Chain-Whipped: History of the band...just a brief history, if you could...
Robert Davis: Yeah, absolutely, uh, the band was formally known as Orco, which Nathaniel, one of the guitar players in the band, myself, and Justin started about 4 years ago and we had a different bass player and a different drummer than we do now. We decided to move to Los Angeles, but when we decided to move out there, we couldn’t take our bass player with us because he was much older than us. We had to find a new bass player, which is our present bass player, Bob. Bob gladly joined up with us and we moved to LA and did some demos with our ex-drummer and our manager and it was incredible because we got to cut three songs in a decent studio and make our songs sound, you know, like they’re supposed to...and try to capture that live sound. So we did that and we got a record deal in January with Epic/Sony. It was an amazing time. The only thing that was kind of unfortunate was that we had to change our name from Orco to Revis. We had the name for three years and there was a band in the UK which had it for six, so we had to change our name to Revis which is our best friend and also guitar tech (Jason Revis), who has been with us the whole time that we’ve been together and he never got paid or anything like that. He was just totally supportive of us and has just now started getting paid after he has been with us for four years. We figured that it was definitely worth making him our namesake...he is a very amazing hardworker. As for how the history goes, we moved out to LA, we got our record deal, cut a record with Sony and Don Gilmore and it’s been non-stop touring and love since then.
C.W.: How did the move to LA actually help the band, cause you guys are from the Midwest and there is a definite movement in the Midwest. There has been several bands signed...out of Illinois there’s Disturbed and Mudvayne and Slipknot out of Iowa. Did the move to LA make a big difference?
R.D.: You know, I think it did, uh, because we didn’t have any connections at all, whatsoever and there are a lot of different labels is Los Angeles, lot of different branches and stuff. I thought it was amazing how we moved out there and it was like being a needle in a haystack. We moved out there to do one thing and we accomplished it and it was done with motivation 24 hours a day, I mean I cannot stress how much we worked... we really worked hard. As far as trying to write songs, trying to get them as tight as we could, and we tried to progress as fast as possible, you know, and change our music to where we were very happy...
C.W.: What did you all do before the band, you guys are relatively young in age, did you guys just go right out of high school, did you have college, what did you do for jobs?
R.D.: Well, Justin and I worked together for my dad at a golf course, my dad is a golf professional and we worked for him doing like cart stuff, course management, different things like that, pretty much just cart boys. Nathaniel worked at a place called Tres Hombres, you know a restaurant. Bob, he was going to at FIU, which is a college like 15 minutes south of our hometown and that is how we met him. We were basically just trying to figure out how to pursue it at the time, you know we were working and we were just trying to figure out how we can move to LA and not be stupid about it and not waste any time and do it as best as possible and the cool thing was that we had a big following back home before we moved to Los Angeles. We could play in front of 1500 people every Friday night if we wanted to, which was really cool. So that was definitely a big motivator in itself, to want to move out there. Like I said man, it’s totally all motivation, that’s what we are.
C.W.: You talked about in your hometown, you had a really large following...the show that I saw you guys at was with Oleander and it seemed as though it was an older crowd, is it usually an older crowd, as in not a lot of teenagers, but mostly people in their upper 20s and 30s?
R.D.: It’s always different, like every single time, it’s always mixed, it’s a variety. That is a very big goal of ours, we don’t want to be separated with certain age groups, we want everybody to love it, that is the main goal. We’re very classic rock influenced.
C.W.: That kind of moves into my next question I had. What are your influences? At the show in Minneapolis, it was kind of funny cause you guys had mentioned Gwar.
C.W.: I assumed it was a joke, but...the name Gwar was thrown out somewhere in the show
R.D.: I’ll tell you, when we were working on writing stuff, we listened to everything we could and there has been an occasional Gwar CD popped into the CD player, but most of our influences come from really good songwriters. Nathaniel’s into Bob Dylan, Neil Young. We are all into a lot of jazz, like Miles Davis, John Coletrane. I personally love all the great songwriters and guitar players like Jimmy Page, all his classic underground material. I love also a lot of modern rock that is a little bit early 90s, I guess, like Failure and Mad Season, Alice in Chains, definitely Pearl Jam all these wonderful grunge bands are a huge influence of mine and Bob’s. I listen to a lot of Failure, I don’t know if you have heard of those guys before, but I’ve been listening to them a lot lately. Filter is a huge influence of mine. There’s just so many different bands that I could sit here and name off, but it does definitely fit into a shoe box, you know what I mean? It’s not a lot of stuff outside the genre that I stick to, that I listen to.
C.W.: I don’t know if it’s an influence, but I’m sure you’ve heard this before, how about Creed? I mean your singer has a striking resemblance to Scott Stapp from Creed. That’s one thing that I noticed, I mean the music is different, but I don’t know...Have you heard that yet?
