Walking in a ‘Wicked Wonderland’
One of the hardest working bands in hard rock, Rev Theory returned early this year with Justice, their third and best album to date. Boasting a raw, aggressive sound that matches the intensity of its live show, Justice is the product of a band that is hungry, that feels like it has something to prove, even after the success of its sophomore effort, Light It Up (2008). This year already has seen Rev Theory on a headlining tour, sharing a bill with Saliva, playing the main stage at Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio, and most recently, opening a few shows for the almighty Black Label Society. Outside The National in Richmond, Va., the last stop of the BLS tour, Rev Theory frontman Rich Luzzi sat down for a chat with Live Metal’s Greg Maki.
LIVE METAL: You just hopped on at the tail end of this tour for a few shows, but how have they gone for you?
RICH LUZZI: They’ve been great, man. The whole crew and band for Black Label is awesome. Their fans are really loyal, but they’ve opened up to us, and it’s been fun.
Yeah, I was kind of wondering what that’s like to walk out there and see everyone’s wearing the Black Label T-shirts or the vests. Is that intimidating at all?
RICH LUZZI: No, it’s just a chance for us to hopefully make some loyal fans, ‘cause that’s what it’s displaying. It’s displaying how loyal they are to this band. So if we can go out and throw down pretty hard, hopefully we can grab some.
Have you gotten a chance to meet and hang out with the Black Label guys?
RICH LUZZI: Yeah. They watch a couple songs every night of our set. We’ve hung out with them before the shows, spoken to Zakk (Wylde). They’re all really nice guys.
A couple weeks ago, I was up in Ohio at Rock on the Range. You guys had played on one of the side stages before, but what was it like to be on the main stage this time?
RICH LUZZI: It was cool, just looking out and seeing that many people. I don’t know, for some strange reason, I still enjoy the side stage. Playing a little bit later in the day on the side stage, it’s a totally different vibe, as far as energy’s concerned. But it was definitely awesome to be on the main stage and be considered a part of that group.
This is the last show of this part of the tour. What’s next?
RICH LUZZI:We go home, a break for a little bit. We have a couple fly dates over the summer, a couple dates with Puddle of Mudd, and then we’ll be back out probably end of August.
I’ve gotta say, you probably have the most badass mic stand I’ve ever seen, with the ax down at the bottom. What did you have to do to get something like that made for you?
RICH LUZZI:That one, we had made, and I have a new one now that a guy actually welded for me, and it’s pretty badass. He didn’t even see my other one. He just saw the ax and thought it would make a pretty cool mic stand. So it’s pretty badass.
Have you gone to any other countries yet with that?
RICH LUZZI:No, not yet.
There might be some issues there.
RICH LUZZI:(laughter) Yeah, it might bring a red flag when we’re trying to go through security. I’ll just put it on my shoulder.
The new album, I think, is amazing. I’ve heard you talk onstage about how you came off the last tour and you guys were really pissed off about a lot of different things. Can you go into a little more detail about some of those things?
RICH LUZZI:I just think, as a band, we’ve worked really hard over the past 10, 12 years, and we’ve seen some people catch breaks or rise really fast. We’ve been very patient. We felt like our last record, that it was gonna be our time. And for whatever reason, it didn’t click the way that we wanted it to—it was still a successful record for us. Obviously, when you’re at this stage in your career, you want to be at a certain level, and we’re still climbing to get there. So that’s basically what that meant.
I think my favorite song on the album is probably “Wicked Wonderland.” What is that song about?
RICH LUZZI: We like to call it this record’s “Hell Yeah.” It’s a good-time, party song, a little bit about what we do, our world a little bit. And it actually might be the next single.
During the making of Light It Up was when you added the lead guitarist (Rikki Lixx). It sounds like on Justice that he’s become an even bigger part of the band. Do you think that’s accurate?
RICH LUZZI: Yeah. He had more time to write with us on this record than he did on the last one. So obviously, after touring with him for more than two years and then going through the writing process, it’s his signature stamp on the songs, which is what we wanted.
You got to work with Terry Date as the producer. He’s worked with so many big names.
RICH LUZZI: Stories for days. He’s got stories for days.
Yeah. What was it like to work with him?
RICH LUZZI: It was pretty surreal to sit in the same room with him and know that he’s made some of our favorite records, and then having him working on ours. He made us work really hard ‘cause he’s an old-school guy and he doesn’t like to rely on computers, which was good, and I think that’s why we have the sounding record that we do have. It’s pretty raw and real. Some people might say it’s not as polished—it’s like, well, that’s what we wanted. Anybody can polish shit, so we wanted to make something that was real.
The last couple albums, you were out for about two years each. Do you think you’ll do that same length for this one?
RICH LUZZI: Yeah. As long as it supports itself, we’ll be touring on it.
When you’re out here on tour, I’m sure eventually all the venues start to look the same.
RICH LUZZI: Yeah, it’s like Groundhog Day.
What do you do in your free time?
RICH LUZZI: We usually try to get up at a decent hour so we don’t miss the day and try to get to a gym to work out. Then maybe, if we’re in an area where we can walk around, we’ll take a little bit of a walk to see the city that we’re in, just try to get off the bus as much as possible. Some days it happens, and some days it doesn’t.
You’ve done so much touring and obviously toured with a lot of other bands and some big names. Who’s on your wish list? Who else would you want to go out with?
RICH LUZZI: Wish list to go out with? Foo Fighters. Linkin Park. We’d like to get back out with Avenged (Sevenfold); they were great. I don’t know. Whoever will take us out. Metallica. Definitely would like to do some shows with Metallica.
Looking forward, you guys have been together for a while now and have had some success, but what goals do you have for the band at this point?
RICH LUZZI: Just to write music that touches a person in a certain way, a little bit deeper, makes people smile, makes people get away from their bad time; be able to do what we love to do and support ourselves.
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