Believe it or not, not all rockstars live off of alcohol and takeout. The members of LVVRS are living proof of this fact; these men like a good home-cooked meal, while also throwing in some fun cheat foods along the way. It’s a fun pastime to keep them busy while not on the road, out promoting their signature rock n’ roll sound. Their affection for good grub is at least partially attributable to their upbringing in Acadiana, the southern and largely Francophone region of Louisiana, home many a Cajun and Creole people. It’s here where the four members also had the opportunity to expose themselves to a lot of great art and fully focus themselves on developing as a band.
Displaying power and conviction, LVVRS are not afraid to embrace the fundamentals of pop in writing and recording their own music. They’re a group that exudes confidence which you don’t have to look far beyond their music to find. Take the new single, “Iconic,” for example. It’s fundamentally a song that emphasizes the band’s own self-confidence, with its big-sounding chorus and arena rock glory. Self-confidence should not be confused though with arrogance, though, with these musicians staying humble through their approach to hard work and extreme commitment to improvement.
With their love of food and good eating in mind, there was no better band to speak to recently for our latest edition of Art of The Meal. Read on as singer and guitarist River Gibson and drummer Brenon Wilson describe their diets, favourite hometown restaurants, and what would be on top of their ideal pizza. We warn you though; it’s likely you’re going to start feeling hungry really, really soon.
Do you follow a particular diet?
River Gibson: “Not really. I try to stick to fresh, whole foods as much as possible and I exercise a bit. Brenon claims that I intermittent fast because I don’t eat breakfast. If that’s the case, then I started intermittent fasting waaaay before it was cool. All it really is, though, is that I don’t get a craving or desire to eat anything until lunchtime. And lunch is my favourite meal, so that’s usually the high point of my day.”
Brenon Wilson: “My diet consists of fresh vegetables and meat. Sometimes it’s hard to turn down a reasonable portion of pasta! I do my best to stay away from too much bread and flour. I’ll do the carnivore diet to drop a few pounds. When I’m doing that, I only consume meat, eggs, and animal-based fats for a few weeks at a time. It’s easy to follow and you start to become creative with cooking processes.”
How does the food you eat on the road compare to what you eat when in the studio or not working?
Gibson: “I am an avid non-fast food person. (Besides Chick-fil-A, of course!) I got everybody hooked on Zoe’s Kitchen for lunch, so when we’re at home or in the studio, we’ll go there often. At home, I also eat Newk’s and Five Guys a lot, and a few local homegrown spots. I love fresh smoothies, and there are some great local places for that. I cook a lot of meals at dinnertime with my girlfriend, using only fresh ingredients. On the road, I try to stick to the same standards as much as possible. It’s kind of a thing for the band to seek out non-touristy food spots or farmers market-style local cuisine in new places.”
Wilson: “When we are traveling, I usually find a way to stick to my diet. I think the only time I deviate is when there is a unique local cuisine that I haven’t had before. We love trying new food!”
Do you prepare a lot of your own food?
Gibson: “Oh my god, yes. I cook all the time. Weird stuff, too. Love trying new things. Some staples in my kitchen that we have mastered and really enjoy are things like an original veggie fried rice, pesto cheese-stuffed zucchini involtini, tomato-Parmesan tortellini, and chocolate-coconut banana bread.”
Wilson: “Yes! I cook several nights a week. On Sundays, I meal-prep my lunches for the week. This way, I don’t have to think about what I’m having for lunch day-to-day, plus it saves me a ton of money while keeping me on track with my health.”
Are any of your bandmates cooks? Or foodies?
Gibson: “Brenon and I have intense discussions about food quite often. He and I both appreciate the art and fun of cooking and the importance of consuming real, whole foods from a health and nutritional standpoint. We’re always sharing recipes with each other and sometimes we’ll even both tend the barbecue pit together if he lets me.”
Wilson: “River is my food buddy! He enjoys cooking and fresh foods like me. I call him the ‘Cookie Monster’ because I’ve never seen him turn down a cookie… or three! (laughs) He can definitely throw down in the kitchen!”
What are some of your favorite restaurants in your hometown?
Gibson: “Zoe’s Kitchen is my favourite to be honest. Some other chains I dig are Five Guys, Newk’s, and P.F. Chang’s. Locally, in Lafayette, LA, I love love love Bread & Circus Provisions (Neapolitan pizzas), Scratch Kitchen (farm-to-table), Marley B’s Juice Bar (smoothies), Saigon Noodle (pho and noodle bowls) and Pizza Artista (fresh, customizable pizzas). I also hit up CC’s Coffee Houses a lot. And I have to mention Poche’s in Breaux Bridge (‘plate lunches’) and The Best Stop in Scott (boudin).”
Wilson: “Some of my favourite restaurants include Salad Station, Tsubaki (Japanese grill and sushi), Bonefish Grill, and Tropical Smoothie. Recently, River got me addicted to Zoe’s Kitchen. The list goes on forever!”
Do you have a favourite “food city” when on tour?
Gibson: “Well, right now, I’ll say that my favorite is Austin, Texas. We’ve been there several times in the last year or so, and some visits were extended trips. I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad meal there. I love the variety of restaurants (BBQ and farm-to-table). And so many establishments perfectly portray a simultaneously modern and homey aesthetic with both with their interior and exterior atmospheres. I love it.”
Wilson: “Currently, my favourite food city would have to be New Orleans. There are just so many options, and I can try something new every time we visit.”
If a fan were generous and to give you a food or drink-related gift, what should they get you?
