The Revivalists

An Interview with Guitarist, Zack Feinberg
by Adam Benavides
March 2020

The Revivalists - photo by Zackery Michael

The Revivalists
photo by Zackery Michael

Ahead of their March 11 show at The Sylvee, we caught up with the Zack Feinberg, lead guitarist of the 8-piece, New Orleans jazz-, funk-, blues-, soul-, rock-heroes, The Revivalists.

After a decade of marathon tours that garnered a dedicated fanbase of ‘RevHeads,’ the Revivalists scored a platinum-single with 2016’s, “Wish I Knew You” off the 2015 album, Men Amongst Mountains. They followed that up with 2018’s Take Good Care, with singles “All My Friends,” “Change,” and “Oh No,” all topping the Alternative Rock Charts.

Max Ink: Tell us about how you got started playing guitar.
Zack Feinberg:
I’m from New York and my dad played guitar growing up, which got me started at 9 years old.

I always loved music and remember getting Nirvana’s In Utero album and loving everything on it. I also liked listening to Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, and played throughout my childhood.

I’ve never looked at guitar in a studious way. For me, it’s always been about getting to this hypnotic, rock-and-roll space and letting your imagination lead you.

MI: You guys are famously from New Orleans. Walk us through how the Revivalists got together.
I decided on Tulane in New Orleans for college, because it had the best live music scene! My weekend moving into the dorm was actually when Katrina hit, so I spent that semester back home in New York.  I didn’t suffer any real trauma but I really wanted to get back and be part of the resurgence.

Jump to junior year, riding my bike and hear this guy playing guitar on his porch. Turns out it was [future Revivalists lead singer] David Shaw, who had just moved from Ohio and was looking for people to play with.

We hung out the rest of that day and soon we started doing open mics and connecting with other musicians I knew.

MI: As an 8-member ensemble band, live shows have become pretty legendary. Was that emphasis on performing live borne from your New Orleans roots?
Yeah, it’s about following what you want to do creatively and staying true to what moves you. That’s what New Orleans is all about– the musicianship, dedication to your craft and live shows with great crowd engagement. And that’s what we’re into!

Before we had a radio hit, we were just focused on touring and kicking ass live! And the success came after.

We laid a lot of groundwork and I don’t think our success today would’ve happened if we didn’t naturally grow that way as a band beforehand.

MI: Now over 10 years later, what do you hope people get out of your live shows?
It’s still about connection. Coming together through enjoying music and having fun.

We want to help people connect with each other in a nice, beautiful way through music.

MI: With the success you’ve had, has your outlook or drive changed as a band? 
Yeah, it changes a bit, if I’m being honest. And there’s always added pressure following success, but we still have the same artistic drive that we did 10 years ago.
At first the dream was just touring enough to pay the bills and it’s still unbelievable where we are now.

We really appreciate the success we’ve had but we want to keep going. We’re still hungry.

MI: At Lollapalooza you and David played a heartbreaking rendition of Shoot You Down (off 2018’s Take Good Care), which addresses our country’s gun violence. Do you feel more obligated now to voice those concerns?
I think being socially conscious is huge. Especially if you believe in something strongly.

We’re also aware some of that stuff can turn off part of your audience but we’re still artists and it’s important to not be afraid to speak about what you believe in. Especially today.

MI: Your latest release, Made in Muscle Shoals, was recorded at the famed Alabama studio with fresh takes on old favorites and a new song, Bitter End. How did that come together?
Bitter End was an outtake from Men Amongst Mountains sessions and we went back and worked that one out.  We did a live session for each song on that album and filmed in different places; kind of this DIY project, and we’ve just been missing that stuff.

We were really inspired by the room, just knowing the great musicians that played there. Once we got there we decided to book time and release it in lieu of a live album.

The Revivalists play The Sylvee on March 11, with Tank & the Bangas.

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