Minneapolis-based American Revival to play at festival
WORTHINGTON -- An American revival will hit Worthington this Saturday evening, but it won't be an old-time Chautauqua meeting -- instead, it's the Minneapolis-based band American Revival.
"I'd say we were thinking that we were all from different places (across America). We wanted something kind of patriotic and not trite," explained lead guitarist Jared Wagner about the name.
"America ain't perfect, but she's all I've got," said lead singer/songwriter and guitarist Thomas Pendarvis,
The five-member group really does hail from a variety of places: Seattle, the Twin-Cities area and Arkansas, among others. Despite their geographic diversity, Worthington is a novel locale for this musical group.
"We have driven past it (Worthington) once, but never visited," said Wagner.
Pendarvis, the Arkansas native and Minnesota newcomer, joked, "Yeah, when I went to St. Paul, oh look, it's St. Paul! It's all new to me."
American Revival has played at a couple of outdoor festivals in the past, in Missoula, Mont., and Hayward, Wis., but the Unvarnished Music Festival promises a change of pace.
"Most of our stuff is in bars. They are more intimate; we use a projector show and lights," explained Wagner.
Wagner and Pendarvis had never before heard of the Regatta or reached out to find a gig here. Rather, Worthington found them.
"I don't know if the music coordinator had seen us in the Cities before, but she contacted us and thought we would be a good fit," said Wagner of Worthington organizer Haley Moore. "We are honored and excited to come and perform."
At the festival, Wagner and Pendarvis will be joined by their band mates: bassist Collin Neugebauer, drummer Jeremiah Talamantes, and guitarist/keyboardist Derek Sandbeck.
How did this spread-out group meet and become one?
"We played a show together in different bands, and enjoyed each other's company. Some of our bands broke up, and we all kind of joined forces. Derek was good buddies with the drummer; we found Jeremiah through a friend of a friend, and found Collin on Craigslist," said Wagner.
The crew first organized in 2010, and by May 2011, they had released their first album, titled "The Worst Is Over Now." They recently released an EP, "Thank Ya Kindly," and are currently working on their second full-length album, which Wagner hopes will be finished by late fall/early winter.
As the U.S. and Worthington are melting pots, so is the music of American Revival. Their sound and genre have been described and characterized as cowpunk, punk country and alt-country.
"We play indie rock, but I am from Arkansas, I have an accent, and when I sing, I drawl, so it turned out that way," Pendarvis explained. "We intended to play indie music."
Wagner added, "Our music is hard to characterize, but it is probably closest to rock. I would personally describe it as an indie rock sound."
In keeping with the "melting pot" theme, many diverging tastes lie within the band.
"Everyone in the band has completely differing musical interests. I was interested in classic rock when I first started playing, but my tastes have changed quite a bit. I am more into indie stuff now," said Wagner.
"I was a big fan of noisy rock, then I got into old country kind of stuff, and from there started to do my own thing. I also like '90s noise rock and stole some ideas from there," Pendarvis added.
But Wagner assured, "We are definitely not a jam band --no "wah-wah" pedals!"
The band has numerous tracks with creative and seemingly random names, such as "Japanese/Shark," "Boogabear," "King Kong" and "Austin."
"Every song is a real story, and when we put a song on the table, it (the title) is a way for me to remember that song," said Pendarvis, the songwriter. "I repeat specific things about the story that I will remember. For Austin, I was living in Austin, and it was miserable. I pick a name to go with the story. I have been playing music for a long time, and I mix old songs with new but never put the lyrics down on paper. It is almost like cataloging."
"He is just afraid someone will steal them," teased Wagner.
"We will be playing music from our first album and EP, as well as new, unreleased stuff. We have a high-energy show and like to have a good time," he finished.
Pendarvis chimed in, "I concur."
American Revival will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday on the Unvarnished Music Festival stage.