Interview with Jay Buchanan of Rival Sons
You may remember Kim MM reviewed the recent Rival Sons gig, of which she was very complimentary. We also managed to get Kim some interview time with Jay Buchanan from the band. Before we get in to the Q+A, Kim describes John as “one of the most passionate people I have ever met” – back to the music then.
How are you finding the UK so far? Celebrated St Patricks Day?
Always enjoy it. Getting leathered is part of our vocation, we were talking about it last night. The end of the night rolls round, we have played the show, we have done the merchandise, we have done the meet and greet, you know, everyday is the same out here. We went back to our hotel room as everyone was tired and we remembered it was St Patricks Day, “we need to go out!” but wait a minute, we go out and get beers, every night. It’s beers and whiskey every night.
Are you a fan of Guinness?
Absolutely, we usually have some in but someone likes Becks (he raises his bottle of Becks). Not necessarily a Becks kind of guy, definitely a Guinness kinda guy. It’s trusty, it’s really good.
Who are your main music influences?
That’s a broad question. I think it varies from month to month, if I were to look growing up for me, who really (starts giggling as Scott Holiday walks part the door and waves in), as far as rock n roll goes, I definitely love The Jeff Beck Group, everybody loves The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, loved Led Zeppelin growing up, AC/DC. Loved that stuff growing up but with song writing there is a whole other side, from my musical taste, rock and roll only takes a small percentage, the rest of it is soul. You have Aretha Franklin, the song writers, the Jonny Mitchells, the Bob Dylans, the Leonard Cohens and all of those guys.
Why do you think that rock has endured such a long times?
I think it’s this, basic rock and roll, you have rock, rock has endured and has always en vouge in some fashion because rock is much more than, it can be a bunch of postures, it can be the way that a band dresses, their songs could be shit, it doesn’t matter because rock is much more to me, it’s rock n roll with the blues taken out. It can be whatever, so if people wanna be rock stars they can play rock no problem. But there has to be blues for it to be rock n roll, I think what rock n roll does is it has an ambid flow and has it’s resurgers where it will be strong for a while and go away and I think that people respond really well they relate to it because real rock n roll is very very honest, there is docens and docens of bands that have done rock n roll way better than we could ever do way better that we will ever do and when done properly it’s real, it’s honest, it’s not about the posture, it’s not about anything, it’s about the ancts and the raw energy coming off the music and with the blues in it, everyone relates to the blues and it’s one of those things, everyone relates, it’s a human thing, you guys have it here in the uk, there is all of this cheeky bullshit on tv all of the time, all of these vocal competitions and talent searches.
Thank you Simon Cowell!
Yes. There is all of this stuff that overhyped what music is supposed to be so these musical styles continually put the cart before the horse and everybody goes along with it, everybody is happy because it’s a phenomenon, it’s a thing that it’s going on at the time. And it’s fine, so many people relate to that, I just don’t. The honestly of rock n roll gets to me and people get it, that’s why it doesn’t die.
Who do you think will be the future of rock? Is there anything that you are listening to at the moment?
I don’t know. As far as far as rock n roll goes? A couple of years ago The Heartless Bastards put on a great rock n roll record, not really known as a rock n roll band but they really did a good job and with rock n roll it is really bleak, even Jack White, he has done so much at burying and keeping the flame alive you know in popular music and so you know he has kept it alive and he has been the future but I think The Black Keys are kinda moving away. I don’t even know if it’s rock n roll what they are doing, it’s really …… It’s this hybrid and I love it, I love The Black Keys, I haven’t heard anything. Every time that we are out on tourwe are always hoping that we are going to find a band that we are going to be excited about, we want that, we are going to find a band, something we can believe in like “there, this guys are doing it right” I just don’t see anyone doing it right. And hell, if I was an outsider and came to see our band, rival sons play live, shit, I’d probably hate them too.
I don’t know.
Doing my research about you guys, I hardly came across anything negative. I haven’t seen you perform but it must be good?
Yes I think that we have been very fortunate, people slag us for different thing, they like to use catch phrases “70s inspired”.
