J-HAD (Jared): Vocals, Guitar (producer, layout design, and more)
Hurricane Dave (Dave): Drums
*Dr Hands (bass) and Sato (Gits) not here.
THE REVILERS are a Massachusetts punk band that has been stomping since 2008. They have released two 7”s on PATAC records, appeared on some comps and did a split with Barcelona’s Bulldozer. Now through PATAC/Blackhole/Contra/4Subculture records, the world has been blessed with a full length of the hard driving fierce sounds of THE REVILERS. These thirteen tracks perfectly fuse the alchemy of Oi!, old hardcore, 77 punk and straight up rock and roll. They make no bones about it. They surrender no apologies. Completely DIY from the recording to the art design, you feel the blood and sweat seep through your headphones. With no point to prove and well-aged in the punk ethos, REVILERS kick open doors and do not look back. I had the chance to chat with J-HAD and Hurricane Dave to talk about the release of their self-titled debut (finally!)
Where do the 4 members of ReVilers come from? How did you guys join up?
J: Dave and I live on Cape Cod and Corey, our bass player, grew up here; he lives in Boston now. I’ve known him since 6th grade. Andy is from New Jersey. He moved to the area. I met him at a bachelor party. We just started playing music together. I have played in bands with Corey for a while, and Dave as well. I was looking for a bass player in an instrumental surf band that I was in; we talked about playing punk together.
Going through your 2 7”s, the Bulldozer split, and your new LP – you have had the same line-up. That is rare for a punk or hardcore band these days. What is the chemistry between the 4 of you like? What is the secret to your sticking together?
J: well, I am planning on kicking someone out (laughs). When we started the band, I had known Corey for a long time, and Dave as well. I knew Andy, but neither of them had met him before. I wanted to put it together because I knew everyone’s personalities would get along really well. More so than…we didn’t have an idea of what type of music we wanted to tackle. I just knew that it would be a good group of guys to hang out with.
D: Me and Jared and Corey had been playing (together) for awhile. And prior to that, we had other bands that had played with each other. And as those other members came and went, we still were grinding away doing that. It was natural for us to find ourselves playing together. And Andy, with his personality, was a natural fit with us.
And so, Andy and Corey are who as far as “Sato” and “Dr. Hands”.
D: haha…yeah…Andy is Sato and Corey is Dr. Hands.
You have had a long relationship with PATAC Records; which on the surface seems to be an extreme metal label. How do you fit on that roster?
J: We knew Dan. He was thinking of starting a record label. That was around the same time that we starting to play. We hadn’t even done a show. We were just practicing and recording what became the Isolation 7”. I am not even familiar most of the bands on the label. Dan just likes a lot of different types of music. He is interested in releasing different genres. It just kind of happened
So, considering that Dan leans more metal, are you happy with his ability to get your music out there? Like in the right webstores, distros, etc?
He does a good job with distribution. He gets our stuff heard by people who would not necessarily hear it. We just recently had our full length released with Blackhole Records. (The Owner) Brett had a label in the 90’s in New Jersey. So he is someone else getting our stuff out there with a different outlook.
Yeah – I saw that logo on the sleeve – I had never heard of Blackhole Records. How does that work with them co-releasing it? How does it work when 2 people put out your record?
J: There are actually 4 labels putting our record! Brett from Blackhole and Andy grew up together in New Jersey. His label was active in 10 years ago and recently wanted to start it up again. As far as how it worked out, Patac was going to do a CD for us; Brett showed interested in doing a 12” and co-releasing it with Contra from Germany. And then 4subculture Records wanted to do a record release in Czech Republic. It seems kind of crazy, but at the same time, by the time you ship everything out, getting CD’s to Europe, it ends up costing a lot of money to buy. It’s good having a bunch of small labels working on it together.
D: Every label has their own strong suit that they bring to the table. Brett might be distributing to someone that Dan’s not in the US; and vise versa.
J: so far it has worked out well.
Congrats on the CD/LP coming out. I see that it was recorded in “winter 2010/2011”… why did it take another year to get this puppy out?
J and D: (laugh)
J: I recorded it. I have my own recording equipment. We decided that I would record it. In the process, we ended up recording for a compilation and then another compilation track, and a split 7” track. We were playing a bunch of shows. I was recording other bands as well as moving… There was a lot going on. Our record took a back seat to other bands trying to get their records recorded. We only had 2 songs when we started it. We got up to 20 songs when we started it. Then, we threw a bunch away. It was an ongoing project. Because it was recorded in so many sessions, it was difficult to mix and get it to sound so cohesive. We will never record that way again.
Speaking of that ; On the two 7”s, Bulldozer split, and this LP – I see you recorded the band *(mixing too on the Bulldozer split)? Is this out of necessity? Do you ponder getting an outside producer for your future recording, an objective ear?
J: Yeah, if somebody is paying for it! Honestly, I hate recording. I would rather not do it. But there is no money and I own the equipment. It fell in my lap. I don’t mind doing it, but I would definitely be open to someone else do the recording and mixing.
