APOCALYPSE BLUES REVUE
As the legend goes, Robert Johnson infamously started his career by meeting the Devil at the crossroads. By the same token, you could say Apocalypse Blues Revue began playing at the end of the world. Co-founded by Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin and guitarist Tony Rombola and featuring vocalist Ray “Rafer John” Cerbone and bassist Brian Carpenter, the quartet honors blues traditions, while etching their stamp on the genre in blood.
“As far as blues goes, Apocalypse Blues Revue is a little heavier, a little darker, and has some punk rock attitude in the lyrics,” affirms Shannon. “We wanted to make something deep that will provoke thought. It had to be evil though. We’re not trying to make it happy. It’s called blues for a reason! It was also an opportunity to show the world what a phenomenal guitar player Tony is.”
Shannon witnessed Tony’s knack for the style firsthand, while writing together for Godsmack’s 2010 offering The Oracle. Burnt out on metal and hard rock, the pair would loosely jam without boundaries. During one impromptu session in their Southwest Florida rehearsal spot, the drummer laid down a slow, simmering groove, and another side of the guitar player reared its head.
“I couldn’t believe it,” smiles Shannon. “I didn’t even know he was into blues or could play the way he does. My reaction was immediate. We had to officially start a blues band.”
“There’s always been some blues in my playing,” adds Tony. classic rock like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and AC/DC. Then, I got into guys like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Gales. We decided to mix it up, merging traditional blues and heavier elements.”
In between breaks from their rigorous Godsmack touring schedule,
“It came from classic rock like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and AC/DC. Then, I got into guys like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Gales. We decided to mix it up, merging traditional blues and heavier elements.”
In between breaks from their rigorous Godsmack touring schedule, the duo amassed countless ideas and decided to begin creating songs. Impressed by his Jim Morrison-esque baritone, they welcomed Rafer—who Shannon appropriately met at a biker bar—into the fold. 2013 saw Brian join after the drummer judged a local radio contest he won. With the lineup locked and a slew of shows under their collective belt, the boys cut a demo of “The Devil In Me.” It landed in the hands of Mascot Records who offered them a deal immediately during late 2015, and it also served as the perfect introduction to the group.
“It’s that dark blues man,” says Shannon. “It’s a good snapshot of everything we are.”
In February 2016, Apocalypse Blues Revue entered The Vibe Recording Studio and cut their self-titled debut in just nine days. Mixed by Dave Fortman, the music conjures up swampy soul colored by gusts of rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly over the course of 12 tracks. “The Blues Are Falling from the Sky” shuffles along on a powerful beat as the six-string wails in tandem with smoky vocals.
Elsewhere on the record, slow scorcher “The Tower” features a guest solo from one of Tony’s heroes modern blues icon: Eric Gales.
“I wrote that one the same day I came up with ‘The Blues Are Falling From The Sky,’” Shannon recalls. “I just remember I was staying on one of the top floors in this hotel. I stared out the window, and I could see everybody down below. It was literally a ‘Tower.’”