R.D.: Yeah, a couple people have said that he looks like him, but umm...I can honestly say that I don’t think he does, but a lot of people do say that he looks like him. Those guys from Creed love our band, which is the most amazing thing in the world because before they went huge on their first record, I can honestly say that I liked their stuff, you know and I really love their first record. Now as far as moving on from that first record, I really didn’t listen to too much of their stuff after that because I started getting into a lot of the grunge stuff, but I love Creed, you know, I’m not gonna sit here and say that I don’t like the band. I can say that I don’t listen to them every day, and I don’t listen to their songs on the radio because I don’t listen to the radio that much, but I love them as people, you know, they’ve said nothing but great things about our band. It’s really cool to know that some people think that Justin looks like Scott Stapp (laughing), no publicity is bad publicity.
C.W.: Who is the coolest “rock star” that you’ve met on the road or just hanging out, maybe like one of your idols that you’ve met...
R.D.: Well, I’ve met Richard, the lead singer of Filter, which was really big for me. I actually got to jam with the band Brother Cane, they played with us two nights and I used to absolutely love that band and I got to sit in two songs with them and play guitar which was a whole lot of fun. I love those guys and I always will. Another guitar player/rock star...God, I just had it on the tip of my tongue...sometimes you just forget...um...I want to come back to this.
C.W.: Okay, well, Margo (the band’s publicist) had told me that you guys were doing a video shoot that last couple of days...
R.D.: Yes, sir.
C.W.: I’m assuming it’s for “Caught in the Rain”, how did that go?
R.D.: It was amazing...the guy, his name is Steven _____, he did the latest Ataris’ video, he did “Pardon Me” by Incubus, he did “Renegades of Funk” by Rage Against the Machine, he’s done a lot of different things and he just did our video for “Caught in the Rain”. What was so cool about it was that he took a totally different approach to anything that he’s ever done. He used more angles and he shot more angles than he has ever used in a video. I think we played the song 31 times yesterday and it was just shot from two different angles every time we played it. So the whole theory behind the video is going to be this like fast-paced movement, you know. It was really a good time, it was so much fun. There was food all day long, it was nice that we had our own place to relax in between takes, you know, when we were breathing really hard we got to go sit down and relax and sit on the couch and not have to worry about laying down on a concrete floor (laughing) or anything like that. It was amazing, man. It was so relaxing, but at the same time so fast-paced. It was really cool, I can’t describe how much fun I had, it was great.
C.W.: Does it have a theme from the “Daredevil” movie or did you guys just go off on your own with it?
R.D.: We just did our own thing. We just did a performance video on a plain
wooden stage that was built for us, it was a plywood stage...really cool.
C.W.: What are you guys doing now, your not really at home, but you got off the Oleander tour, and you’re in a new city, what do you guys do when you’re in new cities?
R.D.: Well, today we got to come here and do a radio station interview and play acoustically over the air, which was really cool. It was nice to be able to come to a place where we’ve never played before and go on the radio and play...that is the stuff that you dream about. When we go to new cities and we’re not playing we try to meet as many people from radio as we can and hang out and just let them know how much we appreciate them working with us and letting us be on their station.
C.W.: So on a day off what do you do?
R.D.: We do a lot of laundry (laughing)...we try to get the laundry done, you know and I honestly say that on a day off, I love to sit down at a bar and have a beer. One cold beer at a bar, is one of my favorite very relaxing things to do. None of us drink that often as far as heavily to get drunk, but we like to have a beer after a show or something and on a day off it’s so relaxing to go sit at a bar with some classic rock on and talk to the old bar tender and hear his stories, you know...
C.W.: Somebody who doesn’t really know who you are and treats you like a normal person...
R.D.: Has no clue as to what you’re doing, thinks that you just got off work, it’s an amazing thing, I wouldn’t give that up for anything in the world.
C.W.: What do you do outside of music now? I suppose you’re probably pretty busy now with the band, but when you have a day off what do you do besides laundry?
R.D.: Lately we haven’t had any days off at all, we played like 16 days in a row. Now we got five or six days off and we’re just gonna go and see our families. On the sixth day we’re gonna be rehearsing and getting back into it. I love to play golf, Justin and I have a tee time lined up for when we get home, it’s a relaxing thing to do. I can’t wait to just go out to eat with my parents, you know, that’s one thing that I really look forward to doing. Being in a different city nowhere near home, on a day off, you just try to find out as much as you can about that city and where different things are, like Cleveland...the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, all these different types of things...you just try to use your brain and get out of the hotel room and figure out something to do and that is something that will make you feel better about yourself, you know. Sometimes you could be feeling, “I’m so tired, I just need to wake up”, it’s as easy as walking out the front door of the hotel and going and getting a cab and going somewhere. Just opening up your mind a little bit.
