September , 2013
By Justin Press
Talking Morricone And The Beauty Of The First Take With A Rival Son
JAM Magazine Interviews Founding Member And Guitarist Scott Holiday
Rival Songs, the Long Beach soul rock revivalists and purveyors of generations that came before them are very much a band for 2013: staunchly independent, substance equals style and delivering the goods above and beyond their initial debut. Sophomore slump, that's for rookies.
Like their brethren in Vintage Trouble, though known throughout the U.S. underground, it took the love of England and Europe media and audiences to have Rival Sons completely realize their potential. And this month finds the Sons back on the road serving up their 2012 release Head Down. Taking time to chat with Jam Magazine about all things Rival, guitarist Scott Holiday, a student of 60's soul and 70's hard rock, laid down the map that got them here and where the road leads.
JAM: First things first, how does Rival Sons end up on Earache records, well known as the grind core homestead. What in the world?
Scott Holiday - They actually came to us. People there took an interest and wanted to spread their ability to compete in the rock marketplace. Witchcraft and our buddies in Graveyard also signed with a traditionally extreme label with Nuclear Blast. It’s just so big, the metal thing in Europe, that there are such vast audiences open to all kinds of rock styles. We are playing some of the biggest festivals in the world because of our association with them. Earache made enough money on the extreme stuff so I suppose it was time for the label to widen it up a bit.
JAM: Rival Sons are such a major draw overseas but domestically all is quiet, where's the disconnection with this side of the pond you think?
Europe just took to us immediately, Classic Rock magazine (who nominated the band for Best New Album) and other outlets around the world helped push our name out there. Radio picked us up; fans picked us up, so we just decided to focus our laser over there. What happens is we work so much in Europe then when it's time to come home, it's about taking a breather, there's just not time to discover America. We were just starting to re-focus over here though.
JAM: The album Head Down, though a year old still has a ton of legs on it, so it feels very new. And with that said, the album resonates more in tune with The Kings of Leon than anything resembling hard rock. So the appeal could apply to that vast audience that resides Stateside.
We're not chasing any type of audience but you're right it does fit into the Kings stuff along with Jack White and his projects as well as the Black Keys, who I love, so it makes sense.
JAM: With regards to the album, you seemed to really stretch your legs from the material on Pressure & Time, on several of the tracks especially beginning with "Jordan". It seems to go deeper with a healthy dose of melancholy. Plus I hate to use the term, but it's a very "pretty" song.
Hey, I think it's beautiful. Jay brought that track in, though we usually work collectively. It was a first take track. Jay had wondered why he wrote a song about death(?). But Dave our producer just sent Jay into the booth, all the guys jumped on their instruments and we cut it. It was the first time we performed it but the feeling was there, we connected on it. And now we have fans writing us telling us that "Jordan" helped them thru some tough circumstances.
JAM: On "The Heist", explain the surf and Duane Eddy-esque licks thru the mid-point and the outset.
That track was dying actually and we couldn't figure out the mid-section, and I just laid down some spaghetti western, surf stuff that you hear, all very Fistful Of Dollars, a lot of Santo and Johnny influence too. It was the middle 8 that inspired Jay to help finish the track with this simple Scott Walker approach, this kind of tipsy lounge voice, very bold.
JAM: There's some Led Zeppelin III here on the track "Nava". Or am I just sensing that due to the acoustic "thing", and the band's penchant for that era?
Well yeah but I'm a Page guy so it was evident. It's my daughter's name and I was in my hotel room just going thru a melody in my head. Sat down, picked it out and recorded it on my phone. It was an homage to home and family.
JAM: The track that really stuck in my craw was "Manifest Destiny, Pt. 1", that tremolo and sustain was pure "Dazed and Confused" territory.
I was just going thru some things between takes when we were recording and the producer just hit record and came up and heard some things he liked and said "we're recording that". Again this was a one-take, so I just mapped it out and we just made the instrumentals conversational as we just listened to one another and responded accordingly really drawing the track out.
JAM: Switching gears, what is the next (6) month's hold for the band?
Well right now we are on the road in the States supporting Mr. Sammy Hagar on his Three Decades Tour so we get to hear a little Montrose, some "Rock Candy", "Space Station No. 9". Sammy's been a fan of the band and a friend. Otherwise we just finished a couple of fests in Norway. We'll be home for a hot minute, then off on a Canadian run, afterwards a break for the holidays and then in January 2014, start looking at doing the new record.
JAM: Bassist Robin (Everhart) recently left the band due to the rigors and demands of the band and the road, any ambitions to fill his spot?
Nothing yet, I mean there is a line around the block soliciting the spot but for the time being we have a friend David Beste filling in. We'll see if Dave sticks after the tour.
**At this point, cross wires and his phone connection from Red Rocks was kaput.
Rival Sons, rock and roll throwbacks but certainly forged for the current scene fusing soul, rock, blues and boatloads of swagger. If they were any more shrouded in the haze of 1972, they'd be called Mott the Zeppelin. Check out Head Down now on Century Media featuring the tracks "Wild Animal", "Until The Sun Comes" and the gigantic mellow of "Jordan".