15th Feb2013

Interview with Rival Sons’ Lead Singer Jay Buchanan

by rockchicago


Interviewed by Alex Kluft

Alex Kluft: I saw you with Rival Sons at Rock On The Range last Summer, that was a great performance.

Jay Buchanan: We had come down that day from Toronto. We drove straight down, and we didn’t really have any sleep. We showed up there, played, did a bunch of press, a couple photoshoots, and then we took off and drove right back up to Canada to play some more shows up there. It was quite a day though.
AK: You just came back from a big European tour, how did that go?

JB: It was 40, 41 days, something like that and 36 shows. It was pretty grueling. Things are getting pretty crazy out there for us. We have a lot to be thankful for. We had a great crowd each night, and there was a lot of press. The fans are just incredible.

AK: How did become so big in the U.K.?

JB: The label that we ended up signing with is based out of Nottingham in the U.K. All of the connections like our publicist were already involved with the European and U.K. market. For us in Europe, we can tour 19 countries in a month. In the states you could do in Texas for a month alone, and that would be a whole different tour. It’s like Texas then head up north towards you guys and hit more states. Were planning hitting the states really hard in January and February. The record came out last September in Europe and the U.K. I think it just came out in Canada.
AK: It seems like the albums doing very well overseas.

JB: Ya, its doing well. We have a lot of great fans. That makes everything a lot easier. The crowds are doubling and were selling out all over the place, you feel like you’re in a movie or something.
AK: How was playing the Download Festival?

JB: It was fun. We played a sh*tload of festivals in Europe and the U.K. in the past year. Its always a trip being on a bill with all of these different bands, hanging out with them in catering and backstage. It’s really something. You realize what a small world it is.
AK: Do you get watch any of the bands you want to see?

JB: Absolutely, if you got the time. If our tour routing allows us to. Sometimes it doesn’t. It could be play your time slot then leave because we have a 9 hour drive. It’s like show up, play your set, do 1.5 hours of press then get back in the van and hit the road. It’s really nice when you get to check out the other bands. We’ve gotten to see some great bands. This past summer we got to see Soundgarden, the Refused, Queens of The Stone Age. It’s inspiring to see these bands nail it. They’ve been around a lot longer than us. You get to see how it gets better.
AK: How did you get into the blues in the beginning?

JB: It really came from hearing Robert Johnson when I was 8 or 9. I was always a music freak. I had a bunch of vinyls. He sounded like a ghost to me. It had that feel. From there I heard Blind Willie Johnson, you want to talk about sounding ghostly. Then you get other artists like Blind Willie McTell who don’t sound scary at all. I fell in love with it. It’s the blues, it’s the truth, that’s what it always felt like. They’re singing about their troubles, and singing about their girls. Whatever there singing about, they could be telling stories it always sounds true.
AK: Would you site blues/rock bands like The Yardbirds and Cream as influences?

JB: Absolutely. For me I grew up on the blues, I never really got into the British Invasion. The one bad I did like as a kid was the Animals, because I liked Eric Burdon’s voice so much. It was so commanding. People never talk about Eric Burdon, or Van Morrison for Rock. Van Morrison could crush all those guys with one hand vocally.
AK: What was it like opening for Judas Priest?

JB: About a year and a half ago we toured with Priest, that was really interesting. It was cool, but I was never really a Priest guy. It’s pretty far away from the Blues. The other guys were like “Priest, ya! Living After Midnight!, Breaking the Law!” We didn’t know what was going to happen, because we don’t play metal we play Rock N’ Roll, and we were put on this tour. We were thinking “Were going to get in front of all these heavy metal fans opening up for metal royalty, what is going to happen?” “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but lets do it.” Rob Halford and everyone in the band was so cool and nice. They were really complimentar. Priest’s audience was incredible and supportive. At that point I wasn’t familiar with heavy metal at all. We’ve played Hellfest and Sweden Rock Festival where it’s all metal. These are the nicest, coolest, and most understanding people.
AK: What was your key to success?

JB: I don’t man, I really don’t know.  I took this band on as a side project when we got together. I thought we were just going to play some shows around L.A. I had never been in a Rock N’ Roll band before, I never wanted to be. For me it was “just have some fun,” because I was doing other things. Out of nowhere everyone started losing their sh*t, everyone started getting crazy about us. The thing I always try to tell people is just try to be yourself, and be as hard on yourself as possible when it comes to songwriting, and your technique, and It’s what you do. Don’t worry about your clothes or any of that stuff, just try to tell the truth, that’s all people want to hear. When they come to see you to play, they’re not just there to be entertained, they came there for a f#$%ing crucifixion, they want blood, they want everything you have, and you gotta give it to them. Always give everything.
AK: Do you have anything else coming up?

JB: We just released a video last month. Our album Head Down is coming out in the States in March. We don’t have anything going until January as far as a tour.
Don’t miss Rival Sons at Schubas This coming Monday the 18th.

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