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Robin, thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions! Here we go:
Your new CD Head Down will be released in Germany on September 14th 2012 through Earache Records. Congratulations, a great album! Are you satisfied with the feedback you got until now?
Absolutely, tho, it’s not really about the feedback. Don’t get me wrong, the feedback is nice! But really, it’s just the joy of making the record to me.
Could you please tell our readers something about the songs - who wrote them, what are they about in the lyrics, what were your inspirations?
Well, we all wrote the music together, and Jay wrote all the lyrics – so I can’t really comment on the lyrics. Plus, I don’t really listen to lyrics – I’m more of a groove guy. We channelled some Humble Pie, Brenda Lee, Staples Singers. We also watched a bunch of “Breaking Bad” at night after we recorded.
How long does the recordings for this CD take (all in all)?
22 days, I think...
What were the very special moments for you on your way from the very first ideas to the finished album?
Personally, getting my bass tone with Dave Cobb (producer) and Vance Powell (engineer) was really fun. We used a really old DI box from the Quonset Hut that could have been used by Brenda Lee, or Simon and Garfunkel, or Johnny Cash. I also remember the electricity of the first (and only) take recording, Jordan. Jay was in the vocal booth both singing and playing acoustic, the rest of us were in the main room and after a couple false starts, our first full take was the keeper!
One of my favourite tracks is Jordan. I really love it, it´s very special, so gentle and emotional. Could you please tell me a little bit more about the origin of this song, respectively about its lyrics?
Again, Jay writes all the lyrics, and actually that song in total. So he may have a better story, but it obviously is the story of someone very important to you dying, and how to release any sadness about their passing with the affirmation of their faith. Just a nice little allegorical story in three-quarter time.
The CD cover looks great. Who had the idea for it and who designed it?
Thank you, yeah, I think it does too! Scott found Jason Holley on the internet while searching for “Great Album Art,”- or something. There was a piece he already had on his website that we all really loved and thought fit the feel of the record. So after a couple conversations he did a variation, and there you have it.
Your CD Pressure And Time got very good critics. Is it easier to start work on the next album after those positive reactions or do you feel some kind of pressure, to be even better with the next release?
I don’t think it will ever get easier – and we really don’t want it to, either. If it ever get’s that easy – we should stop. I feel that there should be some struggle, or mega-partying, or something other than, ‘easy.’ We try and infuse our music with the feelings and immediacy of the day. So, I guess, in conclusion, if anything, there was more pressure to make sure to follow up strong, put our best foot forward and come thru with a great Rival Sons record.
In the last months you have played a lot concerts and festivals. How was the tour? Great new experiences, fun and also a little bit stress?
We’re always playing. LOTS of concerts. LOTS of festivals. We’re always collecting all kinds of great experiences – this summer some highlights were playing 600 miles from the north pole on a stage right beside the beach, playing both Rock Am Ring at that historic racetrack (I walked it all!) and Rock Im Park with all it’s history too...
Could you please introduce your band mates and describe each of them in two-three words?
Sure, we’ve got Miley on drums who’s like a Manic Pinball. Scott Holiday on guitar is a Musical Surfer. And Jay Buchanan is like a Stoic 12-Year Old. I’m White Chocolate.
You are the bass player of the band. How many bass guitars do you own, do you have a special favourite?
I have 10 electrics and an electric upright. 4 vintage Fenders, a hot-rod purple Sadowsky, a Lakland Skyline Pbass I’m trying to sell, actually, a fake Hofner, a 6-string Roscoe which is the bass I’ve owned the longest (since ’97) a 5-string Kenneth Lawrence fretless, and my brand new Yamaha BB2024X that I’m looking forward to breaking in on this tour.
My favourite would definitely be my 1959 Fender P Bass – it was refinished back in the 60’s with what must be light blue house paint over the original sunburst finish that all crazy-worn all over and just resonates so well. I call her, “Bernadette."
Which bands and musicians would you name as your greatest influences?
Any of Miles Davis' bands and their different incarnations. Miles was such an amazing bandleader and re-invented himself so many times, and was WAY ahead of the curve and really helped shape modern music.
The Funk Brothers and all those Motown writers from back in the day - Holland, Dozier, Holland. Smokey Robinson. Those were some golden years of American song right there. Also their arranging was phenomenal! James Brown. His early soul stuff, too, but mostly the transition years '68-'70 when he went from Jabo and Fred Thomas to Clyde and Bootsy. That was some FIRE.
What are your future plans - short-term and long-term?
I'm not really afforded the chance to have a lot of plans - kind of have to take it as it comes. But, I'd really love to see my parents, my brother, do some skiing, get off the road, do some other projects, buy a house. Lots of things I'd like to do, it's just getting the time, you know?
What are your personal Top 3 CDs at the moment?
Who listens to CD's anymore? ;) Just kidding... I'm really into Raphael Saadiq's, Stone Rollin, right now. I'm just starting to digest Squarepusher's, Solo Electric Bass 1, getting back to my solo bass dorkishness. And, honestly, probably mostly because I have to relearn it before we hit the road, but I'm listening to Rival Sons' , Head Down, quite a bit too!
Is there anything you would like to add to this interview?
Nope. Good questions. Thanks for that. And thank all you out there in the interwebz - shout at me.
Thanks for your time. We wish you and the band all the best and a lot of success with the CD!!
Photos ©2012 by Earache Records