HE wanted to take live music back to its grassroots.
Having launched the Revival Tour in 2008, Chuck Ragan, frontman of American post punk group Hot Water Music, has managed to shake up the live scene like no-one else.
The concept of the show is loosely based on old-fashioned folk musician get-togethers, with an ensemble collective of musicians jamming together.
This year’s tour again features Chuck with Emily Barker, Rocky Votolato, Jay Malinowski (Bedouin Soundclash) and Cory Branan.
The tour is already underway in Europe, coming to Leeds later this month, and Chuck managed to find time to speak to WoW as the merry band of musicians sailed by ferry from Sweden to Finland.
Speaking of the concept, he explained: “I wanted to bring something a little different to the table than what was happening around the scene I was involved in by simply bringing back and reviving the whole style of presenting a showcase.
“It’s a hell of a lot more interesting to us as players, it’s more interesting for the crowd and it offers a completely one of a kind, unique, performance for show goers that they’re not likely to see again.
“A big part of it is breaking down the barriers or severing the lines of who should be headliner, who should be opener and so on.
“We just present an event to the people, there’s no egos involved here, it’s completely based on camaraderie and mutual respect for one another.”
Emily Barker, added: “It’s the most special way of sharing music that I’ve known.
“I’m over the moon to be invited to perform as part of this tour, my friend and collaborator Frank Turner has done it three times now and cannot praise it enough.”
“I wasn’t going to be doing any touring this year at all but when I got the call from Chuck I jumped at the chance,” explains Jay Malinowski about why he needed to do the tour.
“I’m really proud to be a part of this. This will be the first time I will be playing new material from my new project Deadcoast, and I can’t think of better people to be sharing the stage with than Chuck and his band.”
Echoing Jay’s enthusiasm, Rocky Votolato, said: “I’ve wanted to jump on a leg of the Revival tour ever since Chuck started it in 2008, but our schedules just never quite lined up.
“I’m so excited to be a part of this European run and I’m really looking forward to collaborating with such a talented group of musicians every night.
“I’ve heard from many friends that have done the tour in the past what an amazing experience it is and that there’s really nothing like it – I can’t wait!”
The tour, which is coming to Leeds University on November 20, begins with all the musicians taking the stage together.
Artists then collaborate in between taking their own turns to perform.
As Chuck always says: “If you come late you may miss something you don’t want to miss!”
And showgoers at Leeds may also get a chance to see an ad-hoc performance from Huddersfield’s own Jimmy Islip.
Jimmy, great-grandson of Huddersfield Town legend Ernest Islip, who played in the FA Cup winning side of 1922, became friends with Chuck when they met in a Florida bar in 2001.
The two stayed in touch and the American has previously given Jimmy the chance to perform at the Nottingham leg of the Revival Tour last year.
He has also recorded a four-way split album with Chuck, Sam Russo and Helen Chambers.
While he is not listed as a performer on this year’s tour Chuck said he hoped he would see his Huddersfield mate at the gig.
He said: “I think he’s a great songwriter.
“When we met we hit it off and I’ve got a lot of respect for him.
“We’re keeping in touch, I don’t know when we’ll cross paths again but you’d better believe if he turns up for Leeds I’m dragging him up on that stage.”