That was another question I was going to ask about your 60s and 70s – 70s inspired? Really? Do you know what rock n roll is? Do you know your chronological rock really?
70s really, I think that the rock that we like the most, what we try to emulate is more late 60s and if it goes into the 70s, it goes no further than 1972, no later than that. They do that and they say we are revivalists rock n roll and that and they say that I try to dress like I’m from the 60s. I don’t know, I think people are so lazy with their comparisons that they can’t actually have an original thought, they have to latch on to something else.
My next question was going to be if you were bored of the 60s and 70s comparisons, i shall take that as a yes! (i show him my questions). What do you think that makes you stand out compared to other bands?
I don’t know, I think that we have a really loud guitar player, really loud drummer, really skilled bass player and I think we have a front man that can’t really dance.
Your latest album was recorded in 20 days, what was the process?
Pressure and time, well we knew that we needed to go in and made a new record, we were out on tour at the time so we were out on tour for a couple of months, we drove for months out of the country, over Florida, we made a beeline without stopping all the way back to long beach la, we got home at night and went to bed, saw our families and went straight into the studio, we had no songs, and we just started writing and recording,that first day we already had one song recorded and we already started on another but it was very much a song a day, just write it, record it, produce it and streamline it so that, I think that we were probably, the original idea, to do that I think that we thought we could be pretty tough you know, get in there, do it old school, get in there fuck it, we can write it and record it and go with our first instinct and it could have gone terribly wrong but it didn’t and we have just recorded another record that will be out in late august I believe, we did it the same way, 20 days. We wrote it from scratch, I think that at least we know we can do it.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
I think I would like to collaborate with …….. Gosh …… I really don’t know!
As it’s you I will let you pick more than one
Probably Yo-Yo Ma , or, erm, gosh there is so many people, it’s just one of those questions that you don’t really think of, erm ….., Harry Hanckock yeah definetly. Erm yeah there is a lot of those!
Out of all the festival line up that are being announced, if I could pick my top 3 headliners I’d go for Down, Tool and Clutch. Who would be yours?
I don’t know, I really get bored with bands, I’m just telling you the truth. Some of them don’t evolve, they just stay the same, for me I like to see a band for about 3 songs and then just go off and do something else. I am not exactly sure who is playing. I really had a good time watching PJ Harvey last year when we played in Belgium I think. That was a real treat. On another note, it blew my mind to see Coldplay. I’m not really a Coldplay guy but I tell you what, that’s an arena band and you get sucked into the tractor bream and it’s like “oh? It’s that song, what is it, it’s so good” then you shake your head and come back to reality. I don’t really know who’s playing.
What’s next for you guys?
Touromanic, it’s endless touring.
How does your family feel about your rock n roll lifestyle?
It’s what I have to do, I am a musician, I am a song writer, you know, I would love to have more time to record more records that’s for sure, and write more songs, and have more creative output when we release an album but you have to tour so much behind it and if you tell your label that you want to get in the studio and make another record right now, no, this record is still doing it’s thing. You get caught in this machine, of what the industry is and it really stifles you creatively, you have to try to cut it slim, people think that by doing one record per year, we want to do 2-3 record per year. The family, it’s a necessary evil you know. If you make songs and play music you are never going to be famous in your hometown.
You have the album in August?
Yes, it doesn’t have a name as of yet and i don’t remember the songs, I haven’t even named the songs, we just did it. It’s not mixed. They are doing that and what is hot for us right now, is our label earache records are rereleasing the pressure and time record that didn’t even come out a year ago. I guess that what they are doing is a live DVD and a bunch of live footage, I don’t even know how many shows we have played this year but it’s too many and a lot of people have recorded them so there is a bunch of live footage and there is also music videos, the two or three for songs that we have and 2 bonus tracks that didn’t even make it onto the record. Those will be included. That’s being launched right now and we are going to be on tour in between now and when the next record comes out and when that’s out we will be touring for that again.
Start all over again!
Yes, people have real problems, these are not real problems. We get to play cowboys and Indians every day and it’s a lot of fun.
Interview by Kim MM