Rebel Revive Interview

rebelxi-300x300By the Barricade caught up with the guys in Rebel Revive on Monday, June 30 at The Observatory in Orange County, CA.  They were one of four bands performing in a benefit show for We are the SPARK Project at a night for autism awareness.  In addition to making impact music, these guys like to make a difference. Learn more about how they got started in this interview.

  • Matthew Lindblad – singer/songwriter/guitar
  • Gustin Flaig – drums/vocals
  • Chris Chavez – guitar/vocals
  • Devin Williams – bass

By the Barricade: If I understand correctly, the band started with Matthew and all parts of your album XI were done by you.  I also saw reference to this being at the culmination of 11 years of apprenticeship and training. What prompted you to do that?

Matthew Lindblad: Yes, eleven years of playing music, writing, and recording and finally coming to a point where I thought it was time to launch a new project and that is where the album title came from. Originally I didn’t even intend to start anything new.  I just wanted to record a couple of songs I was messing around with and see what I can come up with. I came home and showed a bunch of my friends and they thought I should pursue this. They said it was good material. So I said I would do an EP and go from there.

Along the way I jammed with Gus, our drummer, before in various bands and I knew he was the go to guy.  I can hand him material and he can learn it in a day. From there I picked up Chris and Devin. Chris was living up in Northern California in San Jose and moved down.  He was dating a friend of mine, Sarah and secretly he thought, “Dude, I’ve got to get in that band.” One day we were just hanging out and he asked if I would be cool jamming.  I said sure and gave him some tunes and he showed up prepared.  With Devin, we had a spot to fill with Bass and he just picked it up. It’s really nice to have a group of guys backing me that are always go to and I never have to worry about them not being prepared.  I can shoot them material and they always have it no problem. So that’s kind of how it formed.

By the Barricade How did you come up with the name Rebel Revive?

_DSC2823Matthew Lindblad: It came from a mentality of rebelling against the norm of what I had seen going on in the music industry and even some of the stuff I had been a part of.  It’s kind of reviving the attitude of standing up for what you believe in and making an impact with the art that we create. I was sitting at home thinking about reviving the rebels but that wasn’t as catchy.  I said Rebel Revive and I liked that so I put it together.

By the Barricade What was the recording process like for you?

Matthew LindbladIt was pretty unique. Usually I would go in with at least a scratch idea of what I would do but a couple of the songs I just built in the studio.  On better days I would have just a guitar riff and I sat down with Colby my producer and when we were on to something we would put it together in a day. On most of the songs, once I get started on them, I will finish them in about a day just because I am super passionate about certain riffs and I’d say, “Yes, this is it! Let’s do this!”

Interestingly enough, I usually will write my vocals the day before I am supposed to record them. Everyone I talk to wonders why I don’t write them before, but it’s because I love that moment where there is so much pressure for me to squeeze out the best I can do. That is what I did for almost this whole album. One of the nights I just stayed up in the Denny’s parking lot.  No joke, I had 8 cups of coffee.  My body was shaking and I was like, “I’ve gotta get this down!”  That was for “Skeletons.” I remember the next day I was just exhausted but singing at the top of my lungs and giving it my all.

By the Barricade: What attracted the rest of you guys to be in this band?

Gustin Flaig : As Matt mentioned, we had jammed together before on various projects. I had moved away to Tennessee and he started playing in New Years.  We went our separate ways for about 7 months and honestly the first time we reconnected was via Facebook.  Matt said he had a song and needed a video and asked if I wanted to be in it. I was really lonely in Tennessee so I said, “Hey dude that sounds like a lot of fun. I’ll be in your video.”  We started talking again and he said, “How about one better, do you want to play in the band?”  So I said, “Sure, send me some songs,” and about a month later I moved back home and we started jamming and that was that.

