early so we figured that by the time the show started we would be fine to play. The show was sold out at the Paradiso, a legendary venue in the heart of the city. Right before the show Rich and me thought it would be fun to smoke again, we figured when in Rome, even though it was the Netherlands. We had never played stoned before, so our mangers strongly advised against us in doing so, but we did it anyways.
We were flying high and during the first 3 songs we were on top of the world, there was a thick haze in the air and the vibe in the venue was amazing. In the 4th song of our set i start the song with a riff, just me. I started playing a song called M367, as i was playing the other guys realized that this wasn’t the song on our planned setlist and Dave yelled at Rich, and Rich yelled over at me, i looked over at him in the zone and started screaming in rock heaven and continuing on playing the same riff not knowing that I was playing the wrong song. Thankfully, band was able to audible, but the embarrassment didnt set in until i finally realized that I started the wrong song, it was then into the first verse that I started to become paranoid and the high turned to low as I questioned every move I made for the rest of show, I literally forgot how to play the guitar, Rich actually fell off the stage, it was horrible, it really turned the energy of the show.
After we finished playing, our managers looked at us with a I told you so look and we knew that was the last time I was ever gonna smoke before a big gig, or at least I was going to practice to play high before I did it again.
9. What is your favorite piece of gear?
I love my Line 6 DL4 Delay pedal, very dynamic pedal.
10. What inspired or motivated you to switch from playing Dean to playing Prestige Guitars?
First of all they play great, they look great, and are really good quality guitars. Dean is a good company but as far as playability and durability, Prestige is exceptional. Being on the road as much as we are the proof is really in the pudding. I am also from Vancouver and I liked the fact that I had the chance to be a part of a hometown company, and one that was on the up and up.
11. You seem to switch between your Prestige Classic and Heritage Standard guitars regularly. What do you like most about each guitar?
It really depends on the room, size of stage, and the length of set. I really like the Classic when we are playing a longer set, it’s a lighter guitar and easier to maneuver, and still has a great tone, a little warmer generally than the standard. Depending on the room I like to dial my Standard in, I like the weight of guitar tonally, it feels ‘heavier’ tone wise. It’s really a feel thing, they both play great, and lately I have also been using the Heritage Hollow for a song or two.
12. What can we look forward to seeing from Rev Theory in the near future?
Going to be doing a tour with Lynrd Skynrd this month, its really exciting, they are a legendary band and it’ll be fun getting to meet them and share the stage with them. Then in November we will be going out with Breaking Benjamin, I am really looking forward to opening for them, we haven’t yet and I have heard great things about them as a band and I know they have great fans. As far as 2010, we will be solidifying our plans soon and announcing them by years end. We are releasing a new single in December called Broken Bones, its a very special song to the band and me personally, so I am really looking forward to having it hit the airwaves.
13. What advice do you have for bands and musician’s starting up to “make it” in the biz?
Have a plan, surround yourself with good business people, get a good manager, and booking agent and really take a stab at it, get out there, and tour. While doing so, concentrate on writing great songs. Take that leap of faith but understand it’s gonna take a while, it takes ten years to be an overnight success, we are about 7 in, so I am hoping we are ahead of the curve:)
Guitars: Heritage Classic, Heritage Standard, Heritage Hollow
Amps: Mesa Dual Rectifier Tremoverb/Cornford MK50
Effects: Dunlop Wah, MXR phase 100, Line 6 Delay, MXR flanger, MXR, tremelo, BOSS Chorus