Rockers Stellar Revival have a deep connection to the game of
LOS ANGELES -- While the NHL desperately needs to get their act
together fast regarding how the game is judged and how punishment is
doled out for bad behavior, they've turned the corner in understanding
that the sport needs to become an event and have a greater appeal to a
mass audience, not just hockey fans.
Not a better example came than during Game 3 of the Canucks-Kings game
in Los Angeles Sunday evening. Among the celebs in the crowd were
David Beckham, Will Ferrell and the newest addition to the
constellation of stars who think the game is a fine way to spend an
off night while recovering from injury, the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe
We're always seeking a story that has a connection between
entertainment and hockey, so when the call came from EMI Records
suggesting a story about their newly signed band called Stellar
Revival, our interest was piqued especially when the pitch came that
the band members were huge hockey fans.
The group originated in South Florida as the foundering members
started gigging in their teens in a precursor band called Copasetic.
When the group imploded, lead singer Rino Cerbone and bassist Dan
Urcoli recruited three new members and Stellar Revival was born. While
developing their craft, their paths crossed Canadian producer Brian
Howes, who credits include work with Hinder, Daughtry and Nickelback.
In a classic storybook ending, the band flew to Vancouver to
collaborate with Howes and signed to management then quickly to EMI
Records after producing some hot tracks for their A&R team.
While it wouldn't surprise you to find out that the group rooting
interest backs the Vancouver Canucks, it's not for the British
Columbia connection they have.
When we lined up to chat with Rino, the band's cheerful, optimistic
head man, the fact that he's Roberto Luongo's brother-in-law made him
the perfect subject to chat in the midst of their tour in support of
"Love, Lust and Bad Company."
We see the band's moniker is a commentary on how pop music has strayed
away from the straight up rock and roll and towards the likes of Katy
Perry and Lady Gaga.
As Rino explains, the band work is a stellar revival of rock and roll.
"Bands like Foo Fighters and Nickelback are doing it but we need more
straight forward rock and roll, that's what we're trying to do," he
said. "Hopefully, we want the torch passed to us."
The band's outlook on life is embodied in the album's title track.
"It's has an 80s feel to it. It's about having a good time whether
it's a love affair, a lustful night or hanging out with some wild
people. It's about throwing caution to the wind."
And while there was a flurry of activity once the band formed the
current unit, it's not lost on Rino that he had been working the dive
bars for the better part of a decade in South Florida. The lack of a
breakthrough never deterred him.
"You only live once," he said. "If you don't try to do what you really
want to in life, you'll turn around in later in life and think about
things you could have done. That 'what if' mentality is a killer, it's
so detrimental because you only get one shot. We believed in our music
and ourselves and most importantly, in each other. We feel we have
something special here."
The addition of producer Howes has been a vital one.
"Great producers are ones that push you. Honestly, Brian pushed me to
the point of frustration while we recorded this album," he admitted.
"At the end of the process, I thanked him for making me the best I
could be in the moment."
Howes also provided a security blanket for the band in one aspect of
"You hear the stories about how once you sign to a big label how they
control everything, the suits even tell you what to eat," Rino
recants. "The great thing about Brian in this process is that he
respected and listened to our opinions on what the end product should
be. That what a producer should do, they hear you out and at the same
time, show you the way to be the best."
Musically, the band collaborated on all the music and Rino laid down
the words, his motivation for painting the picture comes after the
tracks are laid down.
"You get a drum beat, a guitar riff and boom, there's a song. I'll get
inspired and feel what direction the song is going in and I'll start
writing. It's pretty simple, not only because we're good musicians,
but we have really good chemistry."
Rino lists Brandon Boyd from Incubus, Chad Kroeger from Nickelback ("I
know they get a lot of heat, but I respect that they're great
businessmen") and New Found Glory.
The mention of chemistry opened the door about the necessity of a rock
band to have harmony (not the singing kind) to be successful.
Bands like Oasis, with the infamous spats between the Gallagher
brothers specifically comes to mind, but Rino thinks it's a huge
barrier to success.
"You may get success, but it won't be for long," he said. "You need to
have a foundation and that love for each other; it needs to be to a
Cerbone's roots have kept him grounded as the band's success climbs,
"I'm from a big Italian family and what you learn is to respect
everybody, you have to be firm in your beliefs and respect each other.
My band mates are my brothers; it makes things so much easier."
The chemistry needs helps the boys laugh off the tough times they've
met over the years as Rino recanted a story about the worst gig he's
"Back in our Copasetic days, we had a gig in St. Augustine, Florida, a
placed called Fusion. We thought it was a club called Fusion, but it
was a (bleeping) sushi restaurant," he explained, laughing through the
recollection. "We walk in and the joint is old, grimy, weird and scary
and there were eight people there. I was thinking we'd probably paid
in California rolls."
Rino's onstage personality mirrors how he goes about his life; he's
not one of those lead singers whose persona only comes out while
fronting the band.
As for his connection to hockey, "I was a Florida Panthers fan since
1993 and when Roberto joined the family, he was my brother. So when
that trade went down and he put on that Vancouver Canucks jersey, that
day I was a Canucks fan too."
Though they're on stage at the same time as their beloved Canucks hit
the ice most nights, the road is not unfriendly for them to catch the
"I thank my lucky stars that (touring mates Theory of a Deadman) are
Vancouverites and big Canucks fans too," he said. "The other night
when the show was over we hit the bus, got on the road and watched the
Though just at the genesis of his career, Rino seems like the type of
cat who will deal well with the fame and excess the ride to the top
"There's no reason for you to be an asshole because you're
successful," he said. "You have to stay humble, grounded and remember
where you came from. It's sounds cheesy, but it's true; we're
musicians and when we get really successful, we have to realize we're
living a dream that millions wish could come true for them. You can't
take for granted something that others would die to do."
EMI has placed Stellar Revival on tour with headliners Theory of a Deadman ahead of a schedule May 8 album release. The tour has them
exclusively in the lower 48 with stops in Buffalo and Chicago still on
the docket. To get to know the boys even better, you can visit their