Julien Jorgensen of Rev Theory
On February 15th, Rev Theory will release their new album Justice. According to the band (Rick Luzzi on vocals, Julien Jorgensen and Rikki Lixx on guitar, Matty McCloskey on bass and Dave Agoglia on drums), “it’s not just an album, it’s a call to action.” Produced by Terry Tate, the album successfully translates the high level energy and excitement that they bring to the stage night after night to a recorded format for fans to listen to time and time again.
The overall theme of the album revolves around the qualities that the band feels defines all of us – “honor, truth, love and respect”. The album offers up songs to to inspire the downtrodden, lend a helping hand to the desperate, and bring hope to those disillusioned by the world we see around us from politics to the economy to humanity in general. Anthemic tunes like the title track “Justice” is a fist-pumping rocker that sets the tone right from the start.
This album harkens back to the raw energy of the band’s debut release Truth Is Currency and builds on that. The results are a solid rock album from start to finish and undoubtedly their best album to date. We recently caught up with guitarist Julien Jorgensen to talk about the new album and how it all came together!
Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette
Let’s talk about this quote “Justice means so much to us. It’s not just an album title, it’s a call to action” –can you tell us a little more about what you meant by that?
I just feel like we’ve worked pretty hard and we wanted to make a record that really captured the energy of the band live. We wanted to get what’s ours. At the end of the day we feel that we’ve worked really hard and we wanted to record an album that did us justice, pardon the pun. We wanted to evoke some sort of emotion from people and we wanted to make a defining rock record and a call to action in that regard.
And choosing to name the album after the song “Justice” has a little bit of meaning to it too correct? I read an interview where Rich said that the overall theme of the album is kind of based around that song – do you feel the same way?
I think so. We’re not really a politically motivated band but we are obviously affected by everything. I think that a lot of the songs touch on some sort of an emotion of being fed up and pissed off about your situation in life or the way things are. Every song is full of piss and vinegar and it’s somewhat cathartic for us writing some of these songs whether it was dealing with our own addiction issues, relationship issues, things that were going on in our culture or the record industry around us, all of that had an aggressive pissed off feel to it. We were a little bit fed up and we hope the music empowers people to do things in their own lives and helps them get through their day.
You worked with producer Terry Tate who has worked with some pretty heavy bands and overall this album feels a lot heavier to me than your last and certainly more raw – do you think Terry helped with that?
I think it’s just that, the first thing we set out to do was capture our live show. We had always been told that we couldn’t quite harness that energy when it came to recording. I think we skirted with it on the last few records and on this one we’ve been able to do it and that’s what Terry does best. Terry’s the type of guy who’s worked with bands like Deftones, Pantera, and Soundgarden and captured a character and the true rawness of the band along with the flaws and idiosynchrsies of a band. He’s not a type of guy that goes in and tweaks things or uses autotune to mess with the vocals – it is what it is. That’s what we wanted, an honest raw interpretation of what Rev Theory is and that’s first and foremost what he brought to the table.
And working with him there were a lot of live takes right?
Yeah, we played the songs fourteen or fifteen times each, we recorded drums and bass live off of the floor and then we added the guitars and vocals from there but ultimately it’s a looser record because of that. You’re getting that true rhythm section live off of the floor.
One of my favorite songs on the album is “Hollow Man”, I find it hauntingly beautiful, can you tell me about that song?
Matt and myself and were just playing in the back of the bus when we were on tour. We were just messing around with the lick and Matty sang a little bit and the song literally wrote itself in like half an hour. It’s one of the songs that almost didn’t make the record. Sometimes songs get overlooked in the writing process because you’re always excited about the newest thing you’ve written so it’s kind of funny that way. That song is a really honest song about something that Matty’s been feeling for his whole life and Matty and I kind of have the same kind of background so whether it was “Broken Bones” from our last album or “Hollow Man” from this album we feel like this is just a truly honest song.
You mentioned writing on tour, and I’ve seen you live many times over the last year or two so I know you’re out on the road a lot. Was a lot of the writing for the new album done out on the road or how did that all fall into place?
We wrote a lot on the road, we were inspired by some of the bands that we’ve been on tour with. “Dead In The Grave” was written on the road and we’ve been playing it during soundcheck even going into our last tour, and “Hollow Man” as well. “Never Again” was one of the songs that was written during the beginning part of the whole process. The genesis for four or five of the other songs were on the road, we were just inspired out there. When we came down to write the album we had four or five months but within those months we weren’t starting from scratch. We were focused and I’m not organized in any part of my life at all but I was just focused. I was trying to be as organized as possible for that timeframe because I knew we had to get it done and I knew we had some great stuff, so we definitely had more stuff from the road than we’ve ever had before.
