If you don’t recognize the name David Shaw immediately, you’ll most likely know the name of his longtime band, The Revivalists. Having released the singles “Heavy Soul” and “Shivers” previously this year as a solo artist (plus a couple singles late last year), Shaw has just released the single “Got Me Feeling Good” in advance of his new album (Yokoko Records/C3 Records) being released this May. DittyTV Senior Editor Tim W. Jackson caught up with Shaw for this special 5 Questions segment, plus we offer an exclusive video of Shaw performing his song “Got Me Feeling Good,” which was shot using a good ol’ Super 8 camera.
1) Let’s talk about the obvious first. You’re known as the frontman for The Revivalists but you’ve been releasing some singles since late last year and have a solo album coming out in May. So what is it like to juggle being in a band and a solo artist—and has the pandemic made that easier or more difficult?
First off, thank you for asking this question! It’s a good one. When I first began thinking about starting a solo career it was all about setting my focus on self care and bringing some much needed balance into my life. It hasn’t been easy but it was definitely what was needed. As I go further into this project, I’m learning more and more about myself and what I’m capable of because, as far as decision-making goes and creating the art and music, it’s mostly on me. I do still have a lot of amazing people helping me out, so that has been really great. My team at C3 and the guys in the solo band are such a pleasure to work with! I now see that this is something I’ve really needed for a while because it’s bringing a renewed sense of energy for me when I do go back in and work with The Revivalists. Rehearsals and writing sessions with them have been a blast.
2) Before I move away from The Revivalists, living about 5 miles from FAME Recording Studio, I have to ask about your experience there. I love the EP and the accompanying documentary that you guys recorded at FAME. What can you tell us about that experience?
FAME is one of my favorite studios to record in and not for the reasons that one might think. As you may know, it’s not in some big city, and it’s not this huge studio building like the Capitol Records building in L.A. or something similar. It’s in a strip mall next to a CVS, and I think there’s a Taco Bell and an Arby’s across the street. (Editor’s note: FAME, while housed in a free-standing building, is next to a CVS, and a Taco Bell and Arby’s are just down the street on the highly commercial Woodward Ave. in Muscle Shoals.) In a strange but profound way that’s comforting to me, I think because you realize that this place has stood the test of time much like the music that was and will be made there. When you first get there it’s a bit disarming to think that this is the place where so much of the music I grew up listening to was made. It’s a national treasure, and I’m very grateful for the experience.
3) Your most recent single is “Got Me Feeling Good,” and we’re so happy to have you performing that song for us. What can you tell us about how that song came together?
This is one of my favorites on the album for a lot of reasons but mainly because I had so much fun recording it in the studio with the band and my favorite back-up singers, Josh and Jelly. From the beginning to the end, the party doesn’t stop on this one and that was exactly what I wanted to accomplish. “Got Me Feeling Good” is a great representation of the line that I wanted to ride with making this album. I needed the lyrics to be deep but also have a pedestrian quality to them that speaks to who I am, where I came from, and where I’m going. I’m really happy how it turned out. It’s the perfect escape for me and hopefully it can be that for you, too.
4) We’re so excited to hear about your new solo album coming out this spring. We gotta know more! What kind of taste can you give us about that album, where it was recorded, and the collaborators involved?
I was very fortunate to work with an amazing group of musicians and songwriters on this album. At my core, I’m at my best when I’m collaborating with people that have different strengths than I and that was the thinking that went into choosing the right people for this album. Luckily I didn’t have to think too hard!
I had been writing with my friend Chris Gelbuda for a while and so he just felt like a natural fit, not to mention he’s a truly gifted songwriter, producer, and musician. The guy can write and sing his ever-loving ass off! He’s also one of the funniest and quick-witted people I’ve ever met so that energy was perfect for the studio. Never a dull moment and lots of laughs. Next up on the list of amazing people who worked on this album is my good friend and soul brother PJ Howard. PJ is a special guy and his groove is insane! I consider myself very lucky to be able to play with him and feel his heart beat through the drums. Many of you might know Neal Francis from his record Changes. Neal and I go way back. His musical knowledge is so refreshing and he really brought this project to another level with his contributions. Next up is Mike Starr. Mike is not only one of the nastiest bass players I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with but he’s also the sweetest human alive. Much like PJ, his groove is deeply soulful and profound. Last but certainly not least is Jack Splash. He’s worked with everyone from CeeLo Green to Kendrick Lamar. He’s the producer who I produced the album with. He has an energy all his own and he really was a great fit for the project. He brought these songs to life in a truly creative way, and I learned a ton in the process. Grateful for Jack.
5) Finally, you’ve been involved with—and sung about—a number of causes. What motivates you to place an array of social issues so high on your priority list?
Music and art have always been used as a catalyst for change. It’s one of our duties as artists to shine a spotlight on the things in society that might be wrong or unjust. We’ve seen this time and time again throughout history. I have a passion for humanity, so it only makes sense for me to do my part in this area.
Thanks so much for your time, David, and now we’re thrilled to offer this exclusive performance of “Got Me Feeling Good” to the DittyTV audience!