The band was launched in a rural Massachusetts basement - creating their sprawling, intense assault of morphed-out, rock/rap fury from the sleepy confines of a place called - ironically - Harvard, MA. (pop: 5,000).
"The high school has about 500 people," laughs frontman and lyric writer, Drew Simollardes. "But being stranded out here gives us a lot of shit to write about."
Searing tracks such as "Flesh And Blood," and the ominous "Permanent (Take A Look Around)," from their debut album, Laced, are powered by Steve Miloszewski's and Greg Sullivan's greasy chunks of snarling guitar work, accompanied by the hard-hitting rhythm section of bassist Carl Randolph and drummer Justin Wilson. Simollardes' stabbing, adrenalin fueled cadence serves as the icing on this high octane cake, making the young fivesome one of the most talked about new bands in the northeast. With influences that range from House Of Pain and Tool, to Black Sabbath and Public Enemy, it's no wonder the members played a game of revolving groups before settling on their final lineup. "Steve was in another band originally," explains Drew. "They were more Nirvana influenced. He wanted to do some heavier stuff so I said let's do a side project, and we'll make a demo. We put it together in his basement. But the bassist from his band was there, and afterwards he suggested I just join their band. So I did a couple of tunes, but it didn't work out."
Naturally, Drew formed another band. "We were harder, even still. But we sucked," he laughs. Eventually he and Steve hooked up again, drafting the guitarist from Steve's band (Greg) and the drummer from Drew's (Justin), then holding auditions for a new bassist. The band chose Carl, a die-hard fan of such hard rock stalwarts as Black Sabbath and Pantera.
The group quickly went to work, building a small practice studio in the basement of Justin's house in Chelmsford, MA. Soon, they unleashed a demo of six songs, catching the ear of a New Hampshire music agent. The boys arranged an impromptu basement audition, with the impressed agent promising to bring Reveille to the attention of some record labels.
"We didn't know it at the time, but I guess it was all happening pretty fast," says Drew. The group played their first "real" show on May 1 of last year, and by August, a myriad of labels were knocking at the gates of Harvard. A series of showcases at New York's famous CBGB's eventually garnered them their deal with Elektra. "It was weird to play in New York," recalls Drew. "It got to be like a wedding reception, having to meet all these people afterward. But we didn't think about it when we played. We just did what we knew how to do."
Simollardes also credits Boston area group Godsmack with lending a helping hand during those formative days. "They had seen us play and asked us to open for them during a bunch of shows. They were real cool."
Noted producer Steve Thompson (Korn, Metallica) was chosen to produce, with Thompson and the band entering legendary Long View Farm studio (Used by Sevendust, Creed among others) in North Brookfield MA, in early November to work on the 12 tracks the group had offered up. "He was great. He didn't try to bend our music as much as we thought he would," says Drew. "It took about two months to finish."
Another surprise occurred during the mixing of the album at Electra Lady Studios. Cypress Hill's B Real agreed to appear on one of the 2 new tracks the band had written, "Splitt (Comin' Out Swinging)." "He was really cool," says Drew. "Cypress Hill has always been one of my favorite groups. To have him appear on our record was an incredible thrill." The song, a visceral, percussion-laden anthem, appropriately closes out the album.
The group has also earned their live chops since their hectic showcases of last summer, recently earning a prestigious Boston Music Awards' nomination as "Best Hard Rock Band."
Drew, however, is still hesitant to try and describe the content of their songs. "Let's just say they're mostly about confusion," he says cryptically.
"It's funny, people always ask me why am I so pissed off, because of our lyrics," says Drew. "But I'm not. I just try to get emotional when I write. The kind of music that is going to best translate live. I'm not going to go up there and sing about what a great week I had. When I'm writing, it is so different than when I'm performing. When I'm up on stage it's all about the crowd. We vibe off of them and they vibe off of us."