Rival Sons is an American rock band from Long Beach, California. Formed in 2009 from the ashes of Scott Holiday’s previous band Black Summer Crush that featured vocalist Thomas Flowers (Oleander), Michael Miley and Robin Everhart. Rival Sons was born when Jay Buchanan was persuaded to try Rock’n’roll and re-record ‘Before The Fire’. The band currently features bassist Dave Beste after Robin Everhart left in August 2013. Signed to Earache Records the band released their newest album June 6 in Europe, 9th in UK, 10th in USA (2014).
All Rival Sons members are from the Long Beach music scene. Prior to the formation of Rival Sons, Jay Buchanan recorded as a solo artist and with his band Buchanan. The Buchanan band previously released ‘'All Understood’' in 2004 and True Love EP in 2006. Scott Holiday’s first success was in Human Lab who had recorded an album for Atlantic Records that was never released, then Black Summer Crush, where he was joined by and Michael Miley, who was previously in Veruca Salt (2005) and the Carson Daly TV band, and Robin Everhart who Miley met at Isaac Hayes house when they both played a Hurricane Katrina benefit show.
Scott Holiday was searching for a new singer after the break up of Black Summer Crush and came upon Jay Buchanan on MySpace. Michael Miley had previously briefly played with Jay Buchanan in Buchanan.
Rival Sons was the first rock band Jay Buchanan had sung with and he was initially sceptical as a blues singer songwriter and looked at the band as a side project. He was surprised by the reaction and the success the band received with their debut self-released album Before The Fire (2009). Jack Rivera of Huffington Post declared them the “Rock Band to Watch” in November 2009. The band supported AC/DC, Alice Cooper and Kid Rock and performed on the track during a televised show of The Indianapolis 500.
They recorded a follow up EP (self released) in 2010, which caught the attention of Earache Records founder Digby Pearson and the band signed a deal in November 2010 that led to the recording of Pressure & Time in early 2011.
The EP was re-released digitally by Earache Records in February 2011, from which their debut European single, ‘Torture’ was taken.
In March 2011 shows at Canadian Music Week, SXSW and the House of Blues were announced.
Rival Sons played Gene Simmons' ‘Aces & Angels’ Super bowl party Feb 2nd 2011 before making their European debut at Camden Barfly on 12 February 2011 for the HMV Next Big Thing. Vintage Trouble supported the band and the show sold out in advance, starting a nearly unbroken string of all European sell-out shows.
Rival Sons were keen to record and release an album a year, writing and recording all material together in the studio in under a month. The live creative recording process they use is key to their sound and Scott Holiday referred to it as bringing the ‘danger’ back to rock 'n’roll.
The band have recorded every release so far with award-winning producer Dave Cobb who was originally situated in Los Angeles but now resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
Rival Sons released their second full-length album Pressure & Time in June 2011 reaching number 1 in the Amazon best sellers, 19 in the Billboard charts.
Storm Thorgerson who also worked with artists such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Genesis produced the cover art. Storm liked Rival Sons and said: "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 stairs, 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."
Rival Sons played a string of Canadian dates in May 2011, as well as SXSW, Hangout festival and The Viper Room, before returning to Europe to play a string of European festivals such as Azkena, Sonisphere, Rock Werchter, Main Square, Putte Parken, and Bospop in July 2011. Then the band joined Judas Priest, Queensryche and Lady Starlight on tour in the UK.
Rival Sons track ‘Torture’ was featured in the movie Real Steel in October 2011 and the band supported Evanescence by personal request of Amy Lee in the USA in October / November 2011, who they would play with again in January 2012, the band then returned to Europe for a full headlining tour in November/December 2011. They also played a secret acoustic gig at St. Pancras station in London as part of the Station Sessions.
The band also featured on Die Harald Schmidt Show and neoParadise as well as playing an acoustic set at the annual Classic Rock awards at the Roundhouse in London, and being voted ‘Best New Band’ by listeners of Planet Rock Radio. Pressure & Time was voted number 2 album of the year by Classic Rock Magazine.
In February 2012 the band went into Honey Pye studios in Nashville, Tennessee again for only 20 days to record their 3rd full-length album again with Dave Cobb and this time award-winning engineer Vance Powell (Jack White, The Raconteurs).
The album Pressure & Time was reissued as a deluxe edition from which the last single Face of Light was taken. A video for Face of Light was filmed in the UK’s peak district before the band embarked on some US and Canadian shows including Rock on the Range and Big Music Fest before a string of European summer festivals including Rock Am Ring, Sweden Rock, Ruisrock, Bukta, Graspop and Download. The band also played European shows with Evanescence and Eagles of Death Metal as well as Black Stone Cherry.
Rival Sons 4th release Head Down came out September 2012 to critical acclaim. The album charted at number 31 in the UK album chart, number 5 in the UK indie chart, number 6 in Sweden, number 13 in Finland, number 14 in Norway, number 30 in Switzerland and number 38 in Germany. The debut single Keep On Swinging started a trend on twitter, and the video caused some controversy being shot in a church with snakes. The band went on to complete another sold our European tour plus feature on the cover of Classic Rock magazine and win the ‘Breakthrough artist’ award presented by Vic Reeves.
January 2013 saw the band release a second single from Head Down with a video for Until The Sun Comes directed by Simon Gesrel, known for his stop-motion work and his work with Michel Gondry (The White Stripes, Björk).
In March the band recorded for Billboard The Beat and appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on March 7, 2013 then left on tour for Europe supported by The Balconies, then UK in April supported by The Graveltones and Ulysses culminating in a sold out Shepherds Bush Empire. Rival Sons also played a station session in St. Pancras, London for the second time to raise money for NSPCC. Rival Sons did a small mid-west USA tour in May before returning to Europe in June to play more summer festivals including Download, Kivenlahti Rock, Bergenfest, Bravalla, Main Square and Open Air St. Gallen. The band also supported Kiss in Italy and Switzerland.
In September 2013 Rival Sons supported Sammy Hagar across the US then played Hard Rock Vegas in December and started the New Year by headlining a street party in their hometown of Long Beach.
Early 2014 Rival Sons returned to the studio in Nashville with Dave Cobb producing. Their new album, titled Great Western Valkyrie, was released in June 2014.
Musical style and influence
Rival Sons are often compared stylistically to blues-rock bands from the 1950s-1970s, particularly bands like Led Zeppelin, The Animals and Free. The album Head Down draws from popular genres from the 1950s–1970s, including rock and roll, glam rock, rockabilly, surf rock, and soul.
Reviewing the band’s album Head Down for the BBC Greg Moffitt described the group’s sound as "electrifying blend of Led Zeppelin, Free, Bad Company, Deep Purple, The Doors and a dozen others to exhilarating new heights."
- Jay Buchanan – lead vocals, harmonica (2009–present)
- Scott Holliday – lead guitar (2009–present)
- Mike Miley – drums (2009–present)
- David Beste – bass (2013–present)
- Robin Everhart – bass (2009–2013)
- Rival Sons - EP (2011)
- Official website
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Image from Discogs