Rebel Revive is the creation of Irvine-based musician Matthew Lindblad – a pop rocking entity that is beginning to garner a good deal of attention well beyond the confines of the Orange Curtain. Prior to the conception of Rebel Revive, Lindblad found himself touring across the country on the Vans Warped Tour in 2011 as a member of New Years Day – a collective signed with Century Media Records. Branching off on his own, Lindblad’s Rebel Revive unleashed their debut EP 11 earlier this year, a shimmering collection of pop gems entitled 11. We caught up with the mastermind behind Rebel Revive at the recent Vans Warped Tour in Ventura, where he was promoting the stunning 11 as well as their upcoming show at the House Of Blues in Anaheim.
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Rebel Revive, and how long your project has been in existence.
I’m Matthew Lindblad – I play guitar and sing and write all the music for Rebel Revive – and we’ve been a band for about a year now.
What do you think about the local LA/OC music scene, and how do you guys fit into the scheme of things?
Honestly, I feel it kind of sucks lately. So that’s why I started up this band – to try to revive some good pop rock music. I feel like there’s been a lack of it. And a lot of just more mediocre bands coming out of LA and Orange County. There’s some good ones – friends that we usually share the stage with – but I feel overall it’s been kind of lacking lately, so I decided to pick up and start another band. And I started up Rebel Revive because of that.
Is there any story of concept behind the title 11?
Yes, 11 comes from me playing music for 11 years – and beyond that, I’d been teaching each instrument for 11 years. I’d sit in my basement when I lived in Canada and Minnesota and teach myself each instrument – borrow an instrument from friends or a neighbor or whatever else – any instrument I could get my hands on. And so that’s been going on for 11 years. And finally this year, I decided to make it a full time gig – and that’s why I titled the album 11.
Select two songs from 11 and what inspired the lyrics.
Like You Mean It was actually the first song I wrote for Rebel Revive and it started as a test, basically to see if I could finish a whole song – vocals and all instruments myself. And that song basically was inspired by a terrible relationship I had where we were just telling each other what we felt like the other one wanted to hear – and when it really got down to it, we just wanted to hear what the person really meant! And that’s where the title Like You Mean It comes from – basically “say it like you mean it.”
And then Better Days is another song from the album – and it’s basically about looking back on the good days with your friends –all the times you’ve had on road trips and things like that – just making memories – so that’s what Better Days is about.
If you could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I’d have to say more recent bands – probably Thrice or Taking Back Sunday – those are two of my very favorite bands. In terms of classics – someone like U2 or Coldplay would be amazing – just a massive stadium rock band – I think something like that – just with ripping guitars and huge sound. That’s kind of what I want to get with Rebel Revive as well – just a massive wall of sound – where it just draws a lot of emotion from you because it’s so amazing. That’s kind of my goal – so those would be the bands.
Rebel Revive. Where did you get that name?
The title comes from basically reviving music that’s really genuine. The past two years I’ve been seeing a lot of bands that are just singing about partying or having sex or going out and getting wasted. I mean, that’s fine, that’s their message. But I want to revive music that’s just really genuine and not writing for anyone – but just reviving the rebellious notion of speaking out for what you believe in, that I feel like hasn’t been around recently. It seems like there’s been a lot of “people pleasing” in music lately, so just reviving genuine music is where that comes from.
Why did you leave New Years Day and was that a difficult decision to make?
It was probably one of the hardest decisions in my life honestly. Growing up, I’d wanted to be in a touring signed band and doing it full time. And when I joined New Years Day, it was exactly that. I’d have to show up and play guitar and have fun – it’s not that hard of a job. Leaving it was really tough – but the reason that I left was, just there were some bands that were associated with them on tour that I didn’t want to be around. I knew that I wasn’t going to put my morals aside to do that. With Rebel Revive, at the time I didn’t know there was something that would be a full time gig. But I always knew deep in my heart that I wanted to start a band with my own music, and pursue that full time. And so I left New Years Day to start Rebel Revive and take on something that I’d been pushing off for quite a few years.
Do you still keep in touch with any of the New Years Day members? They are Warped Tour now…
Yes, I was going to note that. Actually just walking in here, I just said hi to Nikki and Ash and all them. They’re all dear friends of mine. I’m sure eventually we’ll share the stage again and I love those guys to death.
So you’ve done the whole Warped Tour with New Years Day before…
Yeah, 2011 was the year we did Warped and then off of that we did a headlining tour – so it was back-to-back tours. And Warped Tour is crazy! Compared to other tours, you show up at 6PM on a normal tour, play a show, and you actually get to sleep a little bit. Warped Tour – you’re up from 9AM to 9PM or usually later if you’re hanging out partying and stuff. It’s definitely the hardest tour I’ve ever been on, but it’s like rock and roll summer camp – I love it and there’s nothing like it! Hopefully Rebel Revive will be full blast next year on a stage singing our hearts out!
How close are you to writing and recording another EP or full length?
Good question! I actually have the next EP already written. I have 5-6 songs that will go to the next EP – and I might actually make it a full length because I have 4-5 that are actually polished off, finished and ready to go. I’ve been recording those with Anthony, the bass player for New Years Day – my friend – doing pre-production for those. And then I also have about 10 scratch ideas as well –so I’m thinking it will probably be a full length, but if not, it will be an EP pretty quickly here – maybe early next year. Since 11 is so recent, I’m trying to let that take its course. But yeah, we’ll see – it depends on what kind of label offers we have or what kind of producer offers we have. I had a blast recording 11 with my friend Colby Wedgeworth who did The Maine, This Century and Lydia – so three big bands – he’s so solid – he’s great! Working with him has been so comfortable and so easy to make great art out of. I’m hoping that I get to work with him again. So I’m thinking it’s not too long before new music comes out. We’re already playing new songs that aren’t on 11 at a show next week.
If the music of Rebel Revive was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
I would say a glazed with chocolate sprinkles – because it’s a nice, clean looking donut at first – and then you add the chocolate sprinkles and it’s kind of like raw and you’re like, “Ah, yeah, what the heck!” So that would it – a glazed with chocolate sprinkles. I’ll have to think about that. I’ll have to eat some donuts and get back to you.
Do you have any messages for people reading this who might want to check out Rebel Revive?
Absolutely! Support local music. Support Highwire Daze – they’ve been good to me throughout the years. And definitely keep speaking out for what you believe in. Your voices are extremely powerful! Make art and have fun!\
Rebel Revive will be performing at The Glasshouse in Pomona on October 12th!
(Interview and Photos by Ken Morton)
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