Rival Sons Interview

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Rival Sons consists of four rockers from Long Beach, California who have a great sense of style and some serious talent. They’re known for being edgy; even their video for “All Over the Road” took some editing to pare it down to an “R” rating. And the band really is “all over the road;” they just finished a European tour and already have a growing 2012 tour schedule. Their latest album Pressure and Time has a mixture of sounds that verge upon rock, funk, and a great feeling of freedom that exudes the album. Rival Sons have garnered international attention for a reason: they have fun doing what they do best! I caught up with lead vocalist Jay Buchanan to talk about touring, advice, and his favorite food…

Candace Butler: You just finished your European Tour 2011. So tell us—are you glad to have a break or already missing the stage?

Jay Buchanan: We’ve been out for almost three months. I’m ready to go home and tune my engine a bit. The stage isn’t something I ever miss really. It’s always been there and it will always be there. The stage ends up being an occupational necessity for a life of music.

CB: I know you’re playing a gig on Thursday in London to raise money for Shelter, which is a housing and homelessness charity. Is homelessness an issue that’s really close to the heart for you all as a band?

JB: Human suffering is an issue close to the heart and of concern to each of us. Homelessness isn’t cancer. It isn’t terminal. Homelessness is circumstantial; a tough situation can be radically changed if we put our minds to it.

CB: What about you personally–what really hits home for you?

JB: The operative word here is personally, as in “it’s personal and private.”

CB: You’re all from Southern California, right? How do you think this area has influenced your music?

JB: We’re often asked that, and it’s a tough one for me to answer. That’s where I come from; it’s all I know. We’ve got the Pacific Ocean, we’ve got the Mohave Desert, we’ve got world-renowned traffic and gang violence, but our greatest asset is probably Mexican food.

CB: What kind of music did you grow up listening to, and what do you listen to now?

JB: I grew up listening to a lot of blues, soul, early rock’n’roll, old country music, world music, and singer/songwriters. I am a man of great leisure, and very little has changed.

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CB: Obviously you each play one instrument predominantly for Rival Sons, yours being your own voice. What other instruments does each band member play, if any?

JB: I’ll write a song on anything that makes noise, but my strong suit is stringed instruments. And Scott is the same way. Miley is a vibraphone/percussion guy all the way with a crush on piano, but Robin plays everything from tuba to whatever you want.

CB: I love the adventurous nature of tracks like “Pressure and Time” and “All Over the Road.” Can you tell us a bit about your songwriting process?

JB: For the last record, it usually started with a jam out of one of Scott’s riffs or mine and we’d move on to form and I’d be writing melody and lyrics. Either that or it would be me bringing a complete song to the band and them interpreting it.

CB: What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

JB: I’ll give you the best advice you’ll ever get. Keep your ass behind you and your nose in front of you, and things should work out fine.

CB: Now, this is possibly the most important question yet, and that’s why it’s a two-part question: What’s your favorite food? Favorite drink?

JB: Raw kale with garlic and habanero peppers is undoubtedly my favorite food, and my favorite drink is my home-brewed iced tea.

CB: Awesome. So what’s next for Rival Sons?

JB: We’re home for a few weeks, then an East Coast tour of the US, then into the studio for another record and it’s back to Europe early March until God knows when. Rinse, repeat.

First published at BeatCrave, where readers voted Rival Sons their “BeatCrave Fav” for the month of November 2011.

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