The John Street Revival are set to make 2023 their year with the release of the band’s new album. So before they get too big for little us, we put some questions to find out all about them. Lead singer and bearded wonder Chris Insley, was on hand to answer our questions.
Give us a potted history of the band
The John Street Revival really started in spring 2022. Prior to this we were called Field Manual and had put out two albums – Someday Streets in 2017 and then Souvenirs in 2020. We were always alt Americana inspired but as time went on I personally thought the name had no reflection on our sound, and unlike books, with music you really do have to judge a book by it’s cover. So in early 2022 we had a little line up change, not self inflicted either. It was quite some challenge to loose our drummer, bassist and rehearsal space in one week. With sleeves rolled up we quickly relocated to Leek and found Chris on bass and a stand in drummer Tom. Phil our original drummer is now back with us. We were ready to record the new album in the spring which had to be replanned, which we finally did in the summer in Macclesfield at The Big Red studio with Jake Evans who is a musician under his own name and was previously in Bad Lieutenant with Bernard Sumner and also was Jimmy Goodwins guitarist in his solo project. he was great to work with and las a great ear for what we wanted to achieve.
Who inspired you to start making music
Music seems to have been with me as long as I remember, from looking at my mum and dads records. I self taught myself guitar in the latter years of high school and really never looked back having started my first band with people we met at rock clubs in Manchester. Like most young kids growing up, we all wanted to be Angus Young. Those early seeds were absolutely planted by seeing him on the first ever Kerrang magazine, with his SG in hand. Music, growing up through high school gave us a force field. I was into The Sisters Of Mercy, I was a fledgling Goth and those bands next to Marc Bolan who really made me play my first chords that made a recognisable sound.
And the one or maybe two records that inspired you artistically
Theres always one record that surfaces, new or old, which really catches your ear and imagination. Or even listening to a familiar album at a different time can be a massive inspiration. We’ve been listening to a lot of The Band and myself Little Feat. Black Crowes have always been on my radar from the word go, very much ahead of their time. Southern Harmony and a musical companion was a fantastic eye and ear opening record, one of those that blew away the debut, like the bends by Radiohead. Amorica, Black Crows third release was again even better. As well as a musical inspiration for me it’s also an inspiration to keep writing good music or at least music that you think is good to you. Marc Ford I personally rate as one of the best underrated guitarists and writers.
If you’re trying to explain who you sound like to someone that’s never heard you, what do you say
I always say a mix of Wilco meets Springsteen meets The Stones or Tom Petty. Always a hard one to convey. I think ‘Heartland Rock’ really covers our bases.
Tell us about your new single
The latest single from the yet to be released album is called ‘I’ll be mine’. I very rarely write a song with some direct topic, the lyrics always seem subconscious and then they mean something to me but this does have a direct topic about my brothers sudden surprise separation from his then wife. I literally wrote this the next day in an hour, words, music as it is now. The chorus – “don’t get tied to all your memories, just get by without a time, just be me until I find that I’ll be mine”. I was pretty much trying to say just spend time with you, get to like you, theres no time frame, don’t rush a thing. That really shadows all the lyrics in the track.
Where can we get hold of it
You can find it on every streaming platform, Deezer, Apple Music, Spotify, just search for us in your favourite engine. We also have CD’s ready to go and we plan on releasing on vinyl also.
Tell us how you write
I (Chris) usually take a song in to the room, maybe send an idea on email or something so we have an idea to know what to do in the room. First impressions of a song are very important as it could go in a wrong direction, it rarely does however. This is the best group of people to be with and work with. A brilliantly exciting dynamic to be involved with. We really bounce off each other musically.
Tell us about your live show What would be your dream gig
We like to play good support shows as it get you in front of good audiences to showcase your songs. We play our own headline shows which are much longer, everywhere from pub venues to clubs at this point. Most of us have played in some of the best big famous venues in the uk over the years in various bands and both internationally. We’d love to get on some more festivals this year….also Red Rocks, that would be the dream. Without the rain though, I hear it rains a lot there.
What can we expect from you in the near future
We are booking shows in right now and have a few in January, February onwards. We plan our album to be out in March or April but we need to push it on pre release which can delay things.
Tell us your favourite records that are rocking your headphones/tour bus / stereo.
Gold by Ryan Adams, Layla And other love songs by Derek and the Dominos has been on repeat a lot, not so much a Clapton record but a real band record. Great songs. Black Crowes, The Band.
Check out the band’s track I’ll Be Mine, below: