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Humanity Hallows caught up with Luke ‘The Rev’ Harris, drummer from the world’s first and only Avenged Sevenfold tribute band based in Manchester.
By Jacqueline Grima
Tell us about the band. How do you all know each other and who does what?
I’m Luke ‘The Rev’ Harris and play the drums; we have Liam Phillips who is our very own M Shadows; Adam Luckman portraying Synyster Gates; Alex Hesketh as Zaky Vengeance and Danny Robinson as the one and only Johnny Christ!
Me and Danny met in school and have been friends a long time and started jamming together, being in a band for around four years before I took my leave. We both met Adam through a website advertising for bands and band members and had a jam together. I then ended up joining two bands with Adam, one of which lasted around four years before recently disbanding and calling it a day. I met Liam and Alex through a cousin who knew they were scouting for a drummer for their original band. We were put in contact and started jamming together and took it no further. Adam knew I personally always wanted to be in an Avenged Sevenfold tribute band and we started talking about forming one. I invited Liam and Alex then Danny as well and introduced them to one another and we all decided that this was going to be an awesome project!
Tell us about Avenged Sevenfold. Are you long time fans? Why did you choose to pay tribute to them?
We love Avenged and are honoured to call ourselves the world’s first tribute to them! Danny actually introduced me to them while we were in college and I fell in love with their musical style. Incredible vocals by M Shadows, insane riffs and solos by Synyster Gates and Zaky Vengeance; add to that the mind-blowing song-writing and drumming of sadly departed Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan and the general bad-assery of Johnny Christ, to create a cocktail of awesome! I was so into what they were doing, I dedicated an entire tattoo sleeve to the band, involving the iconic Deathbat, their instruments and the musical scripture from some of my favourite songs by them. Every time we practice, we’re all in agreement that this is going to be an incredible learning experience and test us all!
What can fans expect from your upcoming gigs?
We have our debut gig on 2nd December, 2016 at the Club Academy in Manchester, and we plan to bring you all some of the most kick ass tracks Avenged has to offer, coupled with high energy performances and a damn good night!
Can a night watching a tribute band ever compare to the real thing?
I myself went to watch Slipknot playing at the Manchester Arena in 2015. I was blown away by their show and loved it, but I couldn’t help but notice the lack of power behind Corey’s vocals on the night. He is one of the best vocalists out there and has been doing his thing for many years, proving he is one of the best, but I feel it has taken its toll on his voice and performance. Shortly after, myself and Adam played a gig at the Ruby Lounge in Manchester supporting the Slipknot tribute act Slipknowt (who are headlining the show on December 2nd!) The show they put on was as near to the real thing as you could get. The vocalist was equally as good, if not BETTER than Corey when I saw them at the Arena, which surprised me no end! So, in answer to your question: yes! I 100% believe that tribute bands can be as good as the real thing… IF done well!
Avenged Sevenfold are coming to the UK in 2017. How do you think frontman M Shadows would react to your tribute if he could see you guys live?
We would HOPE that he would absolutely love it and maybe even join us on stage, but they always say to “Never meet your heroes!” I have watched countless interviews and documentaries with the guys from Avenged and they all seem very humble and down to earth kind of guys, but you never know! It would be an utter dream for them to see us play THEIR music on a stage in honour of them (Seriously, if you can make this happen, I beg you to do so…). Imitation is the highest form of flattery, after all!
The tribute band scene has become huge in recent years with Fake Festivals and Tribfest drawing massive crowds. What do you see as the future for tribute bands?
I think tribute bands and acts generate a lot of attention for the real bands. They bring the chance for those who cannot attend, or get hold of tickets due to being sold out, or simply cannot afford to go and watch the real thing, to enjoy themselves and imagine they are watching the real thing and have a good time! I see tribute bands being a success and genuinely believe they fill that gap that the real bands don’t have time to fill!
What would be your dream gig?
Personally, my dream gig would be to play alongside the real Avenged Sevenfold. I have actually dreamt about doing so on numerous occasions (sad, I know). To watch, my ideal lineup would be enormous! Avenged Sevenfold, Alterbridge, Volbeat, Trivium, Slipknot and Korn…. What a gig that would be!!
Do you follow a tribute band that are as good as the real thing? Send a review to HumanityHallows.firstname.lastname@example.org