THE REV first came to my attention as the axe hero in mid noughties punk band The Towers of London. After their initial success they toured the world supporting bands such as Guns 'n' Roses and Motley Crue. However, it was all to end controversially.
Still not one to let the grass grow under his feet, he then went on to serve a couple of years as the live guitar player for global dance-rock rebels, The Prodigy, as well as starting a band with original punk rocker Jimmy Pursey of Sham 69 fame.
Of late he's formed a new band THE HOWLING who are presently tearing up venues all over the country in support of Buckcherry.
I recently had the pleasure of catching up with him to get his take on a varied career and outline what the future holds for him and the band..........
So Rev, how is life treating you at the moment?
" Life's great I'm on tour right now with The Howling supporting
Buckcherry across the UK.
You seem to have returned with a bang judging by your new band THE HOWLING. How did it all come about and who is in the present line up?
" The Howling was formed by James Black (Redstar Rebels) and Myself after our previous projects went under for various reasons. Our personalities and drive are extremely similar which is why we wanted to work together. We wanted to form a band that wasn't afraid to work hard and push boundaries so set about looking for members who had our drive commitment and the talent. The line up is Blacky (Lead Vocals) Rev (lead Guitar / BV's) Lewis Chappell (Bass, Programming, BV's) Aaron Grimes (Rhythm Guitar) Jack Wayne (Drums)
OK, lets go back a bit. When did you first start taking an interest in music and what bands initially influenced you?
" My passion for music and playing the guitar has been there since I can remember as soon as I could play a chord something in me clicked and music has been a primary focus in my life since the age of 13.
" I've been in bands since I was 13 I formed my first band in
school The Bottlenecks a mix of covers and originals we went through
a lot together however the band was a hobby for most and with a Dick
Whittington obsession with London I left home and went to seek musicians
with the same drive and belief in carving out a professional career
as I had which is how Towers came about.
You're probably sick of being asked where it all went wrong in the Towers. So maybe you can share some of your highlights with the band.
" I got to support some huge bands Guns 'n' Roses, New York Dolls, Motley Crue, Iggy and the Stooges. I travelled the world for 5 years spending time in places that if it wasn't for music I would have probably never been able to reach. Japan and the States were huge for me I couldn't believe we were playing festivals and headline shows in those countries the were great times!
Looking back, given that you had the TV series on Bravo, as well as Donny's stint in Big Brother, do you feel the band blew several big opportunities to become successful?
" I feel there were bad management decisions made in Towers on a lot of levels and we definitely blew a lot of huge opportunities by just not being as proactive as we could and essentially pissing it all up the wall. In truth I had zero control in Towers of London, Donny and Dirk made all made decisions and made it very difficult to voice an opinion. Their volatile nature made life difficult from the beginning. The effects of watching what can happen when opportunities so huge are wasted is a constant source of drive for my approach to the way Blacky and myself steer The Howling.
" I haven't listened to the album since I walked out on the band.
I'm proud of what we recorded and I put my heart and soul and all effort
into recording and writing my parts and enjoyed the process of working
with some talented producers. The album leaves a bitter taste as I was
crudely written out of any credit. As for playing TOL tracks in The
Would you like to give your perspective on your departure from the band and do you hold any grudges?
" I departed because I'd had enough I was sick of the bad attitude's inability to hold things together and bad decisions made from within the band. I gave my all in the band at every moment and I was treated with no respect whatsoever particularly by Donny and Dirk. The final straw was when I was physically attacked by them both (subsequently made it into the TV series). I haven't seen them since and have no desire to; I would never treat any of my band mates the way I was treated. In regards to Grudges I hold none - I moved on to bigger and better things. It was sad to see it end the way it did they ran a great band into the ground and drove everyone away.
" I was asked to join The Prodigy at a time when they were finishing
their festival commitments on the Their Law greatest hits tour. They
were trying out new potential drummers when Snell was offered the opportunity
to try out on a couple of shows in Hungary. I still speak and see to
Snell, we've been through a lot together though sadly now he's no longer
playing. He has a lovely little boy and wife and has moved back out
After the Towers you landed live guitar duties with the Prodigy. How did that come about?
" Towers supported The Prodigy at Brixton Academy some years back I'd stayed in touch with Keith Flint since the shows and at the time I was living fairly close to him in West London. We hung out a lot over the year after the show and at his wedding I was introduced to Liam Howlett. He initially asked if I'd do some studio work with him which I did; we got on great and from then he asked me if I'd finish the live commitments they had whilst he was finishing Invaders Must Die. I had a fantastic 2 years with the guys and played some huge shows, I'm still great friends with all the band and crew I have a lot of respect for what Liam showed me and the support they give.
" Like a duck to water I'd always known I would be able to handle that level of playing and is what I strive to achieve. We did some big festivals in Towers and great tours but nothing compared to the enormity of a Prodigy show. Every Night before was I sleepless, I hadn't felt adrenaline quite like it and I loved every single moment of it and couldn't wait to hit the stage. Every night I took a moment to just stand there and stare out at the crowd knowing I was achieving what I always wanted to do.
" Keith is salt of the earth kind of guy sure we had some wild parties in the past but when you get to the level The Prodigy are at and your fronting a band every night of the week for 2 hours you have to take care of yourself. All the guys are great down to earth lads!
Was your stay with the Prodigy always going to be temporary or could you have stayed longer than two years if you had wanted?
" It was always a temporary thing it lasted a lot longer than I initially thought it would. Rob Haliday has been with the guys for some years at the time he was taking a break I never asked many questions as it was none of my business I was happy to come on board and play with such a legendary band and great bunch of guys.
Jimmy (and Sham 69) were heroes to certain people of my age, whilst others treated him like a pariah due to the far right following the band attracted. What's he really like?
" I called him Mad Uncle Jimmy, he was very kind sincere but also
very eccentric he was a true artists punk and creator. I met a man who
had given his entire life to music.
I next heard of you in Dirty Harry. Were you a "guitar for hire" at this time?
" I was lost around that time Towers ended, I had a great run with The Prodigy then that finished, day 21 was going nowhere fast. I missed the touring, I missed having a band to focus on, I missed playing live. I met Harry some years back in LA with Towers; she'd recently moved to London and had some good tracks. I put a band together for her and we went out and supported Gary Numan on 2 UK tours. I was never into the music or the band but getting out on tour with Gary Numan and playing big stages every night at that time, I didn't care sign me up!
" They kept me playing, kept me out there and got my drive and fire back I did some sessions with Chase n Status, studio sessions for TV and kept myself busy running my own Club night in London whilst seeking for the next connection.
THE HOWLING's sound seems to have elements of all your previous bands in it. How would you describe it?
" The Howling are a Punk Rock Electronic band fusing punk riffs beats and samples to take the genre to a new generation.
" Blacky is the lyricist in the band everything he comes out with stems from an experience how that's manifested in song lyrics is artists discretion and the listeners take on it.
You've toured with a number of different bands including Uriah Heep. Are you trying to broaden the scope of your fan base and stop being pigeon-holed as just a standard rock band?
" That's the plan I don't think our future career can be based on the fact we did a couple of shows with a band whose fan base we will probably never play to again. Those shows were great to road test our set.
Cheers Rev. All the best for the future.