Rival Sons

Last updated

Rival Sons
Rival Sons Vienna.jpg
Background information
Origin Long Beach, California,
United States
Years active2009 (2009)–present
Associated acts Dave Cobb
Vance Powell
Veruca Salt
Bloody Beetroots
Website rivalsons.com
Past membersRobin Everhart

Rival Sons are an American rock band from Long Beach, California formed in 2009. The group consists of lead vocalist Jay Buchanan, guitarist Scott Holiday, bassist Dave Beste and drummer Michael Miley. The band is also joined by touring keyboard player Todd Ögren when on the road. They are signed to Atlantic Records via Dave Cobb's label Low Country Sound, an imprint of Elektra. They have released six albums and one EP.



Formation and debut album Before The Fire (2006–2009)

Rival Sons formed in Long Beach where Jay Buchanan and Michael Miley lived. Prior to the formation of Rival Sons, Jay Buchanan recorded as a solo artist and with his Buchanan band. He independently released All Understood in 2004 and True Love EP in 2006. Rival Sons formed from the remnants of guitarist Scott Holiday's previous band. [1] He had previously been active in a number of bands including Human Lab who were signed to Atlantic Records which he then subsequently left and formed Black Summer Crush.

In 2006 Holiday came across Buchanan while searching on MySpace for a singer. Drummer Michael Miley had previously worked with Jay (as well as having been in Veruca Salt and the Carson Daly TV show band) and he had met bassist Robin Everhart playing at a benefit concert at Isaac Hayes house for Hurricane Katrina in Long Beach. The union of these four, Holiday, Buchanan, Everhart and Miley led to the formation of Rival Sons.

As a singer-songwriter Jay Buchanan was sceptical about joining a rock and roll band but after seeing the reception to the band's debut album Before the Fire (2009) produced by Dave Cobb Jay committed to Rival Sons full-time. Jack Rivera of the Huffington Post declared them “A rock band to watch” in November, 2009. [2] The band, following from this acclaim, were invited to perform as a supporting act for AC/DC, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath and Kid Rock shows. [3] During this time, Rival Sons also performed on the race track during a televised show of The Indianapolis 500. [4]

EP, Signing and worldwide release of sophomore album Pressure & Time (2010–2011)

After the successful release of Before the Fire, the band recorded a self-titled EP (independently released) in 2010, which caught the attention of Earache Records founder Digby Pearson and the band was subsequently offered a record deal in November, 2010. This signing immediately led to the band recording their notable album Pressure & Time on the Earache label in early 2011.

Their self-titled EP was re-released digitally by Earache Records in February, 2011, from which their debut European single, “Torture” was taken. [5]

In March, 2011 a string of shows at Canadian Music Week, SXSW and the House of Blues were announced. [6]

Rival Sons played at the Gene Simmons' “Aces & Angels” Super Bowl party February 2, 2011 [7] before making their European debut appearance at Camden Barfly on February 12, 2011 for the HMV Next Big Thing. The band Vintage Trouble supported their act and the show sold out in advance, [8] which started a nearly unbroken string of European sell-out shows. [9]

Rival Sons released their second LP album in June 2011 called Pressure & Time , which reached number one on Amazon's Hard Rock best sellers and nineteen on the Billboard Hot 100. [10] [11]

Storm Thorgerson who had worked with bands such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Genesis, created the cover art for the album voluntarily. [12] [13] Storm liked Rival Sons, saying about the cover art;

"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.”

- Storm Thorgerson (2011)

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 series of European festivals such as Azkena, Sonisphere, Rock Werchter, Main Square, Putte Parken, and Bospop in July 2011. Then the band joined Judas Priest, Queensrÿche and Lady Starlight on tour in the UK. [14]

Rival Sons' track "Torture" was featured in the film Real Steel in October 2011 [15] and the band supported Evanescence by personal request of Amy Lee in the US in October, 2011, who they would play with again in January, 2012. [16] While Rival Sons continued to extensively tour, in 2012 they were featured on the Harald Schmidt Show as well as playing an acoustic set at the annual Classic Rock awards located at the Roundhouse in London. They were also voted ‘Best New Band’ by listeners of Planet Rock Radio. In mid 2012, Pressure & Time was voted number two album of the year and the band named “Breakthrough Artist of the Year” by Classic Rock Magazine. [17]

Head Down and Dave Beste joins the band on bass (2012–2013)

