As previously reported, The Apocalypse Blues Revue, the blues band featuring Godsmack’s Shannon Larkin and Tony Rombola, recently confirmed that they will be continuing on with a new singer under the name The Apocalypse Blues Revival. Now, Larkin has issued a new statement to explain what happened with the group after former frontman Ray “Rafer John” Cerbone announced their apparent breakup. He also revealed that his drum tech Shane Hall will be serving as their new vocalist.
“Hello family, friends, and fans of The Apocalypse!
It’s me, Shannon here. There’s been a lot of confusion over the fate of The Revue, and that’s partly my fault as I’ve been silent since Rafer’s announcement that the band was ending.
There’s no short way to explain this, but I’ll keep it as brief as possible.
By now, most of you know how the band started, but for those that don’t, Tony and I started jamming a blues riff. I heard him play guitar like I’d never even realized he could play (we had played together for 10 years by this point, but Godsmack is neither bluesy nor a band that features many lead guitar parts), and immediately I knew that the world needed to hear Tone play like this. And, I had a vision of the songs I wanted to write with him.
To save time and not bore you all (because there are indeed stories as to how and why Rafer and BassGod completed the line-up), we invited Ray Cerbone and Brian Carpenter into our vision. Now, a very important note here that is relevant to the present situation: when I started this with Tony, our dream was to be as traditional blues as possible, and have the band for our time off from Godsmack as a fun outlet to play blues bars. There was no intent to get signed or be successful…we just wanted to play locally, create cool songs, play a genre we can age gracefully in, and flex our blues muscles.
We played for over four years in bars across Florida as ‘Blue Cross’, getting together a couple times a week to write and demo songs, then go play em live.
All was well.
Then, Zito from (at the time) 99X called and said they needed an opener for the 99XFest for the main stage. But, to put us on he needed a track to play on the radio. By now, the hard rock style of Tony and I had bled into our idea of traditional blues in a natural way. So we picked our heaviest song (The Devil In Me), recorded it and gave it to Zito. Played the festival, all good.
On a whim, I sent the song over to my manager who took it to Provogue Records (a blues division of Mascot), and suddenly we were signed.
We put out the first record, toured as much as we could…which wasn’t much (Tony and I had our priority, Godsmack, which takes most of our time), but played some amazing shows with unbelievable heroes of ours (Robbie Krieger!! Kenny Wayne Shepherd!! plus some Blues Festivals, a live performance on Sirius XM, and yes, a couple club tours in a van too).
But, it didn’t sell that many copies. However, the people that got it (and all critics, every review) were super positive so we weren’t discouraged. On the other hand, to the record labels it is all about the business. Having signed for only one record with their option to do a second one, they needed to hear a new demo before signing us for a second release. We sent “What A Way To Go”, “Have You Heard The News”, and “Open Spaces”, which secured us the deal for the second record, “The Shape Of Blues to Come”.
Here is where it gets tricky: the record did a little better than the first one sales wise, but not enough for Provogue to continue with a third. And, my vision of traditional blues had changed drastically into trying to create a new sound that incorporated more of a classic rock feel, psychedelic even; garnishing the foundation of the band which was, is, and will always be BLUES, with a new element.
I think it’s evident from the first to the second record my path was changing. So with no record deal and no pressure from labels, Mgmt, etc… I wrote a bunch of new tunes with Tony and realized it was a different band, and I wanted a different approach and voice for the new material.
My time is limited with the juggernaut that is Godsmack rolling pretty constantly, so I didn’t fuck around. I talked to Bri and Tone and pitched the Revival idea, which they endorsed, called a meeting, and told Rafer. It fucking sucked. But he’s a pro, and a great man, so he didn’t punch me in the nose, and our friendship remains (I saw him this morning☀️).
As I told Rafer, the Revue isn’t done…I just need to get this new band fired up. And, when it’s right, we’ll get back together, write some traditional blues, play some shows for fun in FL…you know, like we did and enjoyed for years before we were sucked into the machine.
For those that question this change… I respond with it was my only choice to start a different band. I could’ve just fired Ray and remained The Revue with a new singer, but it would never be that band without Ray, and I want both worlds to co-exist. And, I got no rules. I love Ray’s voice and want to explore more writing with him, and it would be a shame to stop performing those records live…but that’ll be down the road a bit. So, I created some confusion. But I did it…so blame me. In the meantime if you’re jonesin’ for some Rafer, he has just released his first solo work, entitled How Much Time, under Ray Cerbone (available on iTunes). I have listened to this front to back several times now, and it’s an intimate portrait of a great singer/songwriter that has produced a gem of a set of songs that keeps you interested, even if Americana isn’t your style or favorite genre.
OK! The singer of my new band, The Apocalypse Blues Revival, is Shane “babyBlue” Hall. His previous band was also with Tony and I and it was a FUNK band! We did it for fun for many years, recording over 30 songs together (never released one song or did one show!). We called ourselves FunkyAntz; we only stopped because Shane lives in Cali, and our bassist Chris lives in MA, and we just couldn’t line up our schedules in life to continue as a band. Someday…? Oh, and Shane is also one of my best and most trusted friends, has been my drum tech for the most part of the last 20 years of my life, and has a wonderful, versatile voice; he loves and grew up on all the same music as me, and has a style and flair that is undeniable.
Tony and Brian also adore Shane as a singer, but just as important, as a human.
Thanks for your patience, and I hope it makes a little more sense now why I did what I did, as selfish as it may seem. I got music, I gotta get it out there, and it has to be perfect for me at the moment I’m inspired.
All I can promise you all, is to try to be unique and original with experimentation in this genre, THE BLUES, in hopes of turning on younger generations to it, which in turn will lead them back in time to the originators to discover for themselves the true American music, and the forefather of RocknRoll.
NEW SONG AND WEBSITE AND PICTURES WILL BE UP IN THE NEXT WEEK!!!
I will put up an exact day prior to release when I know (still getting it all together), but the song is recorded, the pics are taken, and Tony, Brian, Shane, and myself hope that you all love it as much as we do!!!
For those that made it this far in this mini-novel, thank you💙 The mission is still on…
Las Vegas, Nevada”