Listen above and enjoy some color commentary on each track from Reviver frontman Matt Mascarenas below. Hit play and read on:
One of the many members that used to be in our band called this the ‘Marilyn Manson riff.’ Now every time we play it, the music video for “The Dope Show” where Marilyn Manson is wearing the boob suit pops in my head. Great.
This is actually the third song we ever wrote. Like many of the other songs on ‘Versificator,’ the guitar riffs in Legacy were meant for a slow, down-tempo side project, Fortunes. We sped it up, but we were never happy with it. When we were deciding which songs to put on ‘Versificator,’ we had to choose between Legacy and Anthem; Anthem won. We ended up rewriting Legacy and now we’re happy with it.
This was the last song to be written for this record. We were home for a couple weeks in February of 2009 and Jeff and I were unemployed and Brian didn’t work until 10:00 am, so the three of us would go jam from 8-9:30am. The early morning jams didn’t last long, but we were able to knock out the basic outline for this song. I had a hard time finalizing lyrics that I was happy with. I already knew what I was going to write about, but I just couldn’t get it out. After months of getting nowhere with it, I decided to open my notebook and write whatever came to mind and just go with it. “I give up. I’ve been trying for several months now to get it all into words.” Looking back on it now, I probably over thought it, but I’m happy with the way it turned out.
Get the scoop on the rest of the tracks after the jump...
We started writing Traditions back in the summer of 2008. This was when Donny Miller was still in our band. He brought a few of these riffs to practice and started jamming them, but shortly after he quit. A few months later we started playing through a bunch of riffs that hadn’t been used and this song came up, so we finished it and were really stoked on it.
I remember writing the lyrics to Traditions on a drive home from Denver. It was the last show of a tour with Crooked Ways and it was cancelled because of a blizzard in Colorado and Wyoming. We took the I-70 home and I remember trying to finish this song up before the sun went down. I lost that race and annoyed whoever was driving at the time by keeping the lights in the van on. This is the only song that I’ve written that hasn’t been rewritten several times. The only part I changed was the middle section [what will it take to not take this anymore? to take back your life, take back control, reclaim your unconquerable soul]. My cynicism was at an all time high, but I knew I didn’t want a hopeless vibe looming around every time we played this song, so I felt that if this song wasn’t going to offer a solution, it would at least have to have a bleak sense of hope.
We have a couple songs where I can tell exactly who we were listening to at the time of writing them; Undefined is one of them. We were in our Thrice – Vheissu stage. This song was almost cut from Potential Wasteland in the early stages of recording. It was a song we rarely played. Jeff came to practice one day and recommended a guitar intro and a pause at 0:41 [this was post recording, so its only done live] and it turned the song around. Winston Smith played the same role on Versificator. It wasn’t until finishing vocals that we decided to keep it.
I wrote this song about experiences that taught me that following your heart and rational thinking rarely having any relevance with each other.
Potential and Wasteland used to be one track. When we would listen through the ep, we brought up the concern of listeners losing interest in a 1:18 intro and not making it through the whole song.
By the time we are finished writing any of our songs, I already know I’m going write about. We finished this song in August of 2008, almost two years ago. I never had set lyrics for this song and since this song hadn’t been in the live rotation since our tour in September 08, I didn’t make it a priority to finish them right away. It wasn’t until March 2010 that I wrote concrete lyrics for Wasteland. This song was always going to be about how I felt living in Salt Lake City and the affects it had on me. Well, a lot changes in two years, and I’m really glad I waited until now to write the lyrics for this song. Back in August of 08, I blamed all my failures and frustration on me being in this city. It’s really easy to coming from such a sheltered area where religion runs a city and acting against it is looked down upon. Keep in mind; this is before we started touring full time. In the past, I had sporadic 1-2 week breaks from real life where I was able to hop in a van and play music every night in a few different bands. I felt that if I could be on the road all the time, I wouldn’t feel so miserable. Everyday when I’d drive to work or school, I would spend the whole drive trying to convince myself to keep driving and get as far as I possibly could from a city where everything and everyone I knew, including myself, continued to fall apart. From what I was seeing back then, no one had any intention to fix the situation, but merely get used to it. I remember reading a quote from Charles Bukowski, “If you're losing your soul and you know it, then you've still got a soul left to lose” and I ran with it. We set out to tour as much as we could. Nearly two years later, after spending most of the time on the road, I still have that deep desire to ‘escape,’ but now I know it was never from a location, but more so a mindset I adopted. I made sure to take responsibility for it. [NEW LOWS: from the place that I let take all the blame, from the place that projects exactly who I’ve come to be.]
We’ve had endless conversations about losing our sanity in our home setting. The lives that we were living weren’t fulfilling. We saw two options; we either get comfortable with our lives at home, or we quit talking about what we want to do and who we want to be and go for it. We decided to try and build something of our own from the ground up and music was the best way we knew how to do just that. This has been the heart and soul of our band.
Versificator was the start of that, namely the song ‘Anthem.’ At the time of writing that record, it was an up-to-date of what we were doing and how we were feeling. It was a blueprint of what we wanted to do; it was optimistic and slightly idealistic. Potential Wasteland is update of us following through with that plan. Its an Anthem to things not going according to plan, endless debt, sleeping on floors, broken down vans, running out of money across the country almost every night, band members constantly quitting, losing job after job, losing girlfriends and more to come I’m sure, losing ties with friends, never feeling at home, eating oriental Top Ramen for days on end, never getting real sleep, being helpless when things fall apart back home, sleeping on friend’s living room floors when in town, etc. At the same time, it’s also our Anthem to waking up in a van to the sun coming up all over America, meeting new friends every night, learning to live with only what we need, endless memories and experiences, coming closer to self realization, playing music every night, and most importantly, knowing that what we are building may barely be above water, but its still afloat. This is our ‘real life’ now and none of it would be as important as it is to us without the sacrifice. And even though this won’t last forever, it’s something we’ll always remember. This is more than just a band; it’s an idea put to practice. This is us ditching our former lives to save the real us. This is us putting our potential towards something worth speaking of. This is us celebrating the great consciousness of life the best way we know how.