In February 2012 the band went into Honey Pye studios in Nashville, Tennessee for twenty days to record their third full-length LP album Head Down with Dave Cobb and this time award-winning engineer Vance Powell (Jack White, The Raconteurs). [18]

During this time, the album Pressure & Time was reissued as a deluxe edition from which the last single “Face of Light” was taken. A video for the single was filmed in the UK's peak district. [19] The band then embarked on 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 again also played European shows with Evanescence and Eagles of Death Metal as well as Black Stone Cherry. [20]

Rival Sons third LP album Head Down was released in September, 2012 to critical acclaim. [21] [22] 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 was filmed in a church with snakes. The band then went on to complete another sold out European tour and were featured on the cover of Classic Rock Magazine. They also the ‘Breakthrough artist’ award presented by Vic Reeves. [23]

In January, 2013 the band released 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). [24]

In March, 2013 the band recorded for Billboard The Beat and appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live . On March 7, 2013 Rival Sons left on a tour of Europe supported by The Balconies. In April they toured the UK supported by The Graveltones and Ulysses culminating in a sold-out show at 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. During this time bassist Robin Everhart quit the band for 'personal reasons' stating "After years of intensive touring with Rival Sons, I have come to the conclusion that I am not a road-warrior and that the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle’ is not for me." [25]

In September 2013 Rival Sons supported Sammy Hagar across the US with new bassist Dave Beste, previously of Rocco DeLuca and the Burden. The band played Hard Rock Vegas in December and started the new year by headlining a street party in their hometown of Long Beach.

Great Western Valkyrie, Hollow Bones and the Black Sabbath tour (2014–2017)

In January, 2014 Rival Sons returned to the studio in Nashville with Dave Cobb to produce their fourth full-length LP album. Amidst great anticipation of their fan base, the critically acclaimed Great Western Valkyrie was released in June, 2014. Even before the new album’s release Rival Sons began their 2014 European Tour opening for Aerosmith in Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden. The summer tour continued through Europe with club and festival dates in Germany at Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park, then onto four sold out shows in the United Kingdom and the legendary Isle of Wight Festival.

They traveled back across the Atlantic to begin the USA 2014 summer tour with a sold out show at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville, TN. The US tour included several festivals and two sold out back to back dates in New York City. Rival Sons travelled back and forth between US and Canadian dates mid summer, before heading back to Northern Europe for four large festivals, ending the summer with a trip to South Africa to play the Oppikopi Festival.

After a rest Rival Sons began the second leg of the US tour playing dates in California including The Fillmore in San Francisco and a sold out show at the legendary The Troubadour. More Fall 2014 US Tour dates included shows in Arizona, Nebraska, Nevada, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland & New Jersey.

Rival Sons has had several live television performances in 2014, the first on Le Grand Journal (Canal+) then in October Late Night with David Letterman and Later… with Jools Holland. They performed live at the 2014 Classic Rock Magazine Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards. In late 2014 Rival Sons fourth LP album Great Western Valkyrie was released. It was nominated for “Album of the Year” in 2014 by Classic Rock Magazine.

In October 2015 they recorded their fifth LP album Hollow Bones , again with music producer Dave Cobb, in just three weeks. Rival Sons toured the United Kingdom from March to April, 2015 as well as played the main stage at Download Festival in 2016. Their LP album Hollow Bones was officially released July 2016.

After the recording they toured with Deep Purple in their 2016 European tour. Throughout 2016 and into early 2017 they toured as main supporting act on the entirety of Black Sabbath’s notable The End Tour. [26]

Signing to Atlantic Records and Feral Roots (2018–2019)

On February 27, 2018 it was officially announced that Rival Sons had signed on with Low Country Sound an imprint of Elektra run by Dave Cobb. [27]

Rival Sons released their sixth studio album Feral Roots on January 25, 2019, [28] to critical acclaim. The album received nominations for two awards at the 2020 Grammy Awards, one for Best Rock Album and the other for Best Rock Performance for the song "Too Bad." It also won the 2019 Metal Storm Award for Best Hard Rock Album. [29]


Songwriting and recording process

Rival Sons early albums, including 'Pressure & Time', were written and recorded in the studio in an intense period of creativity. Speaking about the sophomore album that was written and recorded in 20 days, with producer Dave Cobb, guitarist Scott Holiday states "This is just the simplest way to not cheat ourselves or the listener, ROCK AND ROLL can't be over-thought, and if it is, it loses its immediacy and instinct...it needs to be a knife FIGHT, not a knife DANCE." [30]

