With best newcomer awards' sitting on their shelves and album Pressure & Time being highly acclaimed by lovers of pure rock and roll, 2011 was a breakthrough year for Californian quartet Rival Sons. The UK in particular has welcomed the band with open arms on the back of relentless touring and festival appearances, culminating in a sold out tour with Black Stone Cherry currently making its way around the country. Moments before they hit the stage in Birmingham Sea of Tranquillity staff writer Dean Pedley sat down with vocalist Jay Buchanan to find out more about the Rival Sons story so far…
Hi Jay and welcome to Birmingham. I think I'm right in saying this is your second time here, so have you had a chance to look around the city at all?
No I haven't really had much time today at all. When you go on tour you go to a lot of places but you don't get to see a lot of places unless you have time off. I do know that there is a lot of musical history here in Birmingham and the Black Country
Absolutely, Black Sabbath, Robert Plant and Judas Priest to name just three; Rival Sons toured with Priest last year, how did that work out for you?
It went really well for us. Going into the tour we weren't really sure what to expect because we are not really a metal band...well I don't consider us one but other people do...for me I just figured we are a rock and roll band. So I wasn't really sure how this metal audience were going to respond but they were very good to us and Rob Halford and everyone else from the band were really sweet and very helpful
I saw both yourselves and Priest at High Voltage and Rob was on fire last year, wasn't he?
Oh yeah he was doing a really good job and it was very inspiring to see
Going back to the metal tag you're signed to Earache who are very much a metal record label
Yeah there is no doubt about the fact that they are a metal label and when they first contacted us it was like "what do these guys want with us, how do we fit into your world?" But they really wanted us and they had a cohesive system and it has been a great fit for us
Pressure & Time features some striking cover art from Storm Thorgerson, how did he come to be involved?
When we finished the album there was a discussion well now we need the artwork so what are we going to do? Scott and I had thrown around the idea in conversation wouldn't it be cool to get Storm Thorgerson and we continued talking and decided to try and get hold of him. And he was hard to track down but our management managed to track him down and he agreed to do it. He did a great job...he is a very cerebral, arty man
So tonight you are here with Black Stone Cherry, how has the tour been going so far?
This is going to be our third date and it's been great so far, their audience is fantastic and we've been bringing a lot of our fans aswell. The last time we were here in the UK our shows completely sold out and this time around we thought it would be good to join forces with somebody that was drawing around the same audience that we were and team up. And it's been great so far and they are all really nice guys which counts for a lot. Tonight we are playing for thirty minutes and it's really tough to get in what we like to say in a set but it is also fun because so many people here tonight will have never heard us before so at least they get a sampler
Why do you think that the UK has really embraced the band over the past twelve months?
I don't really have an answer for that other than that over here you guys love rock and roll. You love rock music, rock and roll music and metal and it is a very big part of the culture here. I turn on the TV in my hotel room and see that you guys are into all of the fake reality stuff that we have in the States and there will always be that element. But there is a very devoted underground scene here that loves rock and roll music. So I can't really explain it any better than that...I'm sure there a lots of people that could, they could draw you bubble charts and pie charts and things like that (laughs) but all I know is that I am very appreciative
Classic Rock magazine have really got behind the band aswell which must have helped
Yeah we were very very fortunate to have Classic Rock get right behind us and Planet Rock radio aswell and we have really been grateful to have these people endorse us
So how is the rest of 2012 planned out...I'm guessing there will be some new music released before the end of the year?
It's basically permanently on tour. The label has released a new edition of the Pressure & Time record which we have added some extra tracks and we have amassed all of this video footage and so they wanted to repackage it. The record is still doing really well and breaking into new territories and so they just weren't ready to let it die. People are still being introduced to it and that's part of what this tour is all about. And we have just finished recording the new record which I think will be coming out in September.
How did the tour with Evanescence go over in the US...on paper that seems like another unusual band for you to go out on tour with?
I know, it is another strange one and that seems to be what we do. But people that really like rock and roll music will give us a chance and we have gone over really well with other fans. There will be a certain percentage here tonight who think "No! Get these guys off the stage I want Black Stone Cherry, get these hippies out of here!" (laughs) But also by the laws of average a greater number are really going to get it. Good honest rock and roll rhythm and blues music. When we toured with Evanescence we weren't really sure what to expect from that either. I had never really listened to their music because I don't really move in those circles. But we went and met them and they were the kindest people once again and their audience really took to us. So we are playing these theatres as support to multi-platinum band that have sold something like 27 million records and we are getting a standing ovation which was really validating and lets me know that people have open minds when they go to a concert. Even when they are so feverish and religious like the Evanescence fans are for Amy and that tour went very well
Are you hoping to make further inroads into North America over the coming year?
We really haven't put much stock into it yet; most of our time has been spent over here. Like any wild animal you go where the water is and where people want to feed us, clothe us and take care of us which right now is here. Canada is really blowing up, I think we are number 6 on the major charts and when we finish this tour we have to go there...but in the Unites States the market is so flooded and the way it is spread out touring is a huge undertaking
Well Jay our time is up so was there anything else you wanted to say?
Thank you for taking an interest in us and if you are reading this then I hope you buy one of records. And if you like it, awesome and tell all of your friends and if you don't ...well then don't tell them (laughs)
Pressure & Time Redux CD/ DVD is available now and Rival Sons tour the UK and Europe throughout March and April. For more on Rival Sons go to www.rivalsons.com