The Download Interviews: Rival Sons

Scoring high scores across the rock media, Long Beach's own, Rival Sons, have a career trajectory that's in the ascendancy. I had the opportunity to sit down with lead singer Jay Buchanan to talk all things rock and the proverbial roll.

How does it feel to be playing at the spiritual home of rock, here at Download Festival?
Well this being the spiritual home of rock n roll, that's a very questionable statement. I'm from the States, you guys definitely refined it and when white people started doing it, they completely changed it and that's definitely what Rival Sons does now, kinda blue eyed soul, rhythm and blues, but yeah it's great to be at Download.

How does playing a festival crowd compare to playing a support slot at an enormo-dome?
It took a lot of time for us to develop from being a club band, and then from there to grow into a large theatre band and into large theatres. I've been to arenas, and now we are out all year with Black Sabbath and playing for up to 100,000 people at a time.

The way I see it from the crowd, at a festival set, there's that massive gap, where you have to project your energy out, but in a theatre or arena, the crowd are fairly close so you can feel that energy more.
Well that's interesting to hear, because for us, and this might disappoint a lot of people, it really isn't about the crowd, it's about how the band is doing. We play for each other, and even if you have the crowd really far away, as long as we can hear ourselves and the band can communicate well, we are going to put on the same show, uh, but if the crowd is very close, the energy does change a little bit. It's a very insular microcosm this band, we play for each other every time.

That's what you do as a band. You don't think about the crowds, you just want to have a good time with your mates?
Yeah, because there is no crowd there, you're generally in a recording studio.

How was it opening for heritage bands like Kiss or Aerosmith or even, tonight's headliners Black Sabbath?
Kiss, Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Lenny Kravitz, AC/DC, Judas Priest, Guns N'Roses ... it feels like we have played with everybody; except for The Rolling Stones we haven't played with them yet.

Out of those bands who could you say are the best band to tour with?
Well Black Sabbath we still have a long way to go with them. It's been nothing but a pleasure, and to see them play every night, that's kind of a big deal, but I think of any of them my favourite touring experience was with Deep Purple . Watching them improvise, we would hang out with them every night and talk. We got to know each other on a personal basis. We are still friends, and I miss those guys. I love this Black Sabbath tour. It's been fantastic.

Did you ever think when you first started touring that you would ever be at the last Black Sabbath gig?
No, you don't plan on these things. It's just serendipitous, a fairy tale situation, and we were hand picked. We were given the glass slipper and it fit, Cinderella style. It's really good fortune smiling down on us.

With a more bluesy sound, do you think that makes it harder to connect to a more traditional metal festival?
We are just ...I am as the Lord made me, we are who we are , we don't even change our set list to try to appease a metal crowd. I mean, you know...metal heads are some of the most forgiving and cool salt of the earth people. We have always felt we just need to be ourselves. And don't forget our very first European tour was with Judas Priest , and we are purely a rock 'n' roll band, there isn't an ounce of metal in what we do. Not our image, not anything. But from then on the metal audience has been very kind to us with their response.

Hollow Bones just dropped, how is this album compared to the others?
I think that with each record it changes. The longer we are a band, the more realised our communication and artistic endeavour is, without a doubt this record is our most complete record so far. I'm very pleased.

Rival Sons are touring with Black Sabbath up until their last ever date in Birmingham in February 2017. Hollow Bones is now out wherever digital downloads are sold and all half decent music outlets.

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