Press

Biography

[English!]

The Rev. is an enigma.
He was born and raised in the sunny south of France, started piano at the age of three, learned to play every other instruments all by himself, learned to sing in his shower, and never took a musical lesson ever since.
The man sings in English, just because it’s his musical and cinematic culture, but, believe me, when he’s in the mood, he may sings german cabaret like a hummingbird.
I met the holy Rev. via his blog where he throws his dancing, clever and awesome mixes (so if you get any doubt of his musical heritage…), and I bought his first album chock full of covers in 2006, released under the coat by a new-yorker, ‘South of Hell, France’, and I got hooked.
A raw and powerful voice, fantastic musical skills, and a lot of humour and darkness.
He’s not a star, he’ll never be, he’s a planet to me.
So I was thrilled when I heard of a new record with 13 original compositions called ‘Every Goddam Thing To hell’. And even scared when he asked ME to write a biography. (yeah, why me?)
So there you go, the only common thing I can say about him,: the man’s got the 4 seasons in his soul and his voice.
He’s from a classic horror movie, a weird comedy and a spaghetti western flick. He’s from the east and the west. You get the picture.
Talking about his musical heritage, you’ll hear blues, boogie, country, punk, rockabilly and dark classical melodies at the same time.
And for the story-because I know you’re all curious-, Thomas Birnbacher is his name, Frost is an old nickname, Reverend because he’s spreading the good word.

Simple as hell.

And having met him twice, I sure can tell he’s an enigma.
He’s not here to compromise, he’s doing, making, breathing music. And he does already has a cult following. Including me of course. And I bet your ass it’s just the beginning.

– Sean Wright –

[French!]

Spread the Good Word. Les musiques populaires n’ont pas besoin de cours, de profs, de travail de vocalises (bière et cigarettes suffisent) ; et encore moins du formatage de la télé-réalité musicale. Il faut en déconditionner les jeunes générations, et leur proposer l’exemple du Révérend, autodidacte et fier de l’être (faut dire qu’il est tombé dedans lorsqu’il était petit, il a commencé à marteler des pianos à 3 ans, ça aide).

Spread the Good Word. Le marché de la musique est en crise ? Travailler en studio, se payer les services de musiciens, faire de grosses campagnes marketing, tout cela coûte cher ? Mais qui a décrété que la musique populaire ne pouvait exister que dans une telle débauche de fric et de travail de studio ? Dans la lignée des bluesmen et du bon vieux « Do It Yourself » des punks, le multi-instrumentiste Reverend Frost, aidé de son fidèle Woody (le nom de son 8-pistes), sait qu’il n’est pas nécessaire de faire 40 prises d’un solo de guitare pour enregistrer un bon morceau de rock. Et que « lisse » et « rock » sont deux mots qui vont très mal ensemble, très mal ensemble.

Spread the Good Word.Blues, rock, punk, boogie… son cocktail détonnant a déjà séduit au-delà de nos frontières, c’est un new-yorkais qui a produit son premier album, South of Hell, France. Partageant depuis de nombreuses années sa passion des musiques rock, blues, rythm’n’blues, soul garage & cie des années 40, 50 et 60 sur son blog Spread the Good Word, le Reverend a su fédérer une communauté de fans étonnés et ravis de voir un français revisiter la musique avec autant de fougue et de talent. South of Hell, France (sorti en 2006), était essentiellement composé de reprises (Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Tom Waits, Janis Joplin…), à l’image des concerts qu’il donne depuis les années 90.

Spread the Good Word. Le Reverend vient rappeler à notre bon souvenir que la musique populaire, c’est des cris, du sang, de la sueur et des larmes, mais aussi des rires, un véritable appétit de vie et une volonté de transcender la souffrance plutôt que de la cacher sous le tapis ou la transformer en bluette mélancolico-mielleuse.

-G.T.-

Press Reviews

Radio Mutation

« Rockabilly. Gospel. Blues. Surf. Trash. These are the sounds most Rock & Roll bands are trying to accomplish when bringing us a new album. Sometimes they succeed. Sometimes they fail. They rarely manage to do justice to all of these styles. Then there’s Reverend Tom Frost who somehow manages to take a chainsaw to all these genres and create something unique and very much his own. Whoopin’ and hollerin’, preachin’ and testifyin’ and yelling his way (…) So prepare yourself for gut crunching guitars, skull smashing drums, Mariachi horns and eerie organ sounds evoking the atmosphere of a Zombie Biker Spaghetti Western mixed with the drunken ramblings of a psychotic preacher – in a good way! One minute you’ll be dancing around like a maniac, next minute you’ll be hiding under the covers. Proof that Rock & Roll is alive and kicking in Europe. Buy a copy of (his) albums but be careful… The Reverend is not here for your cash, he’s here for your SOUL! »
Ixnayray – host of the Way Past Cool Podcast

The Novel Sound

Let’s say you own a brothel: An antediluvian bordello on the hill behind a wrought iron fence, protected by stone gargoyles, and constantly haunted by thunder clouds and lighting. You serve top-shelf whiskey, hand-rolled cigars, and the ladies flirt wildly for the john’s attention, while you shoot pool and ask the piano player to crank out one more.

