Given that California’s Rival Sons finally hit pay dirt with 2014’s Great Western Valkyrie, it would come as little surprise if they blocked out much of 2016 to write and record its follow up, Hollow Bones.
Instead it’s business as usual, with the band and longtime producer Dave Cobb giving themselves a meagre 30 days to write, record and mix album five, squeezing it in between support tours with Deep Purple and Black Sabbath.
As guitarist Scott Holiday explains, that’s just how Rival Sons roll…
“No one tells us how long to go into the studio for or how many songs to record,” he says. “Everybody understands how we do business. It’s a blessing that we can get in and get out of there. It plagues a project if you spend too long in the studio. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”
Holiday is adamant that while some may prefer to agonise over each and every track, pulling riffs, verses and choruses apart, Rival Sons are all about getting their blistering live vibe onto tape as quickly as possible and then getting the hell out of there.
“You can always do another version but you need to adjust your thinking,” he says. “Making a record is about capturing a wild animal rather than building a perfect construction. We’re trying to throw a net over that animal. If we gave ourselves six months, that’s a lot of wild animals, man!”
And that extends to Holiday’s guitar work. Nothing is over-thought and over-processed here. The riffs aren’t slaved over for weeks or months, chopped up and put back together… instead 24 hours is more than enough for an initial idea to turn into a swaggering rocker, and he’s confi dent that there’s plenty of those on Hollow Bones.
“I’m very off the cuff. I’ll go home and think about riffs for the next day and that’s where a lot of the riffier ideas come from. I’m excited for people to hear this record. It’s a different record for us. The momentum of it is way different to the last record. There’s some groove and feel to this record that was previously unexplored by us.”
You may see him with an almighty stack of Orange cabs on stage, but Holiday opted for something a little smaller in the studio.
“I always experiment with my tone,” he says. “A lot of people think if it ain’t broke don’t fix it but for me there’s too many good things out there to think like that. I’m not keen on using big amps in the studio. I use combos and stick to a couple of amps. Everything went down with a Magnatone Twilighter with overdubs done through a Supro Coronado.”
Just in case Holiday needed any inspiration to give his all on Hollow Bones, he surely found it watching Tony Iommi kill it night after night on while opening for Sabbath on their farewell tour.
“Tony is playing great, even better than I expected. It’s like 1973 Tony Iommi, nothing is missing, it’s so inspiring knowing you can do it that well for that long and I hope to emulate that.”
Rival Sons’ new album, Hollow Bones, is out on 10 June.