By ROB DUGUAY
For the past few years around the 4th of July, other than in 2020 because of Covid, Dusk on 301 Harris Avenue in Providence has been the prime spot for musical fireworks. From the …
By ROB DUGUAY
For the past few years around the 4th of July, other than in 2020 because of Covid, Dusk on 301 Harris Avenue in Providence has been the prime spot for musical fireworks. From the early afternoon into the late evening, different bands and artists from around Rhode Island and the northeast bring a variety of styles and sounds. It’s known as RevivalFest, and it’ll be once again taking place at the same venue on July 3 starting at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for anyone over the age of 18 and those over 21 are able to indulge in a variety of libations. One of the acts taking place in this year’s edition is local hard rockers Gamma Rage who’ll be performing on the inside stage at 4:30 p.m.
I had a talk with vocalist Malyssa BellaRosa ahead of the extravaganza about how the band started out from some jam sessions, transitioning between musical approaches and a debut album the band has been working on.
Rob Duguay: When it comes to fulfilling an artistic need, what makes Gamma Rage different for you versus your other band Sugar Cones or your solo material?
Malyssa BellaRosa: The music is really inspiring to me. I’m not writing the music so I’m just approaching it vocally and it evolved from jamming, which happened a little before and during the pandemic. I would just go down there and make up stuff to whatever they were playing, it was completely different people and it was very multi-genre. Then it morphed into this heavier groove rock kind of vibe, it clicked with me and I just really enjoy creating over the riff Chris Devona creates along with the rhythms that are coming out from Dwayne Voelker on bass and Mike DelleFemine on drums. It’s pretty amazing.
RD: Who from the band had the idea to start Gamma Rage as a legit act rather than have it be a jamming project?
MB: This was early on and we were doing this jamming, Chris had written a lot of the riffs that we were working on. He booked studio time at Mad Oak Studios in the Boston neighborhood of Allston so we were sitting there recording these songs and we decided that this should be a band. We were deciding on a band name, I sat with my computer and I made an Instagram post with a bunch of names to see which one people would like. At that point, the drummer at the time was moving so we got the late Nick Iddon to fill in until we found another drummer because Nick was in a lot of projects but he had a little time because it was the pandemic. He was really instrumental in a lot of writing of the songs that’ll be coming out on the new album and he’s actually playing drums on it.
RD: Wow, that’s great.
MB: Yeah, it is. There’s at least three songs that I know of and it was an intense emotional feeling to be singing over his drumming when we created this together. Especially the song “Gloom” that we have, it all came together in the moment with Chris’ riff, the way Nick was playing drums, Dwayne’s bass playing and what I was doing vocally. That’s how a lot of it comes together and that’s what I love about it.
RD: One major thing I’ve always enjoyed about you as a musician is how fluid and seamless you transition between different approaches where you can do the singer-songwriter thing with an acoustic guitar one night and another night you’re a rock & roll badass leading a full band. How do you go about switching from stripped down acoustic music to amplified rock and vice versa? Do you have any preference between playing acoustic and electric?
MB: A lot of the time I’ll write songs on the acoustic just because it’s easy. I have one just kicking around and I can literally be laying in bed, start playing it and if it sounds like a song is developing I’ll record it on my phone. I did a lot of singer-songwriter stuff around eight years ago. I was doing strictly that at the end of my previous band Fall and Bounce so it’s really the people in the room. When I’m playing acoustic I’m by myself, there’s no other energy in the room and when I’m with other people I have their energy too even if I wrote the song.
It’s different depending on who’s playing it, I’ve had different drummers and the song is completely different. The energy of the people in the room really does affect me greatly in how I approach the guitar and how I approach vocals so I’d say that I really enjoy that element. When I’m alone and I play electric with a mic setup, there is a different songwriting approach as well but I can actually do the same thing on an acoustic and it would probably translate the same way to the listener. It’s all about the mood and the vibe.
RD: That sounds like a very natural way.
RD: For anyone who hasn’t gone to RevivalFest and is looking to do something this Sunday, what in your opinion is its biggest selling point?
MB: The excellent bands that are playing of course! This year is going to be like previous years where I think last year was just outside because of the pandemic but this one they’ll be doing both stages inside and outside.
RD: Oh hell yeah.
MB: It’s a really nice, diverse lineup. From the minute the show starts to the end of the show, you have bands that have played RevivalFest before like The Hammer Party and Gnarnia. I don’t know if Midnight Creeps have played it before but that’s going to be amazing. We’re going to be playing a little early on and we’ll be inside. Corinne Southern & the Constellations will be kicking the show off and it’s their first time playing RevivalFest so that’s what’s really great about it. You have some people who have played it before, you have new people, it’s different genres and Dusk is just a badass place to play.
Rick Sunderland the owner there does it right, he treats his staff great, his staff works really hard, the bands are all there to crush it and it’s a great way to come together to celebrate Independence Day. I would say it’s one of my favorite festivals for sure.
RD: Same here, I couldn’t agree more. You mentioned how Gamma Rage has a new album they’re working on so when can we expect it? Will it be coming out later this year or the beginning of next year?
MB: Chris, who I consider to be our band leader, is actually the person handling the record. He’s sending some of it out to be mixed and he’s mixing some of it himself. I think it should be out by the end of the year, we already have the artwork done. I can’t wait for this album to drop, the music is amazing and the artwork is pretty sick. We’ll probably do a couple teaser tracks ahead of it but I think we’ll see its release in 2022.
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