Rival Sons Guitarist Scott Holiday on the Heatwave and Randy Bachman

Holiday 1 If you’ve yet to listen to Rival Sons, now is a great time.  Their high energy, heavy hitting rock n roll is absolutely perfect for cruising down the highway on a sunny day.  They may even be responsible for the heat wave! I had the awesome opportunity to sit down with the incredibly talented guitarist Scott Holiday before he played a near sold out show opening for Halestorm at the Showbox Sodo. We were able to discuss the band’s “Best Weather Luck” a little bit of his guitar history, recording with Randy Bachman and an insight into the band’s creative process.

NWMS: Welcome to Seattle!

Scott Holiday: Thanks!

NWMS: Yeah, how’s the tour been treating you?

Scott Holiday: It’s been alright, man, it’s still brand new. We just did a home show and then we drove to San Francisco and Lizzy’s(Lead vox in Halestorm) voice was out so we had to cancel the show…and it was a sold out show. So we had that day off and then the next day off and then we got into Portland and now we’re here.

NWMS: And it probably feels like home with the heat wave that’s going on.

Scott Holiday: It’s nice. I can’t believe the weather, huh?

NWMS: I know! Just don’t tell anyone it gets nice here, we’re trying to keep the tourists away.

Scott Holiday: We have this reputation with the band (not that we brought the heat wave) but we joke we have the “best weather luck.” We’re constantly in Europe, places like London where it’s just raining nonstop, similarly to Seattle, it’ll be raining all weekend then we’ll show up, and no shit, clouds part, sunshine comes out. We’re always thinking “it’s been like six years of this! We’re so lucky!”

NWMS: Well thanks for bringing the nice weather, man! We need it.

[Laughs]

Holiday 2NWMS: So the editor is super jealous I’m getting to do this interview, he really wants to know what it was like playing guitar on Randy Bachman’s newest record.

Scott Holiday: Yeah, he’s a good friend. It’s weird to make good friends that are big crazy legends like that, as soon as you kinda hang out. It’s kinda weird…there’s always this “inside/outside” perspective. Like an outside perspective you’re kinda going “holy shit. I’m meeting one of my biggest heroes, this legendary guy. What a crazy thing, I’m super excited!”

Then you have this inside effect where you’re meeting a person. Meeting this old fella who’s a nice guy who really digs what you’re doing. I’ve had a few buddies like that, that are just legends. But Randy’s definitely high on that list. It’s like meeting a friend or a buddy. I was absolutely honored that he asked me to do it. Happily did it. Pretty much cut the track live, we didn’t get to record it together. He sent me the track then I got to work with another engineer and came up with all of my bits really off the cuff and sent it back.

But better than doing it I think was how much he enjoyed it when it got to him. That was really fun…that I satisfied one of my heroes, one of my biggest guitar heroes!

NWMS: That’s excellent! He was also curious why you think Rival Sons has such a diverse fan base.

Scott Holiday: Well you can’t really know for sure but we can hypothesize and try to understand why. When the band came out we could generally pull an older audience really quick because I think Rock N’ Roll really seems to have gone away. It seems like this older, 50 year old group heard Rock N Roll again and turned their heads and said, “oh yeah! I remember what it is! That’s Rock N’ Roll, that’s my shit!” Even though we’re not really trying to be “retro” or “throwback” or all of these tags they’re want to throw on us, that’s not really what we’re going for in any shape or form. It’s Rock N’ Roll it has that sounds of Rock N’ Roll. The last time we really heard Rock N’ Roll was awhile ago. So that older audience really picks up on it.

Then you have people who are my age who were brought up with it because their parents grew up with that era. We kinda were that next gen that got it really hard. And now (guys your age)you’re hearing Rock N’ Roll again, it’s all kind of cycled around. So we’ve got lots of younger kids coming in.

So we’ve got a pretty wide fan base as far as age is concerned.

Holiday 3NWMS: Have your previous bands been as influenced by Rock N’ Roll? Or did you really want to do a Rock N’ Roll band?

Scott Holiday: Not really. I’ve done real spacey guitar type of bands. Some Neo-Soul kind of jazz – kind of soul stuff. I’ve done some more electronic kind of stuff. And I’ve done some more straightforward kind of Rock N’ Roll stuff, maybe more like folk or the Songwriter based. More in the Neil Young Zone, a little more Americana than this.

My whole life really started with Rock N’ Roll, Blues and Soul music. And it really just spanned out, fanned out into all sorts of stuff. I started wanting to do stuff with groups, like Hip Hop groups. Stuff like that became interesting for me with guitar. So I started doing stuff like that with hip hop groups. But Rock N’ Roll was really the core of my upbringing with Blues and Rock N’ Roll.

NWMS: Would you say whenever you’re in the Northwest you have a pretty decent turn out?

Scott Holiday: We haven’t been here enough! We’re so elated to be here because we don’t really get out here enough but yeah, Seattle’s got a great Rock N’ Roll scene.

NWMS: Are you guys recording at all? Or plan on recording, any writing?

Scott Holiday: We actually don’t write until we get in the studio…it’s kind of strange there. I’m writing all the time, the singer’s writing all the time, Jay’s writing all the time. So I’ve got kind of a back catalog of riffs and ideas and stuff but I try not to finish them. That way when we get into work that spark is still there that we’re kind of in the moment of creation. It becomes very fresh that what the listener gets is very honest and very off the cuff and we don’t try to overwork anything. With that said there’s plans to make another record but that might go a little longer than we thought because we’re in a little transitional stage with the label with our tour plans.

NWMS: And you’re touring the rest of the summer, through Europe?

Scott Holiday: We tour all the way through the end of August. We’ll be gone for a little bit, come back and deal with some business.

Scott wanted everyone at the Showbox Sodo and all of Rival Sons’ Northwest fans to know Rival Sons was and always is very happy to be in the Pacific Northwest. He does feel bad they don’t get to come up and play here enough but there were promises of a return. He finished by saying if you come out, we’ll come out, it’s a symbiotic relationship. Fortunately Rival Sons is going to be in the area for the rest of the week passing through Idaho, Montana and then Spokane on Saturday before hitting Europe for the rest of the summer.

Alex Stanilla

Alex Stanilla is a writer from Lebanon, Pennsylvania now residing in Seattle, WA. He enjoys cats, pasta, live music, coffee and donuts and trying to write about all of those things. You can catch him at a show or the bar or the bar at the show where he'll somehow find a way to compare whatever band is playing to Elliott Smith. Find him on Twitter at @Kanga_rooBoy