Gibson: “A gift card to Zoe’s Kitchen, please! Or a Great American Cookie cake… Either works.”
Wilson: “They should give me some coffee beans that are special or unique to them. I am on a quest to find my favorite coffee bean, and I cannot decide until I have tried them all!”
When was the last time you barbecued?
Gibson: “It’s been a minute since I personally barbecued. Probably since the Fourth of July last year. I cooked some burgers and chicken on the pit at a campground with my dad. Fresh BBQ is always so good, man. But we’ll barbecue at Brenon’s from time-to-time during a band practice or something.”
Wilson: “The last time I barbecued was this past week. And I don’t use your average everyday grill. I use a Traeger Grill! This has become my favourite thing to use for cooking!”
What is your go-to meal when headed to a barbecue?
Gibson: “I mean, I’m pretty basic. I like burgers and chicken legs. Also love fish cooked on a cedar plank. And vegetable kabobs come out really great on there! Brenon LOVES to barbecue wings. And then he literally drowns them in BBQ sauce.”
Wilson: “My go-to meal when heading to a barbecue consists of burgers, pulled pork, homemade BBQ sauce, and any veggies available. My favorite veggies are usually found on kabobs: onion, bell pepper, zucchini, and even broccoli. But, if green beans are available, its like the others don’t even exist!”
Did you have to overcome being a picky eater and, if so, when/how was it?
Gibson: “When I was pretty young, I’d eat rice and butter. Instead of real food, or whatever my parents were preparing for dinner. Rice and butter. That was my thing. And all through high school and some of college, I ate like trash. I’d eat McDonald’s all the time, sometimes multiple meals in a day. It was just fast food all the time for me. The change I made is pretty crazy, though, considering I’m only 25 now. I have a completely different outlook and perspective on food and what I want to put into my body than I did just a few years ago.”
Wilson: “Yes! Growing up, I was very picky! I would turn away wonderful home-cooked meals for a simple peanut butter sandwich. All I wanted was chicken nuggets and junk food. Later on, about age 11 or 12, I started to pay more attention to my health because I knew I was a little overweight. Once I began to understand which foods were good for me, it’s like someone flipped a light-switch on in my head. I began to try new things and liked almost any food! That change really came out of nowhere! Now, I probably have the most diverse palate in my family.”
What is the “strangest” food you’ve ever tried and how are you with “less standard” foods?
Gibson: “The most off-the-wall food I’ve tried so far is Rocky Mountain oysters. Just Google that real quick. In South Louisiana, folks tend to eat a lot of things outsiders might consider abnormal. For example, we eat a lot of boudin. A link of boudin looks like a sausage, but it’s not. It’s pork meat ground up with rice, onions, peppers and seasonings and then stuffed into an edible casing. We also eat boiled crawfish, seafood gumbo and fried frog legs. So, yeah, it’s kind of fun to live and eat down here.”
Which toppings go on your ideal pizza?
Gibson: “Austin Dore in the band always says it looks like I’m eating grass on my pizza. I like a whole wheat dough with spicy red sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan, roasted garlic, spinach, pepperoni, black olives, red and green bell peppers, sauteed onions, fresh jalapenos, corn, mushrooms, basil, parsley, oregano, pesto, pink salt and olive oil. I’ll take that to-go, please.”
Wilson: “My ideal pizza consists of pepperoni, mushrooms, garlic, pineapple, and a variety of good cheese like fresh mozzarella, Parmesan, and goat.”
When did you first get interested in cooking?
Gibson: “I got into baking several years ago. I loved to bake cakes and cookies. But I got into cooking more seriously just a couple of years ago with my current girlfriend. It started simply as an activity for us to do together to pass time. But it quickly turned into something more. There’s a certain kind of joy I get in assembling all these different ingredients together and learning how varying combinations of them can yield such satisfying results.”
Wilson: “I enjoyed cooking at a young age. When I was little, my grandmother taught me how to make her homemade waffles. Because of that, my family has asked me to make those waffles every Sunday for years now.”
Do you have a favourite chef?
Gibson: “I don’t have a favorite chef per say, but I use a lot of recipes from Teighan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest. I love her take simplistic take on the ingredients she uses for everything. Very plant-based.”
Wilson: “My favourite chef would have to be Chef Gordon Ramsay. He displays a level of passion that is undeniable, and his recipes are extraordinary.”
What sort of cooking set-up do you have at home?
Gibson: “I’m really basic. I use a stove top and skillet and I also make a lot of my dishes in the oven.”
Wilson: “I have a simple setup kitchen with a stove, oven, and sink. I also use a portable griddle and a Traeger Grill for outdoor cooking.”
Have you ever owned a George Foreman Grill?
Gibson: “My dad has a George Foreman that I’ve used. It’s pretty swell.”
What is your favourite fast food chain restaurant?
Gibson: “Chick-fil-A! I’ll also take Raising Cane’s once in a while.”
Wilson: “Chick-fil-A… enough said.” (laughs)
How do you usually get your groceries? In-store? Online delivery?
Gibson: “I like to shop at the grocery store, for sure, and to stroll around Whole Foods once in a while. On an off day, I’ll sometimes be asked to get groceries for other family members, too. They say it’s because I know my way around the store.”
Wilson: “I prefer to get my groceries in-store. My wife, Brandi, and I enjoy the experience of going out to gather our groceries together. It’s great to be able to hand pick your own produce and see new things available that you may not have tried before. It’s also a great excuse just to get out the house.”