As true eco-friendly Ithacans, Revision, a funk rock band made up of Ithaca College alums, travels in style. With over 100,000 miles and counting, the band has toured the country in a diesel van strictly running on vegetable oil.
Saturday Revision will return to their home venue to play at Castaways. The college alumni look back at their past performances and experiences as Ithaca continues to serve as their home base.
Beginning as a small band at the college, Nick Bullock ’02, Jon Petronzio ’04 and Devon Reehl ’03 formed Revision. They started out by playing at house parties and small gigs in Collegetown and eventually played bigger shows at Castaways for their friends. After realizing that the Revision might have potential to continue, the band decided to remain in Ithaca.
“We all liked Ithaca and waited for each other to graduate,” Reehl said, drummer and vocalist for Revision. “The cost of living was low, the community was supportive and there was a good music scene.”
Bullock, guitarist and vocalist for Revision, said the band has enjoyed finding acceptance in Ithaca with their new music.
“It’s a great community to belong to,” he said. “As you get out of college it’s important to find a place you can call home and you can feel good living in.”
Not only did Ithaca provide the band with a viable art scene, but it served as a central location for touring major markets on the east coast. Petronzio also said living in Ithaca gave the group an opportunity to connect with and learn about the local community.
“There’s a great difference between being a college student versus finally getting immersed in the community,” Petronzio said, keyboardist and vocalist. “There’s a lot to see and do, and lot of people to get to know. If you’re really committed to making good work that’s unique, then people really get behind it.”
The band’s musical influences range from Wilco and The Beatles to Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis and Radiohead, but they cite the lessons they have learned at the college to be the foundation for their music and business.
Bullock, a former jazz studies major, said the things he learned in music theory, history and orchestration helped the band develop their current sound. While entering the college as a musician seemed daunting at first, he said he feels fortunate to have studied music.
“I remember walking through the practice halls as a freshman and being so overwhelmed,” Bullock said. “In one practice room I heard Mozart on the piano, and in another someone practicing scales on the saxophone. I remember that feeling of being totally overwhelmed, but, ‘I can do this,’ and then figuring out how.”
As a organizational communication, learning and design major, Reehl said he has been able to use Web, business, and marketing skills he gained in the Park school to help with self-managing Revision.
“It worked out very unexpectedly,” Reehl said. “I expected to use those skills in a corporate setting, but I get to them for our business.”
Revision has been especially busy during the past two years. In 2008, the band released “Amplification,” 11 tracks of catchy, upbeat rock. One year later, Revision recorded “Jekyll and Hyde,” which Reehl said features eight tracks of raw, instrumental funk and eight tracks of stripped down, reflective rock.
“We’ve always had two different sides to the band,” he said. “There’s been a real funk, rhythm, instrumental sound, but on the other hand we also like Elliot Smith and The Beatles, so we decided to treat them as two separate sessions.”
All of Revision’s tracks are sold on their Web site and include album artwork and a live video performance. Their music has been featured on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight and Dark Blue, a show on TNT. Recently, the band has begun work on a third album with Alan Evans, the drummer from Soulive.
While Reehl currently lives in New York City and Bullock and Petronzio remain in Ithaca, the three band members continue to tour, record new material and have side projects of their own.
As the upcoming show approaches, Petronzio said the band hopes to transfer the same energy from their recorded material to the live setting back at home base.
“We just want people to really enjoy it,” he said. “Hopefully they’ll get something out of it and can relate to it.”