Black Beast Revival: Bowling with the beast

It can be tough for a burgeoning band to return home from a tour, especially after
experiencing the lure of the open road. But Black Beast Revival isn’t going to let the
end of their recent tour slow them down, it’s only fueling the four friends to grow as
a group as they prepare to strike down any obstacle that stands in their way. Much
like the bowling pins we were knocking down on a weekday night, while tipping
back some beers. Although the band is glad to be home, they do miss the road.

“I definitely became addicted to touring,” said Erin James, vocals/guitar,
lacing up those stylish rental shoes. “I don’t want to work a real job anymore, I just
want to play shows.”

Bassist Brice Ervin agrees. After returning home from the tour, both he and
drummer Bill Anker went back to work at their day jobs.

“It was definitely an adjustment, because you have a crazy sense of freedom
on the road. Bill and I were at work the day after we got home, just looking at each
like, thinking this life is for the birds,” he laughs. “Tour life and real life is a whole
different thing. It just makes you want to work harder and get back out there.”

Fresh off a west coast tour and SXSW showcase, Black Beast Revival (BRB)
has returned home with plenty of road tales (see May’s “Tales From The Road”) and
some impending downtime. But before taking a few weeks off, the band will be
playing plenty of shows around town, which the band thrives on.

“Bellingham has a great sense of community and I took it for granted while
out on the road,” Ervin said. “I thought all college towns would be like Bellingham,
but they didn’t compare at all.”

After causing quite a stir at SXSW, the band plans to expand their sound east
and already have contacts for possibly booking some east coast shows in the future.

“Hopefully, we’ll get down the coast a couple of more times this year and
we’re going to try and play as many shows in Seattle/Portland/Eugene as possible,”
said James.

According to the band, their recent tour was financially successful, except for
a few problems with their home away from home — the tour van.

“We dumped a bunch of money into the van before we left, but it ran like
shit,” Anker laughs. “We spent around $4,000 on fuel during the tour, which is
ridiculous. If we had a vehicle that worked, we would have come home in the black,
which is pretty crazy for a band heading out on their first tour.”

The band plans on holding a record release show soon, possibly in June, but
before they can do that, they need the physical copy in their hand, which has been a
problem since the beginning of the tour.

After winning a recording session at 2012’s Ninkasi Last Band Standing, the
band recorded a five-song EP with James Book (The Flys), who has a studio through
Ninkasi Brewery. But after being referred to a company in Portland to get their CDs
pressed, the band ran into some major problems.

“I had set up an order to have 200 CDs pressed so we could grab them right
before we left on tour,” said Zack Van Houten, lead guitar. “So we went to pick them
up and found out the track listings were wrong. It was total ‘Spinal Tap’ moment. It was the ultimate bummer because we waited to put the CD in the player until we hit
the highway and then we discovered the problems.”

After calling the company and letting them know that they screwed the CDs
up, Van Houten was informed the company would have a new batch ready and
waiting for them in Sacramento. But again, problems arose. The shipping was
screwed up and the band didn’t receive their discs until they reached San Francisco.
But that wasn’t the end of the fiasco.

“We picked up the new CDs and they were all fucked up, scratched, broken
and they didn’t even have labels on them. They just sent us a big stack of stickers to
put on them,” Van Houten said. “Let’s just say I’m currently in the process of filing
legal action.”

But this story does have a happy ending. The band has reached a deal with a
new company and the album will be getting a proper release, including a vinyl
version.

“I would tentatively say June for a record release show, but after this
experience, I’m not willing to book anything until I have the record in my hand,” Van
Houten laughs.

The night of bowling on the other hand does not end well. All of us struggle to
reach the 100 mark, with Brice going home a champion. When talk of another game
starts up, the group decides to take the matter to their trusted tour advisor, the
“Road Coin” — a 1923 silver liberty dollar — which comes out of Van Houten’s
pocket for the decision. And with a flip of the “Road Coin” the bowling has ended and
the Beast’s adventure continues into the night.

For more information on Black Beast Revival, check out www.blackbeastrevival.com
or catch them live at The Wild Buffalo on June 6 with The Keaton Collective and The
Palisades for a Make.Shift benefit.