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Jay Buchanan from Rival Sons Talks Blues, MP3 Players and Recording Albums – Rock on the Range 2012

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One of my interviews at this year’s Rock on the Range was with front man Jay Buchanan of Los Angeles quartet Rival Sons; he talked about how blues music led to rock, how MP3 players are lowering the quality of music and how the band uses a unique process when recording albums.

At first, Jay wasn’t very open or talkative, especially when he got up to get a soda, but once he knew we were actually doing the interview and not just going over the questions he asked to start over and then he was an open book who gave me a great interview.

I opened by asking him about combining blues with rock n’ roll and he emphasized that there would be no rock without blues, which is very true. My father has told me this my whole life and even though I’m not a fan of the blues I appreciate it because it led to other genres. “Rock n’ roll was built on the blues,” he said adding that rock “gets all of its nutrients out of blues.” We talked about legends such as Jerry Lee Lewis and how he helped pave the way for future musicians. Jay spoke very passionately about this. His dark sunglasses kept me from being able to look into his eyes but I could tell through his voice how much it meant to him.

We then got on the subject of CDs and MP3 players and how they are lowering the quality of music nowadays. He commented that CDs are on their way out but that vinyls are making a comeback and Rival Sons are taking an interest in printing vinyls. He went on to say that even though MP3 players and other musical electronics are convenient, that they are worsening the current state of the music business, in addition to making people more impatient and less committed to the music. I told him that I have a Zune to use in the car, but that I have never once downloaded a song. I buy the music and always will, because you’re helping out the band and will have the music forever and anyone who is passionate about music should do the same. He agreed.

So far the band have released one EP and two albums, the latest of which was Pressure and Time, released last year. I asked about plans for an upcoming album. The band is planning for an August or September release but they have not yet come up with a title, but it was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, an area known for their blues music and heritage. “We’re not the band from six years ago,” said Jay, as he commented that as they get bigger and play more shows year after year that they have grown and matured a lot.

The band also have a very different way of recording albums. They go into the studio with no material whatsoever and complete the entire process within a few weeks. Jay said that they come up with their best material when they’re under “pressure and time.” Maybe that’s where they got the title for their latest album? He said that when fans put their album in and hit play that it’s like they are hearing it with the band for the very first time, which he thought was a cool idea.

Rival Sons have backed many bands on tour, including Black Stone Cherry, Evanescence, Judas Priest and Alice Cooper. Although Jay isn’t personally influenced by Cooper, he said it felt good to be supported and hand picked by him as an opening act. Cooper was one of the first ones to play the Sons’ material on his radio show. AC/DC also chose the band to open up for them once.

Jay was a very passionate person who loves what he does. Hopefully his positive attitude never changes!

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