A punk rock band out of Los Angeles, True Rivals is comprised of Kevin Besignano, Derik Envy, Trevor Jackson and Nate Walker. The band’s burning love for making music, along with their debut album “The Revenant,” has primed them for a bright future.
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Chris Remmers: Starting from where you grew up, describe your hometown. How did that kind of influence what you are doing now?
Kevin Besignano: It’s kind of a two-part thing because my parents are divorced. My dad lives in Staten Island, New York and my mom stayed in central New Jersey, which is super suburban. Actually, down in Howell, right next to Freehold. Staten Island is a suburb of New York City, so it’s definitely a different place, but it’s pretty suburban as well.
Photo courtesy | Lee Cannon
CR: Trust me, I understand. I live in North Jersey in the Ramsey/Mahwah area and for me it’s the same thing. You’ve got the mountains, the trees, just a little suburban town. So, what inspired you to become a musician?
KB: It just kind of started by going to see all these bands and wanting to be in a band. In high school, that’s kind of what everybody did. We tried to be in as many bands as we could, and once high school ended I just couldn’t stop. I wanted to figure out what else I could do. So, I ended up going to music school in Boston and I never looked back. It’s what I wanted to do since I was a young kid. My Uncle Tom was the guy at the family parties that would pick up the guitar and everybody would sing for three hours. I wanted to play along and do that as well.
Photo courtesy | Roger
CR: That’s amazing man. It’s always nice to know what you want to do in life. I know plenty of people that are kind of lost and it gets them a little hectic. When you know where you belong, it’s a nice thing. Out of all the traveling you’ve done while playing music, what’s been the most memorable place?
KB: I would have to say that I have been lucky to go around the United States many times. I definitely have my favorite place in the United States. A place like New Orleans is just a fantastic place to be. I love it there. I also love the Pacific Northwest. Just anything from Northern California up to Seattle.
Photo courtesy | Joe Parks
CR: Is there anything specific?
KB: Just kind of the atmosphere of New Orleans and the food. Then, the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. You can’t compare it to anywhere else in the world that I have been. But, the US doesn’t have much on a place like Australia. There’s nothing like that. I absolutely adore Australia. That place has always been a good time. People are huge fans of music. The jaded, kind of music-cynical fans don’t exist in Australia. It seems like there is a lot more love for bands and live music in Australia than anywhere else I have been to in the world. I’ve been to Europe. I’ve been to Japan. But, outside of the country, Australia is definitely one of my favorite locations.
CR: Yeah, I could feel that. When you go to play a show, I’m sure it’s nice to see a rocking crowd versus maybe a bunch of people standing around with some beers.
KB: Sure, but that’s fun too.
CR: Yeah, different atmosphere.
KB: Yeah, absolutely.
CR: Very nice. You seem well traveled and cultured, but is there anywhere you haven’t played yet that you would want to?
KB: There’s a lot of places in Europe that I haven’t been to that I would love to go play in. It’ll just take one European tour for that. The only time I’ve been over there was for tours in the [United Kingdom]. So I have only been to Scotland, Wales, and England. I have not been somewhere like Eastern Europe or Russia, or even just like Pacific Islands type of thing — the Philippines or Thailand, places like that. I don’t get picky. I would just love to go to places I have never been before and see some new stuff. I enjoy that over going back to a place that I know.
CR: It’s always nice to get out and see different things, for sure. What do you think when you hear the word “vacation”? What pops into your mind?
KB: Doing absolutely nothing. To be completely free. I’m pretty good at taking a vacation at home. Plus the sun and the beach. I think coming from Jersey too, that’s what you think of. When you go on a vacation from over there, you go to the Caribbean or Florida.
Photo courtesy | Sören Schaper
CR: Locally, the Jersey Shore pops into my head as well.
KB: Sure, absolutely!
CR: Do you have any places on your bucket list for personal vacations, not necessarily music inclined?
KB: Saying I want to go to Africa is a pretty broad statement, because it’s huge and there are so many places to go and visit. It would be nice to plan a kind of multi-destination, Africa trip. I think that’s just a place that I would fall in love with. Just knowing what I already know about the whole continent and all the different culture centers around it. It would be so amazing to go to Egypt, to some of the islands, to go to South Africa. There’s so much to do there. That would definitely be a place I need to check out before I leave this world.
Photo courtesy | Damien du Toit
CR: Absolutely! When you are arriving in a new destination, what are some of the first things you like to do? Do you like to get out and see the sites? Find a nice food spot? What’s your preference?
KB: I’m fortunate that one of my band mates, Derik, is pretty adventurous as well. So most of the time we get somewhere, we just kind of say “peace” and take off on foot. I have a thing for, especially in the US, going to antique stores and pawnshops. It’s weird. Places that have weird stuff for sale that you can only get somewhere. I like to be an explorer everywhere we go as much as possible. So, as much time away from a music venue as possible is what I would definitely do.
CR: Of course. So lastly, when’s the next big trip and what’s it for?
KB: You know what? To be honest with you, I don’t think I have one right now. I’m about to get married. So that’s kind of where the focus is right now.
CR: Wow, you are the third person I have interviewed of late that’s about to get married. Congratulations!
KB: Oh really?
CR: Yeah, it’s crazy. It’s like wedding season.
KB: It’s that time. There’s not much of anything going on. We’ll actually be going to Manhattan to the Thanksgiving Day parade and spend Thanksgiving with family. That’s a trip coming from Los Angeles.
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Cover photo courtesy | Chris Loomis