Headed back to town for a show Thursday night at Reggie's, I checked in this week via email with Rival Sons vocalist Jay Buchanan for a candid look at the state of rock music, life on the road and the... intoxicating evening the blues rockers have in store for Chicago Thursday night.
In an era where there's more music readily available than ever before, a great live show has become a critical way for fans to decide which bands are worth their time and bucks. I frequently ramble on in this space at length about the live music that I love... but sometimes, whether they're trying to or not, a band sums up their own live experience better than I could ever hope to.
This is one of the those times.
If reading the email exchange below that I had earlier this week with vocalist Jay Buchanan doesn't make you want to check out Rival Sons this Thursday night at Reggie's (or at the very least serve as a reminder that rock is at its best when it's irreverent and unpredictable)... well than I don't know what will.
What follows is our email exchange unedited and in full...
Q. Rival Sons has a really interesting mixture of players from different backgrounds: On paper, it doesn’t necessarily look like it would work… But obviously on record and on stage it does. Why does it work so well?
Jay Buchanan: I've asked myself that same question. Really? If it works, it works like clickity-clack down the track. I think it's the friction of us trying to make it work that gives it whatever energy it has. Each one of us owns a sonic territory and if anyone is going to trespass it must be done respectfully. Understanding that is crucial to fitting together while maintaining autonomy in a collective.
Q. When I listen to Rival Sons records, one aspect that strikes me is that you guys are really able to capture the element of live performance (that seeming spontaneity and just a rawness that a lot of albums lose to overdubs and the general detachment of the recording studio as opposed to the stage). Is capturing that important to the band?
JB: Getting a framed snapshot of the spontaneous combustion that can sometimes happen between us is really the imperative when making a record. Thankfully, our producer Dave (Cobb) really understands this approach and runs quality control to keep us as honest as we're capable of being. Sure, the music is there but what we're really selling to our audience is energy. All the energy we can conjure.
Q: Rock N’ Roll is in a strange place right now in that there’s not much of it on the charts or in terms of massive sales. That said, I don’t subscribe to the notion that “rock is dead.” What is it exactly that you feel rock is missing (if anything)?
JB: I don't think Rock is missing anything. I would actually state the opposite. Rock music possesses too much. Too many options. Too many tricks. Too much software and too much hardware. Over-medicated and out of shape. Form should follow function. Rock music has become the used car people buy for the flawless paint and luxury interior without looking under the hood. It's the guts. It's all in the guts. She was so hot when she was young and hungry, but now she's too married and too satisfied. No more passionate quickies in restaurant bathrooms, it's all been traded for scheduled sex on the weekends and a blowjob on your anniversary.
Q. Obviously you guys are influenced heavily by the blues. What’s it been like for you performing here in Chicago? Did you get a chance to check out Chess Records or any of the blues clubs?
JB: We've seen the sights. Never enough time to hit the clubs. That's the trouble with touring you know, you're there to work and the work is consuming but the locations are epic. We end up experiencing it all from the window of a bus. I think we might get a night off in town this time around.
Q. Well, you guys will be back in Chicago [Thursday] at Reggie’s. What can fans expect?
JB: Chicago can expect to get drunk and pregnant that night. I love you.
*** This interview was conducted by Jim Ryan
(All details on Thursday's Rival Sons show after the jump)
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Live at Reggie's Rock Club
2105 South State Street
Chicago, IL 60616
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Doors open at 8PM
Also Performing: Apollo House and Blue Dream
17 And Over
Click HERE to purchase tickets