Chris Chavez: For me I was dating my now Fiancée Sarah and was living in NorCal and she was living down here and I was driving back and forth constantly. I think the first visit I had with Sarah was the first time I met Matt and it was the time of the soft release of the album.  I went up to Joshua Fest and thought I would buy two, one for me and one for Sarah just to support, and it stayed in my car.  A lot of albums I can listen to and think it was good but this one I could just put on repeat and listen to it the whole trip up and down.  I could stay awake to it, sing to it in the car.  The first time (Matt) and I hung out, I had actually just moved down.  Sarah had mentioned to me that he might be looking for a lead guitarist. We were having Starbucks and I straight up asked, “So I heard you are looking for a guitarist?” The next show he had, I showed up and was smiling hopeful that he would see how much I wanted to be a part of it._DSC2798

Devin Williams:  I was living in Northern California but kept coming down and hanging out.  Chris had moved down and I think I had met Matthew one time 2-3 years before through Sarah, Chris’ girlfriend. I never heard from him again. One day Chris was so excited, he told me about the music and we went to the House of Blues show.  I met Gus and they were really cool dudes, cool music.  Growing up as a musician and seeing the way the music can influence and the way it can get people into a mindset is incredible.  The way Rebel Revive can do that is so exciting. From that point, I was like Chris and said, “Hey do you need a bass player?”  We had hung out at Disneyland and stuff and I was at their rehearsal playing Tumblerun while they were rehearsing and it was cool to hang around these guys.  Collectively we all bring something that make this project a powerhouse and when you are in the crowd or in the car driving down the road, the music does something to you.

Matthew Lindblad  It’s pretty cool.  I don’t really consider it a solo project because it is a band and functions as a band except for the writing aspect. I’ve found it easier to just write and put it out, trust my ear and these guys add their own flair to it. We were just talking about this fill that Gus does during one of our songs, “Nameless Faceless” and every time he plays it, we all think it is so cool.  It’s not on the album, but he adds it in and it’s amazing.  Chris has a project, Bird and the War.  Gus has a few projects Devin plays with other bands too. It’s not super stressful for anyone.  We were just talking about how good it is to get back together. We haven’t played a show in 4 months.  Chris is getting ready for a wedding, we are all doing various things but it all goes back to the guys all showing up prepared and we are all ready to have fun.  It’s the most fun I have had playing in a band.  I’ve done a lot of tours and did Warped Tour but there is something cool and kind of magic about being with these guys.

By the Barricade Was the formation of the band strictly for live performances or do you have plans to record future albums as a group?

Matthew Lindblad :  We’ll see. Chris and I have gotten together and talked about writing some stuff.  There are riffs that Chris has brought to the table but I almost have the next album ready to go.  As far as I know that will just come out in a year hopefully and we will continue from there.  It’s not a hard decision that I made that it will be only me.  There was a time when I did, but the more and more I play with these guys and realize how much talent they have, I want to utilize everything.  It definitely is easier for me to sit at home and not try to schedule everyone to write.  I have a home studio set up and I just do it which has always been easier. But I think there will be points where we all write together too so we will see what the future brings.

By the Barricade For someone who hasn’t heard you before, how would you describe your sound in just a few words?

ChrisChavez :  Hold on to your Grandmas!

All: *Laugh.

Matthew Lindblad:  I said that at one show at the House of Blues and I said, “This next song is a heavier one, hold on to your grandmas!” Everyone was cracking up.   I’d say super catchy pop rock.  The cool thing I’ve enjoyed about Rebel tunes is that there is such a variety.  We have “Better Days” which is kind of a radio hit or “Voices,” but then you have “Nameless Faceless” where kids who listen to heavier music can get into it. I plan on continuing that. Labels don’t really like that, but so far we haven’t needed a label. I’ve done the booking and these guys have helped out.

During an interview one guy likened it to Crack Cocaine, it’s super addictive. Which was a bit much. It’s funny, and I don’t mean this in a cocky way at all, but I will listen to the album and I can’t believe it’s me just because it is the kind of music I grew up on.  It’s easily approachable.  It’s weird on Twitter I have Justin Beiber fans and hardcore fans hit me up. I was surprised and didn’t expect them to like it because it’s pop rock music and some people don’t like that.

_DSC2795By the Barricade Tonight is a benefit show, how did you get involved in helping We are the Spark Project and autism?