Rev Tom Frost isn’t that piano player. He’s the third shift one. The one who howls like a wounded animal reminiscent of a young Tom Waits. And that is never a negative comparison. Frost is a one man bar room jukebox taking advantage of the bordello’s beat old piano and killer acoustics. He plays gospel for the sinners, surf for the land-locked, and trash for the connoisseurs.

Big Rock Candy Mountain (Chicago,Usa)

The man’s a genius.

Tuwa’s Shanty & The Roots Canal (Gainesville,Usa)

It’s the aural equivalent of Leone’s Man with No Name, a rock star Man with No Name who plays chunky distorted electric guitar and sings like a cross between Tom Waits and Link Wray, backed with rollicking barhouse piano or funhouse organ.

Copy, Right? (Chicago,Usa)

Like a Frencher Tom Waits.
Raunchy and bluesy and magnifique.

A Sea Of Tears Yet To Be Cried… (Brisbane, Australia)

Reverend Tom Frost is a man out of time, in more ways than one. He sounds like the bastard son of Screaming Jay Hawkins, brought up by his estranged uncle Jerry Lee Lewis, but having spent his youth hanging out with those « bad » cousins Tom Waits and Lux Interior. This music sounds like it was recorded in the fifties, you can almost smell the dust and acetate.

Sleepy Talk (Washington,Usa)

What it really sounds like is something that would come from a dusty old 45, full of burly, southern rhythm and blues. He rocks like a young, belligerent and drunk Jerry Lee Lewis.

Locus St (Blog – Usa)

Apart from being a great guy and having excellent taste, he’s also a fine musician–France’s answer to Tom Waits and Lux Interior.

Music Lodge (France)

Le Révérend Frost est un grand malade. Parce que s’approprier le répertoire blues, rock, country, gospel quand on est un jeune français blanc, faut être limite suicidaire(…) Complètement à contre-courant, le Révérend reprend de sa voix éraillée, puissante et rageuse, de bons vieux blues.
Un grand malade, vous dis-je.

Not For Tourists (France)

Le Reverend Tom Frost est un personnage à part, tout à la fois sombre et caustique, capable de se réapproprier n’importe quel standard sans jamais tomber dans la redite. Jubilatoires à souhait, ses reprises prennent l’allure de créations originales. Ses compositions, quant à elles, sont dignes des grands classiques du blues ou du rock’n’roll.
Dans les deux cas, les morceaux nous font basculer dans un univers truffé de références et de clins d’oeil – lesquels, à coup sûr, n’échapperont pas aux initiés: il y a du Faulkner chez Reverend Tom Frost, mais aussi du Jarmusch, du blues à l’ancienne, du Western Spaghetti, du Lynch et du Gospel…parmi bien d’autres choses. Pour notre plus grand plaisir, Reverend Tom Frost déconstruit, construit, reconstruit, faisant preuve d’un vrai sens de l’inventivité.

Popup Monsters (Belgium)

Imaginez un hot rod genre rat fink fonçant à travers le bayou à minuit. La brume envahit tout, une grande silhouette au carrefour et bardaf vous plantez l’engin dans le juke joint d’à côté. Pas grave, un mec se lève avec son tord-boyaux et transforme la calandre en piano, vous beugle un blues du fond des tripes avec une voix à décorner les boeufs. Y’a bien un avorton bourré avec un mop sur la tête, qui vient emmerder son monde, mais le Révérend, c’est le Georges Abitbol du rock greasy, toujours classe, il lui fracasse pas sa gratte sur la gueule, non il nous fait fondre comme une sucrette dans un old-fashioned, il a du coffre, du talent et de l’énergie à revendre.

Bonus – ‘Spread The Good Word!’ Review

Reverend Dan, LA Weekly

Curated by one Reverend Frost, this blog explores the roots of rock with a religious ferver that would make Lux & Ivy proud, with stellar examples of primitive country, gospel and raw early rock & roll. This is where I finally heard the electric gospel of Sister Rosetta Tharp (outside of her who-the-hell-was-that moment in the movie Amelie).

Clinton McClung, WFMU’s Beware Of The Blog

The great Reverend Frost, who as far as I can tell really does live in South of Hell, France, runs one of my favorite music blog sites. His constant flow of obscure rockabilly, r&b, and what-have-you is not only incredibly informed – the songs he posts are almost uniformly great! Every day is like Halloween over at his blog, thanks to the always gogeous horror movie images that accompany each post, so it makes sense that the Halloween season is when he really starts to go hog wild. A few times a year, the Reverend pops out a « Bloody » mix, which features a high concentration of music, movie trailers, sound effects, and everything else pureed together and poured into an mp3.

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