Highwire Daze Interview W/Justin - 1999


         Reveille is a hard rockin' band in the grand tradition of Rage Against The Machine, yet they have a sound that is all their own. Currently on tour with Godsmack, we recently had a chance to speak with Justin, their drummer, regarding their powerful music, the B Real connection, and how they managed to get horror meister Clive Barker to illustrate their cover.

Highwire Daze: Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Reveille and how long the band has been together.

Justin Wilson: My name is Justin Wilson. I play drums and we've been together as a full band for about a year and a half. We met in school and we had all been in different bands. One day, we ended up getting together to do this as a side project. It just kind of took off from there.

HD: Where is the band from and what is the music scene like there?

Justin: We all met in school in a little town called Harvard in Mass. There basically is no music scene whatsoever. The only type of music scene is in Boston, which is basically where we started out playing. As far as the music scene goes there, it's good. There is a lot of heavy music and there's people that want to go out and see bands. So it's cool.

HD: If you had to describe the music of Reveille to your grandmother, what would you tell her?

Justin: I'd tell her that it's hard and it's heavy. When we're asked to describe our sound, that's what I end up saying. Cuz it's not hardcore and it's not like alternative -- it's heavy.

HD: Where do some of the ideas for the songs come from? I realize you probably aren't the lyricist...

Justin: I'm definitely not the lyricist. Our singer writes all of the lyrics himself. I really don't know about them, but I would assume that they are probably from his own personal experiences. And as far as the actual music goes, we all write our own parts. But in the end, all the songs are written by Reveille as a whole. We all contribute in some way or another to the finished project.

HD: As the drummer in Reveille, what songs are you most excited about playing live?

Justin: I really enjoy playing "Flesh And Blood" -- it's real easy to just lay into and really get a good groove going. "Butterfly" -- that song is really exciting -- if it's a good crowd we break open with that and things go pretty crazy. That and "Dark Horizons" -- I don't want to say it's emotional but it's real moody. When you play inside a dark club with the right lighting, that's a good one too.

HD: What do you think makes Reveille stand apart from other heavy rock bands?

Justin: I think one defining thing would be the live show. Live, we're like really intense, a high energy band that works the crowd, gets them into it -- and makes them feel apart of what we're doing. And also, we're in it for the music. We don't go out there and try to represent ourselves by wearing a certain type of clothes. It's about the music -- we just go out there and we do it.

HD: Are you surprised to find your first release on a major label?

Justin: Yeah! We started off just playing in the basement. We were just having a good time. And we ended up getting the attention of an entertainment lawyer. We did showcases in New York at a club called CBGB's. It was a real surprise -- it was a real fast thing that happened. It's been definitely great! And yes, I am surprised. It's pretty amazing to have your first release on a major label. We're all real happy about that obviously.

HD: Do you feel that there's a lot more pressure to succeed being signed to a major?

Justin: Yeah, of course. There's a lot of people at Elektra that are real excited about us and that are really behind us. And obviously the circumstances will be bad if we don't end up doing well. On the other hand, I did this because I love it -- and I try not to let that stuff get in the way of just enjoying music. It's the same thing with the other guys. But yeah, there definitely is the pressure, but it's been cool so far.

HD: You're about to play out here in L.A. with Godsmack. You just played on a section of The Warped Tour as well. So what do you think is the best and the worst part of touring?

Justin: The best part is getting in front of people on stage and just playing. There's nothing like playing your music and having people out there enjoy it. Even if it's only one person out there that likes what you're doing -- it's still totally worth it. And the worst part? I don't mind being away from home, but there are times when I start to miss my friends and family -- just stuff like that. Just little menial things like I have to take time to check into the hotel or there's never food -- those are the negative aspects of touring.

HD: How did B Real from Cypress Hill wind up on your CD?

Justin: We wanted someone to do a guest appearance for that song "Split (Comin' Out Swinging'). We had all been into Cypress Hill, especially our singer. Our producer knew B Real and was a friend of his, so he was the one that hooked that up. And then Drew, our singer, started talking to B Real on the phone, getting the lyrics -- and he ended up coming down to the studio while we were mixing. He just came in for the day and laid down the rhymes with Drew in the studio. We got to watch him do his thing and it was definitely cool.

HD: Have you ever performed that song live with him?

Justin: No, we haven't. He was suppose to be on the Warped Tour. We hadn't spoken with him about it, but we were hoping about maybe trying to hook that up. But he ended up cancelling and not doing the Warped Tour.

HD: How did Clive Barker become involved with doing the illustration on the CD and has he heard your music?

Justin: Don't know if he's heard our music. He knows it was a hard rock project that he did the stuff for. What happened was we were looking through books just of various artists and we came across him. And we thought cool! Clive Barker! We respected some of the stuff he did like Hellraiser. We found some sketches he had done and our art director at Elektra modified them as far as colors went. And he said he loved to do it and appproved it. And it basically ended up getting on there.

HD: Have you ever met him?

Justin: No, we never met him. We haven't spoken to him either. But it was great to have his art work on the album.

HD: If there was one thing you'd like an someone to remember after hearing the new CD, what would it be?

Justin: I want them to come and see us live, because there's a lot of energy live. Me personally, probably just to enjoy the music and just to think that it rocked. And want to come and see it live and really get your feelings out. To enjoy or experience Reveille, you have to see it live!




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