I see that you have Gimme Danger studios – are you producing any other bands?
J: It’s not a permanent thing, that album was recorded in one room in basement. It’s not a real studio
Is it like The TEMPLARS with Acre Studios?
J: Yeah, I recorded Antibodies and Hammer and the Nails. I am just keeping I to friends’ bands. I would to expand on it in the future.
Does it feel really good, a relief, to get this out as a full length?
D: Yes. It definitely does. It feels really good. Like you said, it’s been two years. Some of the songs we had written in a previous band; Jared and Corey and I were in, the BLOODSTAINS. Some of them were holdouts that we never recorded. So It definitely felt good to get them out there finally.
I really appreciate the artwork – can you give me information behind the images.
D: the front cover is an etching
J: the front is a free copyright depiction of the Boston Massacre. And the back is a cartoon off of the corner of a map from the 1800s. Pretty Bizarre.
D: we tend to lean toward older drawings, rather than skulls. Like on Stand or Fall, we have an old pirate hanging by the Thames. Aesthetically, we like that old time style.
J: I could go for an old skull (laughs).
Are you happy with the sound of the record?
D: I am psyched on it, personally. Jared does everything – the recording, the mixing – so it’s hard for him to know because he listens to every song 10 thousand times before everything gets finalized. But it sounds great.
J: I absolutely hate it
D: he will never listen to it again
J: like you were saying earlier, about having someone outside the band work on it; whether they produce it or mix it, would definitely be a helpful thing. There is something about being too involved in it. You keep second guessing yourself. I still feel we could have come out better. But then we’d be waiting for four years. It’s only punk rock.
The songs are solid. I hear a lot of APA (Adolf and the Piss Artists)– not that you sound exactly like them - but you have the strong Oi! Bass line and back beat with a snotty, cathcy 70s guitar and harmony to it. To “Quit My Job” which I think has the same formula; a Ia Tommy & The Terrors way. Can you talk about your influences and song writing.
J: Dave can add to this in a second… one thing that we wanted to do in this band, early on, we wanted to show that we have a lot of influences. In other bands that I have been in, you do something for a year and then you want to branch out. And all of a sudden, it doesn’t resemble the band anymore. We don’t have a pre-determined idea of the sound that we wanted to do. But I think we wanted to come up with as many influences as we could get away with so that we don’t get bored. We can go in different directions and still have a flow. And people notice that and think that we did a good job. While others think that we sound too heavy or have too much melody. I like it. I think it sounds good. I am happy with it. It’s fun for us.
I think it sounds great. I think the key word is “balance”; it has great balance. There are Oi! elements , there are 70’s punk elements, there are straight rock and roll elements. Yeah, sometimes it gets heavy; but, I like heavy. But you don’t stay too slow paced mired by that late 80s US Oi! Sound..i don’t know…it’s catchy without being poppy. It’s a great blend. A good balance
J: I probably wanted it to be more melodic but I just can’t. The record gets heavier, more aggressive.
D: I think that just bringing all of us together works. All of our personalities match. We can all bring our own influence. Andy comes from a more NYHC background. I come from an American hardcore and UK82; Jared and Corey do too. No matter what we write, those influences come out of it.
J: It is not intentional
D: Andy will write a song and Jared will add his elements and all of a sudden you have a perfect mix of hardcore and oi!.
I had a friend who used to laugh at Oi! Band (e.g., The Last Resort) who called themselves “rock and roll band” – but I always dug it. You seem to want to teach the kids with a Jerry Lee Lewis cover. Why that instead of a Bruisers or Misfits or whatever?
J: for me, when I listen to music – I listen to stuff outside of punk and hardcore – it’s more similar than people realize. When I listen to the original Jerry Lee Lewis “End of the Road” when I hear it, I can hear instantly, “oh these chord changes will make a good punk song”. So to me it’s not a stretch. It’s good song. And to me Jerry Lee Lewis is punker than anyone.
I turned 13 in 1990 – as I got older for the following decade, I was blessed with a strong US Oi! And Punk scene; flourishing in almost every city, especially for me in SE MA – I was between PVD and Boston (where I mostly went). Then it seemed to vanish. Now, I feel like Boston and other cities are rising again, especially the international scene - thoughts? I feel like I can’t keep up again (with collecting records or hearing new bands). Like these punk bands with good sounds, just that old guy sound.
J: Yeah, even in the short amount of time we have been a band; we started in 2008…we don’t even consider ourselves an Oi! Band; considering how old we are and where we live, we are the furthest thing from what an Oi! Band should be. (We all laugh). But we like the music. It seems like when we first started, there were not a lot of bands playing this style. There were more hardcore bands and now those kids becoming interested in the whole oi! thing again.
D: I am younger than the rest of the band , what I notice is that toward the end of when I was a teenager playing music, the internet was honing in on music be super genre-ified; instead of 4 types of hardcore there were 70 types of hardcore. And everyone knew which type that they should play. And now it seems like that is getting maxxed out and people are getting back to what brought them into playing this music in the first place.
