What do you get when you combine seven talented musicians, New Orleans roots, and a passion for a soulful, poppy sound that is both traditional and unconventional? Answer: the Revivalists, a group known for stellar live performances who are among the most anticipated acts at this weekend’s Pleasantville Music Festival.
Part of that excitement has to do with the band’s local connection, as lead guitarist Zack Feinberg is himself a Pleasantville native, but the Revivalists have expanded far beyond any individual member’s local roots, and even beyond their collective adopted hometown of New Orleans. Rolling Stone dubbed them one of 10 New Artists You Need to Know back in March, and Chicago tastemaker site The Six Thirty declared, “The Revivalists aren’t going anywhere… Probably a good time to start paying attention.”
So pay attention we did. And, like everyone else, we were impressed. So a couple days prior to his triumphant Westchester return, we asked Feinberg to give us some more exclusive insight into the band’s travels, travails, and preference for the late legend Prince.
I know you’ve been in New Orleans for a while, but did you ever attend Pleasantville Music Festival while you were here?
I’m a little embarrassed to say I haven’t been. I graduated high school in ’05, and I think the festival had only been running maybe three years at that point. But I’ve certainly been aware of it for a very long time and I’m really excited to finally make it as a performer.
A lot of musicians dream about a rock star-like homecoming. Do you feel like this might be achieving that fantasy for you?
In a sort of small dose. You know, it’s nothing too crazy, but it’ll be nice and it’s definitely very cool. The last time we played in Pleasantville was at Paulie’s in 2009 on our first tour ever. We brought a junky little PA, and set it up, and I remember it went out in the middle of the show, but even then it was still kind of the same feeling. It was cool to be coming home and having a gig.
Were there any other shows where you looked around and had that feeling like, “It’s really unbelievable to be up here”?
Oh, yeah. I mean, all the time I’m appreciative of just the fact that this is what I get to do. It definitely occurs to me, and I try to not lose sight of it, that I’m getting paid to play my guitar in front of people that are enjoying this experience as well. But particularly, when you’re in a beautiful setting outside like Telluride in Colorado or Red Rocks, or playing on the beach at Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores Alabama, or in front of a huge crowd at [New Orleans] Jazz Fest, it’s just a really cool thing.
As opposed to the recording process, is there anything that helps you stand out as a live band?
I think there’s the immediacy of the crowd and their energy. If they’re really partying and going hard, that feeds the ive show. It differs from recording because when you’re recording you are trying to figure out the arrangement more, whereas in the live show you can just get lost in it.
Do you find time to listen to music from other artist when you’re on the road?
I find when I’m driving I listen to more than when I’m just a passenger, but we don’t drive ourselves as much these days because our tour manager does pretty much all of the driving.
What were some of the last few songs on your Spotify queue?
There’s “Thanks Bill” by the band El Ten Eleven, and then before that it was “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty—classic, great song. And then, interesting, kind of a late period Who song called “You Stand By Me.” That’s literally the last three songs. If I were cooler I would be less honest and pull up somebody more obscure.
I know you did a Halloween show last year where you all dressed like Prince and covered his songs. Is there one perfect Prince song that every music fan should listen to?
Oh, that is tough. I actually really like one of the songs on one of the last records. It’s called “Breakdown (Art Official Age).” Such a cool song. It wasn’t on the radio or a hit or anything, but I find that a lot of the great artists, when they’re past their commercial prime, they still put out all this amazing material. That’s a song that I would consider just absolutely stellar Prince at the top of his game.