C.W.: Now you’ve mentioned golf a few times already, in the history of
the band, how your dad was a golf pro...and you said that you and Justin are
going golfing when you get home. Are you ever going to try to go golfing with
Alice Cooper since he is a very big golfer?
R.D.: (laughing) Dude, he’s an awesome golfer. Actually, um, a friend and I were in St. Louis one time walking through this place like a mall and we just went and saw a movie. I’m walking out of the movie theater and Alice Cooper walked by with his girlfriend and I couldn’t say anything because it’s Alice Cooper, you know what I mean, like this guy has signed like millions and millions of autographs and I couldn’t bring myself to say anything...I couldn’t speak. I wanted to say something to him really bad.
C.W.: You should’ve just said, “hey, let’s go golfing sometime.”
R.D.: “Hey man, I know this great course...”
C.W.: Doesn’t he have his own course down in like Arizona?
R.D.: I’ve heard that. Oh, I just remembered...this is how my mind works...Dean Deleo from Stone Temple Pilots was one of my favorite encounters ever. He walked into this restaurant by himself and sat down to eat and the whole time I was thinking, “okay, when is somebody else coming in” and nobody else ever came in and after he got done eating, he was just sitting there and I walked over and talked to him for like 20 minutes...incredible. Sorry to change subjects on you man.
C.W.: Oh that’s fine, anyway, how do you prepare for shows and what do you do before the shows, you travel to the venue, then...
R.D.: We have a rule. We like to stick by this, that way when we go on stage we’re 100% focused at all times. We like to hang out before the show with everybody possible, but 25 minutes before the show we just go backstage and we’ll do pushups and we’ll breathe, you know what I mean, we’ll take like 10 minutes and we’ll really breathe in deep and just try to relax ourselves because once you get up there, there’s no relaxing. I mean there is nothing about it that is relaxing, it is nonstop rocking out all the time.
C.W.: It’s almost like a yoga workout before you go on stage and play?
R.D.: Yeah, totally. I mean it’s definitely not yoga by any means, but it’s the same idea and concept.
C.W.: Now you guys are gonna be going out with Evanescence?
R.D.: Yeah, they’re a band that’s out right now off of Wind-up Records.
C.W.: How long are you going to be touring with them and what is your summer tour plans?
R.D.: I think the tour is four weeks long with Evanescence, and then after that we go on tour with Pearl Jam, headlining the second stage, they have a second stage they are going to be doing which is kind of smaller, more relaxed for the fans, so they can have some more music and enjoy a pre-show and that is what we are going to be doing. So I think we go on tour with those guys from June 1st through July 12th. Those are supposed to be the dates, it’s all iffy, but that is what I am told. It’s really exciting to me, I can’t stress how excited I am.
C.W.: That Pearl Jam tour will probably be like the first big tour for you guys, right, playing arenas?
R.D.: As far as I’m concerned...touring with a band like that is the most mind-blowing thing that I could ever do in my life.
C.W.: I had to be a dream when you were young and growing up...
R.D.: It still is, I still go to bed dreaming about it and I’ll never stop. After that tour is done and I won’t stop talking about it for years to come
C.W.: So you’re living a dream.
R.D.: I’m doing more than living it, it’s like I want to share it with every single person I can because it’s just as touching to me as it should be to anybody else. I’m not some rich kid, you know from, overseas or something you know what I mean? I’m not by any means pretentious. I’m a pretty normal guy, I mean I wear jeans and a T-shirt every single day, so it’s really an awe-inspiring thing. I see many songs coming out of that tour (laughing).
C.W.: Now your album is going to be out, how are you guys anticipating that, your first major release?
R.D.: We are so excited that it’s kind of hard to watch it get pushed back. That is all a marketing strategy and it’s 100% credible that Sony is doing that, but it’s kind of hard in the same respect to watch that because we want it to come out so bad. We have anxious, sweaty palms, wanting to see what happens.
C.W.: So you guys are pretty excited.....
(At this time, the band’s publicist informed us that they have another prior engagement, so we had to start wrapping it up and quit bullshitting like long lost buddies.)
C.W.: Well I only have one real question left, it’s kind of a political one. With what’s going on right now in the world...what do you think of it all?
R.D.: Well, I can definitely say this...everybody has their own opinions about everything, I support our troops because those are our boys and our friends that are over there fighting for us and I just hope that everything wraps up as quickly as possible and
anybody that needs a break from all the stress from TV and this war...our title
of our album says it all, Places for Breathing, so check it out