J: in Boston right now, there is definitely – what did you call it, “Old Guy punk”? – it seems like everyone is finding each other again. All the people that did not give up on it. Part of me wishes, not “wishes”, but it would be nice to see when there were big shows at The Rat or The Middle East and you would see a line down the street. But at the same time I like t everyone is in this dying scene. What does Andy call it, “The Museum”? You try to keep the museum alive for people who care. You know that everyone there is genuine. That makes it cool
D: We are all older and we are still doing it. Obviously, people are going to leave because their lives improve (laughs).
J: (…they got good advice)
D: There is something really nice about seeing the people at shows and they are your real friends and really into the music. They are still there for the right reasons. As shitty as might make their lives (laughs)
So if we could touch on lyrics for a bit…
J: oh god
Or we don’t have to…
J: no, no. we can
That song “Revision”…we will start off light…Can you touch on the impetus behind “Revision”? – it is something actually that (if I am right) I detest – this making of a commodity out of a tragedy; when people also make themselves ma personal part of the loss or death than they ever were.
J: yeah you are getting it. An example would be if you knew somebody that died. And all these people shit on that person their whole lives, now they post pictures on facebook and this whole attention/pity whore thing. It’s upsetting. Or on the flipside, like if someone dies and I get asked “are you going to the funeral?”. I say “No. I didn’t really know that person”. It is a social gathering.
Like “oh yeah, I sat next to him in math class a decade ago. I didn’t like him” Why am I going to go feel horrible now”.
J: I can dig into it, what if that person was an awful person? I will talk shit about the dead any day.
A lot of people that I went to high school with have died. Way above average I think. And now with facebook you see way more. And recently a girl from our grade died. Someone I was friends with, I liked her a lot, a couple of my friends went out with her. She was awesome. She died horribly, got killed by her boyfriend. Beaten to death. And then comes the deluge of fake involvement. And all the pseudo-deep, cathartic revelations start popping up. It’s not. No it’s just a horrible person killed someone. It goes up my ass.
D: People like to hijack tragedy no matter what the scale and make their own story about it, regardless of the facts.
J: I have specific instances where people completely ignored the person who died, had no time for them at all. They’re gone. And people all of sudden can’t function. It was a weird song to write with being a not solid topic. It just bugs me.
Well, if we can get global; “Fifth Column” seems like a not-so-veiled commentary on Extreme Islamic Terrorists. How do you see that world dynamic shifting as we “end” the wars in Iraq and Afghanastan?
J: I think politically it would not make any sense for us to answer since we do not all see eye to eye. Andy wrote the lyrics to that song. If you read it and apply it to other types of terrorism, not necessarily…
Well, the reason I honed in on the Islamic bend is because it’s called the “Fifth Column”; as the Five Pillars of Islam…
J: again, it can be taken however. In that song I think he is saying that we do not have any answers. If you are looking to us for answers, you have some serious problems.
D: That song is much more about anyone who is the turd in the punch bowl in society as opposed to making any coherent political statement about a group. You can take white supremecists the same way, they are trying to tear the country apart in the same way.
J: if you take any of our songs, they are social commentary rather than having kind of solution. We are borderline people. We do not have the solution.
Politics can sometimes be touchy in punk and oi! music – do you avoid it, deal with it head on, or stick general topics in your lyrics?
J: I don’t think we necessarily try to avoid it. As we said earlier, we all got together because we get along, we see eye to eye on a lot of things. It doesn’t bring in an element that we agree on. Half the time personally when we discuss politics, we end up not agreeing; but not one of us are poised (speak on it).
D: that’s the one good thing about staying in punk for so long. You start to realize that all the preaching didn’t mean shit. At 16, all the screaming I did about politically who -knows-what... I worked one job at sandwich shop, so what the fuck did I know? I feel like the older we get the more agnostic are. It’s a good thing. We actually have dynamic conversations where we take each others’ opinions into account. It is not so much a black and white thing.
J: The people going to shows, ten years ago those same people might not have been friends due to politics. But if you put those things aside, and have respect for a person, you can see where those people are coming from and respect those people’s opinions better. We don’t avoid politics, but I don’t feel like have the answers. I just don’t think I know more than anyone else.
Where have you guys been to do shows?
J: Not that far. New York. Philadelphia. Philly was the farthest.
How did they respond?
D: Philly…I don’t know, it definitely wasn’t Boston
J: It’s just one show. it’s hard to tell from one show. On that Philly show, we were the heaviest band on that bill. It seems that we are always the heaviest or the lightest band. When we play there are always people who like us and are surprised by what we are doing.
What are future plans for ReVilers? Tours? Records?
J: Blackhole is doing a four way double 7”; 4 bands from 4 different countries. We are doing a limited cassette comp through Rock and Roll Disgrace (Hammer and The Nails Label)
D: we definitely have our eyes on the West Coast.
thanks to Dave and Jared for responding with clarity and substance. and Cheers to the whole band on releasing a kick as record. see the LP review for contact info.