Exclusive: See Rival Sons Album Cover
Classic Rock can exclusively reveal the cover artwork for the upcoming Rival Sons album Pressure & Time – you can see it below.
This was designed by the celebrated Storm Thorgerson, who has worked with the likes of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Dream Theater and Muse among many others in a career that goes back over 40 years.
“Why did I choose to work with them? Firstly, they were enthusiastic about having me do the cover,” sais Thorgerson. “Secondly, they made contact with me, and thirdly I think the music’s good.”
As is usual, Thorgerson submitted several ideas for the design to the band. And after a lot of dialogue, eventually they settled on the one here.
“In the end I had just two weeks to the final cover, which really isn’t long enough. But it appears that Scott (Holiday, guitar) and Jay (Buchanan, vocals) both like it for different reasons, although I’m not sure what those might be. But there again, for a band to choose a cover they didn’t like would be daft.”
Thorgerson is at pains to point out that the image is real, with no fakery involved.
“I don’t think you can be certain what’s going on here. To me it’s a picture about fear or concern. Here’s someone about to descend and doesn’t know what they’ll face, or where this might lead. So, in his mind he’s imagining the action. That’s what you see – into his mind, as he focuses on what’s about to happen. When he gets to the bottom of the stars, where does he go? Turn left, right or straight ahead anything’s possible. And I hope this cover will have fans of the band intrigued for a long while. To me, the cover should be part of the album, and not just packaging.”
Holiday is delighted with the result, and amusingly reveals that it took longer to get the cover done than to record the album!
“We got the record done in just 20 days. That’s what we ‘re like, very visceral and spontaneous. Storm, though, is almost the opposite. He’s high-minded and very artistic. In all, the artwork took about four weeks to come together. But what’s he done is so cool.”
For the guitarist getting to work with Thorgerson is a dream made flesh.
“When I was 12 or 13 I’d go through my parents’ vinyl, and I got to know his name and what covers he’d done. For me he’s one of the top three in his profession of all time. And I said from when I was 15 years old that one day I wanted to work with him.”
But despite long communications between band and designer, it appeared at one point this wouldn’t happen just yet, because of a financial problem.
“His usual fee was way out of our league anyway, but we were talking about a special rate. Then everything fell apart. However, it was Storm who kept this alive. He told us that he liked what we were doing so much he wanted to work on the album. That was just amazing.
“He sent us over about 10 or 12 sketches, all of which were absolutely incredible. And then left it to us to choose what we liked. Well, when I say left it to us, what happened was that we told him what we wanted to go for, and he disagreed. So, in the end, he gave us a choice from three which he felt worked.”
But even after this, there was nearly a major hitch when the band decided to change the album title at the last minute to Sleepwalker.
“Actually Storm loved the idea, and did a whole shoot around it, coming up with a great cover. But then the label told us it was too late to change the title. So, Storm had to go back and do a whole new shoot, because the cover he’d come up with didn’t work for Pressure & Time.”
Aside from the CD version, Rival Sons intend to put out a vinyl edition of the album, and the sleeve will be slightly different.
“We have enough ideas in the bag to make it really special. What we want is for people to look at the cover and regard it as part of the whole album experience. This is a lot more than packaging.”