You Can’t Take LA’s Rival Sons Out of the Ring

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By Nicole Taher

If you are not already familiar with LA’s own Rival Sons, get on the bus because one of their fans is iconic rock legend, Jimmy Page who [according to the December issue of Rolling Stone] “enthuses about a young, American blues-rock combo, Rival Sons.” (

The band, who has maintained a one album per year schedule, released Head Down on September 17, which has garnered 4 of 5 stars by The Guardian in the UK, peaked at #1 at UK’s Official Rock chart, and the band was deemed “Breakthrough Artist” at this 2012’s Classic Rock Awards show in London.

Jay Buchanan, lead singer of Rival Sons was kind enough to chat with me while laying in bed nursing a stomach flu skimming through Parks & Rec and King of The Hill on Netflix. The band recently returned from headlining a mostly sold-out tour in Europe including a stop in London where Mr. Page, who watched their entire show, purchased all of their four vinyl releases and came into their dressing room, to personally applaud the band. “It’s pretty crazy to get acknowledged by someone like that,” Buchanan reminisces.

Head Down was written, recorded, and mixed during a total of twenty-days and based on a “rapid fire technique” from ancient Samurai—creating a more intimate music experience for listeners. The band’s immediate instincts are recorded with less takes, without second guesses or over thinking the process. While recording is one of Buchanan’s favorite parts of the process, “being able to go in there with nothing and coming out with something is a good feeling,” he claims that the band does not focus too much on the act of making the recordings but more on actually making music, capturing, refining and releasing. Thus, fans have the opportunity to connect with Rival Sons as if they are actually there in the studio.

The concept behind one of the album’s singles “Keep on Swinging”—whose video has close to a half-million views on YouTube—is also based on a fighting term (the result of which is the K.O. Haymaker). “Keep on Swinging” is about endurance, commitment, and dedication. According to Buchanan, “Once the boxer gets past the point of strategy because he’s been in the ring so long fighting many rounds, he’s so exhausted but says ‘I’m just going to put my head down and keep swinging my arms.’ Things may get tough, the odds may feel against you at times, and you may be exhausted, but instead of giving up, keep swinging your arms and “many fights have been won like that,” he says confidently.

In January the band will be touring Canada and following the US shortly after, but Buchanan is hesitant to reveal for what act they’ll be opening. “I’d love to play with the Stones,” says Buchanan. No doubt, they will be supporting an A-list act very soon.

In the meantime, the busy LA band will be recording yet another new album in the next few months and hopes to be touring heavily in 2013. Psst! Keep your eyes open for a possible show in Los Angeles early next year at the Echo. My guess; there may be some surprise guests in attendance.

Jay Bucnanan – Vox
Scott Holiday – Guitar
Robin Everhart – Bass
Mike Miley – Drums

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