After witnessing their high-energy set during Wakarusa earlier this month, Jamestown Revival drew me as a fan instantly. The passion in their craft truly shines, and their authentic and personable connection to their crowd is beyond charming. Although I wouldn’t be quick to call myself a fan of southern Rock, Jamestown Revival changed my mind on the spot! I was stoked to have the opportunity to sit with both Jonathan and Zach, who were awesome enough to grant me an interview after completing a particularly busy day. Make sure to follow the band on their social medias to see them in a city near you!
CYM: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, we really enjoyed your set! I know you’d mentioned at the press conference earlier that your actual journey to Wakarusa was pretty chaotic – What happened exactly?
Jonathan: Oh man it was nuts – we missed our flights super last minute, spontaneously decided to rent a car, and drove all the way here just in time to start our day at the festival. I wouldn’t say it happens often, but when you travel a lot things just go that way sometimes. My brain was definitely a little weird today, though.
Zach: Running on about two and a half hours of sleep has us making mistakes here and there that only we know about [laughs], but Jonathan’s the only one who knows where I fuck up.
CYM: You guys are my official Discovery of Waka 2015; I stumbled on your set and was seriously impressed! How did Jamestown Revival come together initially?
Jonathan: Thanks – this was a pretty big show for us, so that really means a lot. But we wrote our first song together when we were 14. and I did my solo thing for a while at first. Zach was a very responsible young man, and graduated from college with a degree – on the other hand, I dropped out. It wasn’t too long before I was like ‘Zach, music is really easy, you should come play. Let’s go tour and sleep in the back of an SUV and get drunk together.’ It was weird, making music together almost seemed as natural as any other facet of us hanging out. It was just like, you know; get together, play some basketball, jam on the guitars, and go fishing – that was kind of what our weekends were like before we could drive…Then we were just trying to chase girls! [Laughs]
CYM: You wrote your first song when you were 14 – how old are you guys now, and how long have you been performing as Jamestown Revival?
Jonathan: We’re both 30 – That really puts it into perspective! It’s been 16 years, I don’t even feel like we’re 30. We started in 2011 though, so that would be four years of James!
CYM: Tell us about the moment when you realized music was what you wanted to do.
Jonathan: When we wrote our first song! [Laughs] It was pretty instant. I remember going to my parents bedroom while they were asleep, and I was so excited I couldn’t wait to tell them. I knocked and burst in like ‘Mom, Dad. me and Zach are gonna be musicians!’ I’ll never forget that she woke up out of a half sleep, my dad didn’t wake up at all, and she’s like ‘Well honey, okay – Go be musicians.’ And that was big. We’ve been very fortunate that we’ve had such supportive sets of parents. They gave us that vote of confidence for when shit really hit the fan.
CYM: Who would you say your biggest influences are?
Jonathan: I think our roots are in Southern classic Country and Rock, like American songwriters such as Guy Clark, Willie Nelson, a lot of Texans [Laughs]. Merle Haggard, Creedence Clear Water, Rolling Stones, Everly Brothers – we’re all over the place with the artists we look up to.
CYM: We also wanted to ask about the little hat kick at the end, how long did that take to rehearse?
Jonathan: Wait, what? Did we do a hat kick?
CYM: Yeah you did! It looked planned for sure.
Jonathan: I guess that was the first time ever! We always do some type of Karate kick at the end of our sets, release the last of that adrenaline.
Zach: You know sometimes, in our minds, Jonathan and I see ourselves as Double Dragon, and we like to incorporate Karate. We like to think that if we needed to, we could Double Dragon our way out of any situation…
Jonathan: Willie Nelson is a third degree black belt, so we’re just trying to keep our skills sharp. Actually, I think he just got another one!
CYM: What else does Jamestown Revival have on the plate this year besides Waka?
Jonathan: Wakarusa was a big one, upcoming we have Lolla, and we just played Coachella which was incredible. Tomorrow we’re playing Bunbury Festival in Cincinatti. Then just touring in the Fall, and getting the new album out!
Zach: In the meantime, we’re just kissing hands and shaking babies. [Laughs]
Jonathan: In all seriousness, it’s really cool to come out to Arkansas for the first time and play something huge like this. With all these opportunities coming our way, there isn’t a damn thing we can complain about. People have been good to us, shown us so much love – We’ve pretty much been running on good vibes non-stop, and that means everything to us!