Q&A: Guitarist Zack Feinberg talks about The Revivalists’ place in modern rock
(Courtesy of Zackery Michael)
The Revivalists Concert in Los Angeles
By Max Kieling
September 8, 2019, 3:46 pm
Modern rock often struggles to remain innovative and dodge cliches.
The Revivalists try to separate themselves from the plethora of bands facing this issue with their energetic live performances.
The eight-person, New Orleans-based rock band released their fourth album, “Take Good Care,“ in November 2018, and will play the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on September 27. Guitarist Zack Feinberg said the latest album showcases the band’s ability to cover a wide spectrum of styles, including acoustic pop and grunge rock. Despite the uniformity of many modern rock sounds, Feinberg said the band separates itself from the rest because of the diverse quality of its music, as well as energetic live performances.
Feinberg spoke with the Daily Bruin’s Max Kieling about originality and the importance of an engaging live performance in the world of modern rock.
Daily Bruin: Would you say your music has stylistically evolved from the rock sound of your 2010 debut album, “Vital Signs” to the pop influences heard on your second album, “City of Sound”?
Zack Feinberg: I’m not sure if that is where the change really occurred. I think, in “City of Sound,” we began to expand more into production. That was intentional. We started sounding a little more professional. … Then we kind of turned back into a rock band in our next record. I think we realized how much we valued live performance and that our biggest strength is performing live and being up there.
DB: Since your band is composed of eight people, do you ever find that the size influences group dynamics?
ZF: Yeah, it does. It can be a lot of cooks in the kitchen sometimes. But also, there’s also this is kind of something amazing thing that happens when we’re applying controlled chaos. There’s a lot of great ideas, and there’s a lot of good material. Also, a lot of talent. It certainly makes for really fun live shows. That said, navigating the creative aspects can be challenging. But it really comes down to respecting each other. And we do respect each other, so we’re able to do it. However, it’s definitely not simple sometimes.
DB: In your newer songs like, “Change” and “You And I” there seem to be influences from bands like Spoon and The Black Keys. What other bands influence your sound?
ZF: I definitely like those bands. I think the Red Hot Chili Peppers, too. We definitely have that sort of rock stream running through us. Our lead singer David Shaw definitely has a very soulful voice. So the great rock bands definitely inspire us too. You know, the Rolling Stones, The Who, bands like that. But yeah, we like all kinds of music.
DB: Building on that, how was the experience opening for the Rolling Stones in July?
ZF: It was amazing. It was an incredible live show. Especially at this great state, it’s 2019 and we’re opening for the Rolling Stones. It just felt so amazing. At the show, it sort of inspired us to take it to the next level when we performed. It gave us so much energy and we even felt more confident, or something. It was a truly amazing experience.
DB: And what can fans who have never seen you live before expect from your upcoming show in Los Angeles?
ZF: I think we’re a very engaging live act. We’re kind of tailor-made for a live experience. We’re an eight-person band, there’s a horn section, we have two drummers, there’s fun solos. We have a lot of super high energy rock moments. Even if you haven’t heard any of our songs, you’d still enjoy our show. There’s not a lot that you can’t enjoy honestly. I mean, it’s rock and roll.
DB: Rock as a genre can tend to be bogged down by the past, as many artists can struggle to evolve their sound. What do you think The Revivalists bring to the genre that is unique to your band and your experiences?
ZF: I would say that the medium of music is not exhausted. There’s still a lot out there and I think that’s what we bring to it. We bring our sound and our energy to the genre. Anytime you come out with music that comes from a real place that connects with people, that’s something new. I feel like we make music that creates emotional connections with people. And that’s really what we bring to the table. We’re doing the best we can.
DB: What direction is The Revivalists heading musically? Are you going to try to evolve into new territory or stay true to your original sound?
ZF: Well, we always try to stay true to ourselves. But also, in being true to ourselves, there’s going to be an element of inspiration. I mean, it’s hard being one member of several to say where we are heading musically. But I will say, with our next record, we will definitely keep pushing to see what we can do with our sound. It may be a different direction.