Rival Sons have released seven records in ten years, recording regularly to deliver the immediacy needed for rock'n'roll. "Opting to keep the sound intact and very accurate as to deliver to the listener exactly what was happening in the room when we put it down" - Scott Holiday talking about the album Great Western Valkyrie. [31] [32]

The band has a long-standing, friendly and professional relationship with Grammy award-winning music producer Dave Cobb. Cobb has worked on all of the band's album releases and is often referred to as another member of the band. He is interested in simplicity in the recording and with the sound and vitality of real musicians in a room. [33] Dave encourages and captures the vocal punch of the band's mainman, Jay Buchanan. "He's unbelievable, a one-take guy — done. It's such a pleasure, because then you can get wild with things. You can experiment when it doesn't take long for the singer to do his thing." [33]

Rival Sons recording process changed for their major label debut Feral Roots, for the first time writing and recording over a process of months. Jay Buchanan stated that "You need to shift and constantly find new soil" within the creative process, taking eight months to write and record the Grammy nominated album instead of all their previous work which took less than six weeks. [34]

Style and influences

Rival Sons are often compared to sounds of the 1970s yet they cite Prince, D’Angelo and The Roots as influences alongside Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. [35] Jay has listed artists from Joni Mitchell to Sly and the Family Stone amongst his influences, often stating Van Morrison as one of his heroes. "I can’t overstate his influence on me as a writer and vocalist" - Louder Sound. [36]

The band are often cited for the sartorial style as well as their musical style, with Scott Holiday known for working with tailor Ray Brown and the band often wearing boots by UK bootmaker Jeffery West. Scott Holiday is known for his slim-line tailored suits, moustache and sunglasses, Jay Buchanan's style is unpredictable including wearing flowers in his hair, [37] flowing floral shirts and tight leather suits. [38]

Band members


Rival Sons


Studio albums

YearAlbum detailsChart peak


Hard Rock


2009Before the Fire
  • Released: June 9, 2009
  • Label: self-released
2011 Pressure & Time
  • Released: June 28, 2011
  • Label: Earache
2012 Head Down
  • Released: September 17, 2012
  • Label: Earache
2014 Great Western Valkyrie
  • Released: June 6, 2014
  • Label: Earache
2016 Hollow Bones
  • Release: June 10, 2016
  • Label: Earache
2019 Feral Roots 1391226163743


2010Rival Sons
  • Released: June 20, 2010
  • Label: Earache


YearSongChart peakAlbum





[58] [59] [60] [61]
2011"Soul"Rival Sons
"Pressure and Time"484Pressure & Time
"All Over the Road"
2012"Face of Light"20
"Company Man/Life for This Road"
"Keep On Swinging"341Head Down
"Until the Sun Comes"5
2013"Wild Animal"
"You Want To"45
"Manifest Destiny Pt. 1 (Live)"Non-album single
2014"Electric Man"40Great Western Valkyrie
"Open My Eyes"1
"Good Things"
2015"Black Coffee"Hollow Bones
2016"All That I Want"
"Thundering Voices"
"Tied Up"
2018"Do Your Worst"151351Feral Roots
2019"Too Bad"351341
"Shooting Stars"3616
"—" denotes a release that did not chart.

Music videos

2010"Get What's Coming" [62]
2011"Pressure and Time"Greg Ephraim [63]
"All Over The Road" [64]
2012"Face of Light"Dan Ruttley [65]
"Keep On Swinging"Greg Ephraim [66]
"Until the Sun Comes"Simon Gesrel [67]
2014"Open My Eyes"Greg Ephraim [68]
2015"Electric Man"Markus Rutledge [69]
2018"Do Your Worst"Andy Garza [70]
2019"Too Bad"Jordan Bellamy [71]
"Sugar On The Bone"Patrik Skoglöw [72]

Awards and nominations

YearNominated workEventAwardResult
2011Rival Sons Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards Best New BandNominated
2012Rival Sons Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards Breakthrough ArtistWon
2014Great Western Valkyrie Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards Album of the YearNominated
2019"Too Bad" Grammy Award Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance Nominated
Feral Roots Grammy Award Grammy Award for Best Rock Album Nominated

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