Chris Chavez:  The last time we were at House of Blues, John (Vasquez, founder of We are the Spark Project) approached me about playing and said I should talk to Matt.

Matthew Lindblad:  When Chris told me about it I said, “Let’s do it, it sounds fun!” When I found out John was the owner of Golden State I was excited because I have friends that get tattooed there.  I figured this guy probably knows what he is doing and that is important because a lot of times we turn down shows because people do not know what they are doing.  When he brought me all of the details I knew we would love to be a part of it especially because it is a benefit show. I’m always for helping people launch stuff. In December we did a food drive, it was a free show, but we decided we would try to get people to bring cans. I’m always for that.  I’m excited to be a part of it. It seems like this is a great thing and I look forward to seeing where John will take it.

By the Barricade What are your hopes for the near future?

Matthew Lindblad:  That we keep doing it.


Matthew Lindblad:  Gus and I were just talking about how we are excited to play new material.  We’ve been playing on this stuff for two years.

Gustin Flaig :  For two and a half and we might even be creeping up on three at this point. I’m not complaining, but I’m really excited about new stuff.

By the Barricade:  You have certainly built quite a base of fan girls.

Matthew Lindblad : Some are our sisters and I work Knott’s Scary Farm so a half of our fans are monsters or former monsters.  It’s been really cool having a good solid fan base from them.  The other half is from Warped Tour promo. It’s been cool and since the music is really approachable, we hand out CD’s and people learn that they like this. It’s not hard to convince people.

By the Barricade:  Do you think you will have some new fans here from your efforts at Warped Tour?

Matthew Lindblad: I dressed up as a pizza and our merch guy dressed as Uncle Sam.  He had a beard and an American Flag walking around. We are all a bunch of silly guys and love just having fun so we don’t take ourselves seriously.  But, our hope for the future is that our music continues to be impactful.  We aren’t really trying to chase fame or anything, but if more people listen to it and get something out of it that would be awesome.  New material, more shows._DSC2790

By the Barricade Do you have anything else you would like to tell the By the Barricade Readers?

Matthew Lindblad: Keep going to live shows and keep buying music if you can.  That really helps keep bands alive.  It’s really, really hard to be a band and make a living doing it.  We’re still not doing it.  We’re doing other projects to make money like working at Disneyland and stuff.  Definitely keep music alive.  I cannot stress that enough. Every time I go to see a band, I try to at least buy their CD and help them out or buy them pizza.  Chris and I followed warped tour last year and saw how taxing it is both physically and financially just putting gas in the tank and all of that.  Definitely if you can, support bands and spread music.  People need to hear good positive music.  There is so much garbage going around, so whether it’s us or a friend’s band that have a good message, just keep sharing music with people.

I work for a non-profit that houses bands on the road.  We saw a need for an oasis in a desert.  We provide them with a place to stay on the road, a shower, food and a bed to sleep in.  They don’t ask anything from you and it you are in a band look it up: People are thinking there has to be a catch, but for us the catch is that we love Jesus and we love musicians and we want to basically be a good place of hospitality.  Chris and I used the service last summer at Warped Tour

Chris Chavez:  It was like Christmas.  We walked into some of these houses and it was free, but the hosts would ask what we wanted to eat and they would buy us food and cook us dinner.  We would have our own beds, a shower; we could sleep in and do whatever we want.  It felt like Christmas after being in a hot SUV sleeping in there with humidity and heat suffocating you when you wake up.  All of a sudden you get this house with air conditioning and it was amazing.  Everyone could benefit from it, it’s an awesome organization.

Matthew Lindblad: It’s  Keep supporting music and loving musicians.  I feel like people show up at shows and whether they know it or not, they almost take from musicians.  They show up and the band is working their butts off but they just say, “Cool, good show” and take off.  We’re we need help too.

Devin Williams:  It’s a cliché but the saying… support the arts, it’s true.

Matthew Lindblad:  We can work part time jobs all our lives and try to make music but it’s hard to take it on the road and then make a living… so support the bands!

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