In April 2017, this story was published: "The Revivalists’ David Shaw Gets Mauled by Tiger Onstage, Keeps Going." The post was an April Fools' Day joke. There was no tiger involved, but the blood gushing from the Revivalists lead singer was as genuine as his work ethic. "I was at Okeechobee Fest, and I went down into the crowd. As I ran back to the stage, I tripped on a piece of metal," Shaw tells New Times. "I kept singing, and I noticed people looking at me funny. Then I started tasting the blood. I had no idea I cut myself that bad."
The wound needed eight stitches, but Shaw continued the set. He had six songs to go regardless of whether he looked like a victim of a slasher film.
Shaw grew up in Hamilton, Ohio, with two unlikely musical influences. "I had one older sister who was always listening to the Grateful Dead. My other sister was always listening to Tool. The Dead taught me how music could be comforting; Tool taught me how it could be guttural." After Shaw won a radio talent contest for his voice, he decided to try to make a living from music. "I wanted to relocate. I looked at rents, and Los Angeles and New York were too expensive. New Orleans looked doable."
Only weeks after Shaw moved to New Orleans, the Revivalists got their start thanks to happenstance. "I was singing on my front porch on a new song I was working on. Zack [Feinberg] biked by, and we struck up a conversation. We decided to start playing open-mike nights, and one by one, we started building a band. The evolution of how every member joined was completely organic."
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It took nearly a decade for the Revivalists, now eight members strong, to become an overnight sensation. In 2017, the upbeat "Wish I Knew You" got so much radio airplay it topped Billboard's Adult Alternative chart. The success hasn't spoiled the band, Shaw says. "We've been touring nonstop for ten years. We had the philosophy that if we get a hit, then we get a hit. We have an amazing fan base. Playing 150 dates a year, we've for years heard them all singing loud to all our songs."
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The band has been working on a followup to that hit. A new record is in the can, but the otherwise open Shaw said he can't discuss specifics such as a release date or title. But he's willing to say they sifted through 60 songs to get to what's on the album. He also adds that fans will most likely hear a couple of songs from the new record when the band plays at the Fillmore Miami Beach April 13.
"The show is open," he says, describing what South Florida audiences can expect. "We jam and give you songs you haven't heard before along with songs you have heard. We go all out, but we don't take things too seriously. We crack some jokes." They also will keep the show going, no matter how badly they might be injured.