As a long-time supporter of local music, it never ceases to amaze me how much talent there is in my adopted hometown.
Now in its twelfth year, Calgary, Alberta’s Blind Beggar Pub’s Original Music Showcase seeks to do just that; showcase local music!
I’ve been extremely fortunate to judge this event since 2011, and each year I am blown away by at least one relatively new project that just seems to hit all my buttons.
Original Music Showcase 2018 was no different. After ten weeks, and 30 bands, the finals wrapped up with crowning Altamont Revolver OMS 2018 champs.
Though long-time friends, Dwight Lamoureax (vocals), Gino Flaviano (guitar) and Ryan Preuter (drums), formed Altamont Revolver last October, and quickly started writing original material specially for the Original Music Showcase.
Prior to this recent project, they saw themselves as mainly a cover band, playing for their friends, and at various gigs, but they credit entering the Original Music Showcase as the drive to start writing their own music.
All three take part in the writing process, and wanted to make mention that, they are all self-taught – not just in the song writing department, but musically as well.
Their stripped down, blues-infused rock sound is a throw-back to the early days when artists like the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin ruled the genre, and that is what peaked my interest the first time I saw them perform.
With three young men, all under 30, my first obvious query was the evolution of their sound. As Gino describes it, “I’m the 70’s/80’s guy, Dwight is the 90’s and Ryan is the 2000’s.”
Out of all their diverse musical influences, one thing began to stand out – there was one common denominator among all their favorite artists; Led Zeppelin.
Gino explains, Altamont Revolver became “a derivative of this Zepplin born blues sound. We’re not trying to sound like anybody. We’re just trying to be us. We’re trying to be our influences in our own way.”
Last month, they released their first single, “Lady Lady”, an in your face track with a sexy guitar riff driving the beat.
Recently I sat down with Dwight, Gino and Ryan to talk about Altamont Revolver, the Original Music Showcase and Slash.
Shannon: You beat out 30 bands, is it “holy shit” or “yeah, we knew it”
AR – it’s holy shit. It put the fire under our ass and take it seriously. Before it was just covers, but now we had a purpose and a direction. We knew what we had to do. Maybe that’s why we did so well, because we knew we had to do this.
Shannon: Gino, you’re so young, so how did you get into 70’s music?
Gino: My dad. We had the classic stereo system at home, and my dad had cassettes and records on the bottom shelf. The first time I ever heard Van Halen was at the end of Power Rangers, where they do the end credit, it’s “Dreams” by Van Halen. I asked my dad ‘what band is that?’ and he showed me the actual tape, and I played Van Halen 1 for the first time, and right then and there – Done. I’m a rock n’ roll guy from now on.
Shannon: Can each of you draw back to your parents? Do each of your parents have some influence on what you are in to?
Dwight: Mine would have been my dad. He was a huge Zepplin fan.
Ryan: Neither of my parents have a musical bone in their body, but my granddad was a big band drummer here in the city for a long time. So, when I was about 4 years old, I was at my nannas house once, and sat at a drum set in the basement and started playing. He came down and said ‘what are you doing?’ He gave me lessons while I was going up. He would always try to tell me I gotta learn these skills, I was like, I just want to smash things. Now I understand how it would have helped me putting more focus on that growing up [drumming skills/technique] so now I’m trying to pay catch-up. It’s kind of neat how it’s gone full circle. Now I’m trying to teach myself jazz drumming.
Gino, being the graphics guy in the group shared a story about his taste of rock n’ roll fame. As he tells it, a drawing he did of Slash (a huge influence for his own guitar playing) was liked by Slash’s dad on Gino’s Instagram, who then reposted it to his own feed. Slash then liked his dad’s reposting of Gino’s drawing. Gino professes, “That’s my claim to rock n roll history. I made it. I’m done. I have nowhere to go in rock n roll.” (laughs)
Gino then shared a screenshot of Slash’s dad’s Instagram repost.
As our conversation continued, the guys mentioned how they always get asked about the band name. According to Altamont Revolver, “It’s a reference to the Stones, the concert. A moment in rock n roll history.”
Shannon: where would we see AR in 5 years?
AR: Touring world-wide – at least North America and an album or two released. Right now, we have enough songs to do a full-length album. We have 8 songs written. So, we’re ready to go in the studio. And we’re still writing.
Just nine months in, Altamont Revolver is on a mission. A mission fully loaded. A mission to take over the world. A mission that might even make Slash proud.