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No need to fear the Reverend Boogieman – they’re here to rock you. The Wabash-based cover band that won this year’s Replicon Rivals contest at Piere’s plays blocks of classic heavy metal designed to win over even the most jaded of headbanger. As lead singer and bassist Dave Enyeart describes their show, “It’s like going to see the greatest metal groups of all time put together in one show. What we do is we’ll play a block of Judas Priest and then, say, another block of Iron Maiden. We try to go from one band to another, and we try to get as close to the original as possible.”
The band’s history is a little convoluted, but it goes something like this. The current lineup is constituted by Enyeart, a pair of brother guitarists – Bryan and Duane Coburn who play lead and rhythm, respectively – and drummer Rich Simpson.
In 2005, Enyeart joined a cover band as a lead guitarist with Simpson and Bryan Coburn. The new band was in need of a name, so Enyeart resurrected Reverend Boogieman from a band he had previously played in. As Enyeart explains, “When I joined up with them, they already had a group going and they picked out a band name and they thought it was a cool name. With that name being out there for as many years as it’s been, I’d say there’s more people that have heard of us than have heard us. We’ve had our name on the radio all over the state for years.”
Their bass player eventually had to leave the band due to other commitments, so Enyeart shifted to bass temporarily in order to fill the bill on some gigs. He eventually decided to stick with bass, and Bryan’s brother, Duane, joined the group to play lead guitar.
The original Reverend Boogieman formed during the mid-90s. In 1995 that band, which had been practicing as a nameless entity, had set up its first gig. With the date pending and the band still unsure of what to christen themselves, Enyeart hit upon a stroke of luck – or perhaps a vision.
“The week before the gig we didn’t have a band name, and I was [thinking] ‘What are we gonna call this thing,’ you know?” he says. “And I had a dream one night that I was playing in a metal band called Reverend Boogieman. And I woke up and said ‘That’s it.’”
The good Reverend Boogieman has had its share of success beyond winning the Replicon show, and the band hopes to build on that foundation in the near future with a studio recording of original material.
“Around here we’ve done pretty much everything you can do with a tribute act,” says Enyeart. “We’ve played with about every national band that fits within our category, things like that. What we’re really shooting for is, when we’ve got a couple more commitments here in the fall, after that we’re going to take a break and try to do a studio recording. You know, a rock album together. We’re trying to get out everything we’ve been wanting to do for the last 15 years.”
The band has started culling together scraps of original material that have been generated over the years, along with enough gear to get the ball rolling with recording. Time, however, is one of the main sticking points. As each band member has day jobs and often conflicting schedules, they have had difficulty nailing down enough free time outside of practicing and playing gigs to go to work in the studio.
“We’re gonna do all the tracking and stuff on our own,” says Enyeart. “Over the years we’ve accumulated a lot of gear. The main trick has been finding time to do it. We’ve got some songs that we want to put out, but every time we say, ‘Okay, we’re gonna get in the studio and work and we’re gonna get this together,’ somebody calls and says ‘Hey, why don’t you play here next weekend,’ or ‘Hey, come play two weeks from now.’ So then we have to rehearse and get ready for that, even though recording in the long run will do us way better. Even if we’re the biggest and best metal cover band in Indiana, that still doesn’t hold a candle to having your songs played on the radio or even on YouTube.”
Until that happens, however, the band stay busy. While they do frequently play shows to general audiences, ABATE (American Bikers Toward Education) has embraced the band and often fills up its schedule with show dates. Additionally, the band has enough of their own high points to make the whole endeavor worthwhile. Guitarist Bryan Coburn was ecstatic to be able to open up for one of his heroes, George Lynch, when his band Lynch Mob played the C2G Music Hall.
For Enyeart, opening up for the band Jackyl at a hometown show at Brandt’s Harley Davidson in Wabash has been one highlight. A diehard fan of Ronnie James Dio, Enyeart points to covering Dio’s songs, “Holy Diver” in particular, as his personal favorite moment on stage.
“As a teenager, I chased Dio around every show that he played this side of the Mississippi, pretty much – and got to meet him several times. And they even told him that we were playing some of his songs, and he said, ‘Hey, that’s awesome!’ He was flattered by it,” he says.
“I figured he’d say, ‘No, dude, you can’t be playing my stuff.’ But he was really cool about it, and when we went to play Piere’s we got up there and it came time for us to do ‘Holy Diver’ that night, I remembered when I was 21 years old, coming in here and seeing him in that place singing that song, it kinda hit me – if this is as far as I go in music, then it’s pretty damn far for me.”