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Spotlight: Revamped Revenants rev up again


Valley country combo The Revenants, who are back together after a long hiatus, are working on a brand-new tune that singer/songwriter/guitarist Bruce Connole is worried sounds “too rock ’n’ roll.” Connole, bassist Paul Schneider, keyboardist Brad Buxer and drummer Bobby Dommings make a pass through the song.

Connole, bassist Paul Schneider, keyboardist Brad Buxer and drummer Bobby Dommings make a pass through the song, a rumbling tune that is equal parts rockabilly and John Lee Hooker stomp with a classic Connole hook, and when they finish, Dommings weighs in.

“It's not too rock ’n’ roll,” the drummer says.

It's decided that the song works in The Revenants set of hard-core honky-tonk, and during a break, Connole hears Schneider and Buxer working on vocal harmonies and says, “I like it — that works, keep it.”

When The Revenants disappeared from Valley clubs six years ago they left behind a strong debut record, 1998's “Artists and Whores,” and a legacy as probably the finest alt-country band to grace clubs during the Valley's rock/twang heyday.

Connole and Schneider went on to form Valley bluegrass favorites Busted Hearts while Dommings returned to teaching drums six days a week. It wasn't until Connole's old friend Buxer — who played with the singer in the hugely popular, local early ’80s new wave group The Jetzons before moving to L.A. and becoming the band leader first for Stevie Wonder and then for Michael Jackson — rang Connole up out of the blue, wanting to play music with him again, that the band got back together.

“I'd always like those (Revenants) type (of) songs,” Connole says. “I never stopped writing them.”

Which brings us back to The Revenants rehearsal and the new song.

“Let's keep it quiet during the verses so it will sound big during the chorus,” Connole says. Buxer has been experimenting with a heavy glissando during the verses, and Connole suggests the keyboardist wait until the chorus to do “that ‘airplane taking off’ thing.”

The band tries it again, and Buxer mistakenly does “that ‘airplane taking off’ thing” during the first verse. Connole shakes his head and shoots him a smile.

“Flight 12 to Burbank!” Connole sings into the mike.

>> The Revenants perform 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16, at The Rhythm Room, 1019 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. $5. (602) 265-4842.