I know that you toured with Avenged Sevenfold in the past. Is it true that “Say Goodbye” was inspired by the passing of Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan?
I came in with one part of the song and Matty came in with another and we kind of put it together. The Rev had just passed away and we were working on the lyrics and it was an introspective time in our lives. It’s weird because as much as your thinking about someone else and all the people around you it’s human nature and almost selfish in a way but you think about yourself. You wonder “what if that was me? What would I leave behind? What would be my legacy?” Depending on how you want to look at the song it can also be about the person that you’re with in an ambiguous way. It definitely was inspired by that though and the song was definitely affected by his passing.
When I interviewed you with Rich a few years back when you were here on the Jagermeister tour – Rich described you as the “wisdom” of the band – and you called yourself “the wise old man” –do you still feel like you fill that role in the band?
You mean am I the geriatric of the band? Ha ha, no as I said before, I have zero organization in my life, I am absolutely the most irresponsible person in the world but when it comes to what we’re doing and the passion and the commitment – this is my life. It’s the only thing I do, the only thing I ever want to do and the guys know that and I think they feel that way too but someone has to carry the torch when it comes to that and I’m happy to be the backbone if that’s what I am…whether it’s my age or my wisdom, then yes I still am!
Can you tell me about the artwork on the album cover because it seems to be a rock and roll play on a very famous and emotional photo and seems to fit perfectly with the overall vibe of the album.
We really liked the World War II propaganda concept. Like I said earlier we aren’t trying to make a crazy political statement but we also feel that people can relate that there has been some injustice served over the last few years within our government. We just feel like there’s a lot of bullshit out there and people are really fed up. The propaganda and the Iwo Jima picture and the deterioration of it was kind of consistent with how we’re feeling, there’s almost a hypocrisy going on within our country and around the world. We thought the image was cool and fit the overall theme of the album.
Your new song “Hangman” from forthcoming album is already lined up to be the new theme of WWE’s Friday night show Smackdown – those wrestlng folk seem to love Rev Theory!
Absolutely, we started a relationship with them in 2008 when they licensed “Light It Up” for Wrestlemania. I liked wrestling growing up and we started to submerge ourselves back into the culture when they started using our music. All of a sudden we’re hanging out with wrestlers ringside and talking to celebrity wrestling fans and we really realized the magnitude and the scope of the fanbase that wrestling touches. We went and visited their homebase up in Hartford, CT and they asked us to do a theme song for them and for this record they continued to like what we do. Every night they put on a rockshow so we can’t say no to that and we’re really happy and fortunate that they’ve taken a liking to us and our music.
Is there any one song on the album that you can point to that was the most rewarding for you to finish and hear the finished product? Is there one that you feel most personally invested in?
“Justice” is one of the songs that I’m proud of the way it came out. “Hangman” is another one that I feel particularly proud of, we worked hard to get it to the right place. It’s a really hard question because I have such an affinity for every song in it’s own little way, it’s tough. I hate to pick one but those two and “Hollow Man” I actually produced. It was fun to do that. I’ve always been on the production end of things as far as quality control but this time around I had the chance to produce a song myself so I’m really proud of that.
So tell us a little bit about the tour you’re about to head off on?
The Monster Outbreak Tour starts February 16th in Phoenix, AZ. It’s basically two weeks, fourteen shows. Our managers came up with a concept to put together a five band bill of up and coming artists who are on the verge of breaking through. We’ve been around awhile but we feel like this is our coming out party on this record so it’s perfect for us to headline. Monster thought it was a great idea and the best thing about it is you get a lot of bang for your buck, the tickets are really cheap! We’re so excited to get out there and get going!
Monster Energy OUTBREAK Tour: Rock on the Rise 2011 Tour Dates:
Wed-Feb-16 Phoenix AZ Club House
Fri-Feb-18 Salt Lake City UT Avalon
Sat-Feb-19 Colorado Springs CO The Black Sheep
Sun-Feb-20 Denver CO Bluebird
Tue-Feb-22 Des Moines IA People’s Court
Wed-Feb-23 Madison WI Majestic Theatre
Thu-Feb-24 Kansas City MO Midland
Fri-Feb-25 Tulsa, OK Marquee
Sat-Feb-26 Little Rock AR Juanita’s Cantina
Wed-Mar-02 Huntsville AL Sammy T’s
Fri-Mar-04 Baltimore MD Rams Head Live
Sat-Mar-05 Hartford CT Webster Underground
Sun-Mar-06 Jermyn PA Eleanor Rigby’s