Ones To Watch In 2011: Rival Sons
Classic Rock always prides itself on being the first to introduce hot young talent. And here’s a band to watch in 2011. From California: Rival Sons.
Words: Malcolm Dome
They’re signed to Earache Records? Surely, a band like this doesn’t belong in Classic Rock. After all, this is a label renowned for championing the heaviest metal and grind on the planet.
“That’s what we thought when they first approached us,” laughs guitarist Scott Holiday. “They found us through the internet, and so we checked them out, and disocvered this was the label who had Morbid Angel. How could they possibly be interested in what we do?!”
“The thing is, being on this label is kinda cool,” adds vocalist Jay Buchanan. “I like the fact that they’ve nothing else like this band on their books. We’re a one-off for them, and being labelmates with all those heavy bands like Municipal Waste…that’s great!”
Intrigued as to what Rival Sons sound like? OK, time to satisfy that interest. Imagine Black Crowes crossed with Aerosmith, and more than a hint of Zeppelin…that’s close.
“We really connect on old blues, like Muddy Waters, Leadbelly and Howlin’ Wolf,” explains Holiday. “Then you add in Stax and Motown, that kinda soul feel. We’re also into 60s British bands like the Small Faces, The Who and early Zeppelin.”
“When you mention a band like the Black Crowes, I can understand what you mean, but we have the same roots, rather than being inspired directly by them,” says Buchanan. “But don’t call us a retro band, because that’s not the way we see ourselves. We’re just going further back for our influences than most bands.”
The band started out a couple of years ago with Buchanan, plus the rhythm section of Robin Everhart (bass) and Michael Miley (drums).
“We originally had a different singer,” explains Holiday. “We did OK, but I just knew it wasn’t working with the vocalist we had. So I went looking for a new singer and came up with Jay, with whom I’d been in a band previously.”
Signed at the time to EMI, Rival Sons decided that they were none too happy with that situation, so bought back their already recorded debut album, and revamped it.
“We took off the original vocals and got Jay on, retracked some of it and also remixed it,” reveals Holiday.
The result was Before The Fire, self-released last year to a very strong response.
“It’s still available on iTunes. And has really given us a good foundation,” says Holiday.
And the band will stick to the self-release route for an EP that’s about to come out. Self-titled, it will be available on vinyl and as a download.
“I think a lot of people are coming to appreciate that vinyl is the best way to listen to music,” claims Buchanan. “It’s really making a strong return. I know there are a lot of people who are gonna read about our influences and also the fact that we love vinyl and think we’re some sort of throwback. Not true. Vinyl is current!”
Right now, the band are on a US tour, but will start recording their first album for Earache in November.
“We come right off the road and straight into the studio,” laughs Holiday. “We’ll be dirty, smelly and underslept. But that’s the best state we can be in – it creates the right sort of live atmosphere in the studio. We thrive on that.”
The new album will be out next year, and the Sons promise UK shows.
“So many of our influences are from there that we can’t wait to play,” concludes Holiday. “One thing we want everyone to know is that we give everything all the time. We cheat nobody.”
Rival Sons are certainly among the hottest new names for 2011. Check them iut for yourself at www.myspace.com/rivalsons
Tags: Aerosmith, Black Crowes, Howlin' Wolf, Jay Buchanan, Leadbelly, Led Zeppelin, Michael Miley, Morbid Angel, Muddy Waters, Municipal Waste, Rival Sons, Robin Everhart, Scott Holiday, Small Faces, The Who