Boston has always been known as a classic rock kind of town with a rich musical history. Band’s such as AEROSMITH and BOSTON ruled the roost in the ’70s when the seedy area known as the Combat Zone was in its heyday and music clubs like the Rathskeller (The Rat was Boston’s own version of NYC’s CBGB) were thriving.
In the ’90s, bands such as KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and SHADOWS FALL started creeping up to give birth to the city’s metalcore scene. Technical thrashers REVOCATION began its metal voyage in 2006 after changing its name from CRYPTIC WARNING, which was formed by high school buddies guitarist/vocalist David Davidson, then-bassist Anthony Buda and current drummer Phil Dubois-Coyne.
“It’s great,” Davidson reiterated about being part of Boston’s music scene. “It’s got so many bands ranging from classic rock to punk to hardcore and certainly metal. Whole genres of metal were birthed in Boston and the surrounding areas, like what Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall were doing; the metalcore, along with UNEARTH. I think it’s extra special, too, because there’s a lot of camaraderie and a cross-genre pollination. When we came up in the scene, we’d play in clubs and bars with thrash, black metal and death metal bands and also do warehouse shows with punk rock bands and hardcore/grind bands. We’d get a taste of both sides of the underground scene.”
Not only does the city have a vibrant music scene but the city itself has a great party side to it, too. Give me the old, smelly Garden, a stroll through the aforementioned Combat Zone or a raucous show at The Rat any old day. However, some things have changed with age, but Davidson assures me that the Boston metal scene is still vibrant.
“A lot of those places were a little before my time. Unfortunately, I never got to experience The Rat or the Combat Zone. All those places either closed down or those areas changed as time went on. There’s three or four solid clubs that you can count on for being metal nowadays. Then also, the random shows that pop up in vacant warehouses. It’s like one of those “Whack-A-Mole” things at Chuck E. Cheese; one will get shut down by the cops and then another one will pop up right down the street at a different location. It’s a great scene with a rich, long history.”
The Berklee College of Music grad majored in professional music while attending the prestigious music school, which included the course, polyrhythm for jazz. Davidson is in good company, too. The list of fellow Berklee graduates also includes Jason Bittner of Shadows Fall, Adam Dutkiewicz of Killswitch Engage, Joey Kramer of Aerosmith and members of DREAM THEATER. Davidson’s various musical influences and experimentation, (a banjo pops up on ‘Invidious’ from the new album), along with his increasing knowledge of jazz, gave him inspiration and the desire to pursue music as a profession, which ultimately led him to enroll at Berklee.
“For me, there was no real other choice,” Davidson said. “I went to a regular high school; it was very academic and I had to learn Latin. I was more concerned in playing guitar for four or five hours a day. I ended up flunking out of that school, much to my parents’ chagrin. Then I heard about the art high school down the street where I could play my guitar — part of my day was playing my guitar. That was the place for me. From there, it only made sense to go to Berklee because I wanted to continue with my music at a deeper level.”
Due to the fact that Davidson and Dubois-Coyne have been friends for a long time, the band’s chemistry and tightness in their playing really shines through. Guitarist Dan Gargiulo has been with the band right before its third release, Chaos of Forms, while bassist Brett Bamberger joined last year, and things couldn’t be better for the foursome.
“We’ve got a really good unit; the current incarnation of the band. We’re like a super-tight group of friends, and that makes for a really enjoyable experience. There can be times where we butt heads. But just like a family, that happens sometimes. We’re all good buddies and the fun times outweigh any clashes that might occur from time to time. Which is good because that’s a rarity. Sometimes you hear about bands where each member has to have their own tour bus, or they don’t talk to each other once the tour is over. Me and Phil both live in Boston and when we’re off the tour, we still hang out and go to bars and just shoot the shit.”
Revocation will release its new album on August 6 and as we speak, they are gearing up for the hugely successful Summer Slaughter Tour.
“We are super stoked,” Davidson concludes. “We’ve been wanting to get on the Summer Slaughter Tour for a couple of years now and this year is the year that it finally went down. With the new record out, we’re going to be touring pretty heavily for it. We’re really passionate about the new record and we want to play to as many people as possible to get the word out.”