Rival Sons Will Make You Love Rock N Roll Music, Again


Photographed by Jason Miller-8

Rival Sons are the greatest rock n roll band on the planet right now. There, I said it. And I’m not the only one who supports this bold statement. The folks who witness this band live are saying the same thing over and over again. So why are they not a household name yet?

These guys hail from Long Beach but who the hell would have any idea since the band are bona fide superstars all across Europe and signed to the death metal label Earache Records. Rival Sons have a, dare I say, “classic” rock sound that is somewhere between Zeppelin (Song Remains the Same/ Physical Graffiti era) crossed with the Black Crowes, and something else I can’t seem to put my finger on—oh, wait a minute—originality and amazing songwriting. I had almost forgotten what that sounds like.

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It’s like a giant classic rock joint rolled out of The Who, Zeppelin, and The Doors, sprinkled with non-stop grooves. You have to see them live to believe how good these guys are. The genius of singer Jay Buchanan and guitarist Scott Holiday have been called the modern day equivalent of a Page/ Plant or Jagger Richards combo, but it’s really not as clichéd as it sounds. These guys have the look, the songs, the energy, and the coolness factor to be the next big thing.

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I couldn’t make the show in my hometown of San Francisco at The Fillmore, but I happened to be in Las Vegas last week and caught their mind-blowing live show at The Hard Rock Hotel’s intimate venue Vinyl. These guys don’t mess around and come out of the gate swinging with the all guns blazing opening cut “Electric Man” which is also first track from the band’s brilliant new record Great Western Valkyrie.

These two guys were born to play music with one another. They feed off of each other’s vibes perfectly as if they had been doing this for years. The setlist that night would rely heavily on the new record frontloading the set with the powerhouse first half of the new record. Then there is the song “Good Things” which in my opninion could be the band’s finest moment both live and on record. This is the kind of song that offers hope and I would think it’s only a matter of time before some television producer licenses this song out for delivering a powerful global message during a time of daily ups and downs.

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I have seen Rival Sons three times over the past few years and they continue to get better and better. The question remains, why has the band not shared the massive success they have in the UK with their home country here in the US? I asked that very question to one of the band’s hardcore Facebook Fan Groups. I received more than 75 replies in less than 24 hours. Here are a few highlights.

“If they stopped all US gigs and just played Europe & possibly Japan- The U.S. media would soon be all over them…. “

“Like I said before, Hendrix had NO appreciation over here. Once he tore up Europe, the US finally caught on!”

“I feel like it’s a climate of the times right now. If RS were to put music out in the 90’s. It would have been a different story. To me they are growing their success. Anyone I talk to about RS. If they know them They gush about them. They came to my town of Winnipeg in 2012 and the bar was half packed. That was on the Pressure and Time tour. When they came back on the HD tour in 2013, the same bar was packed.”

“I’ve seen them Live (incredible!) and their recordings are the same. It’s honestly very strange and I have no explanation.”

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I’m not sure what the answer is but I think it’s only a matter of time until it comes down to marketing. I love the fact that Earache Records took a chance on the band, but it begs the question, is this right label for the band? I am a big fan of Earache and all that they do, but their niche is clearly outside of the realm of what Rival Sons do and even though the label is supporting the band big time, they folks who follow that label and the community that Earache has built and thrived upon is clearly at this point not the right audience for the band. In my opinion it might be time to step over to a label that can take this band to the next level here in the states.

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Bottom Line: It’s the closest thing to Zeppelin we will ever see again. These guys are bona fide rock starts in another dimension and slowly crossing over to earth. Don’t miss this one folks.

The band’s new album Great Western Valkyrie is a modern epic masterpiece of rock and available now. Get it on vinyl as it sounds fantastic. Check out more shots from the live show in the gallery.

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Jason Miller
Jason Miller

Jason Miller is a leading digital B2B marketer, who’s held senior roles at LinkedIn, Marketo, and ActiveCampaign. Before entering the B2B space, he spent ten years at Sony, developing and executing marketing campaigns around the biggest names in music. He is a prolific keynote speaker, digital marketing instructor at UC Berkeley, and best-selling author. Also an accomplished rock concert photographer, his work appears in books, magazines, and album covers.

9 thoughts on “Rival Sons Will Make You Love Rock N Roll Music, Again”

  1. I am living life now that some real rock has came on the scene. When you have a band that puts out this beautiful music, it gives you hope and something too look forward to like their next album. They just keep getting better.

  2. Thomasina McNaughton

    I’m from the UK, where Rival Sons have a massive following, because in the UK, we still have radio stations that play rock music, and we also have a vibrant rock music scene. I don’t agree with your assertion that Earache are not the right label for the band, because most major labels don’t know how to market a bona fide rock band, which is why you are overrun with Bieber, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Rhianna and all that appalling corporate bollocks. Most major record labels think rock music is Coldplay (don’t even go there) I have one thing to say to underline my point: The Kings of Leon – fantastic band, switched to a major label and look at the drivel they churn out now. What a waste. Bigger aint always better.

  3. Saw them in Solana Beach, Ca two weeks ago. Maybe the best live band I’ve seen in 20 years. Can’t remember when I was more blown away by a show. Maybe U2 on the Joshua Tree tour, but they were already playing arenas. Seeing them in a 500 person venue was incredible. A

  4. Pingback: Rock ‘n’ roll – RIVAL SONS Live in Luxembourg! | LunVision's blog

  5. These guys are great. There is so much great REAL rock music out there… along these lines…check out SF’s Lee Gallagher & The Hallelujah! KICK ASS Rock n Roll

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