Segarini: Rival Sons – Finally leading Rock into the 21st Century Part Two

The Bobcast Bob May 6th 2013 Cropped“…the ‘classic’ rock artists themselves recorded new material. And worse, the ‘classic’ rock bands could STILL fill large venues, some could even sell out stadiums, but the ‘classic’ rock fans did, and still do, something I find very puzzling…when the bands would play their latest material, the crowd would lose interest, go get a beer, hit the bathrooms, or just drift off until the intro to a hit from decades ago careened off the stage. The roar would be deafening, the crowd would be on its feet, and that old magic would feel almost like it did the first time you heard the song. …and suddenly, it wasn’t just about the music anymore. Maybe it was about the past. Maybe it was about our youth. Maybe it was nostalgia, not music, that filled the arenas. And a horrible thought presented itself. Maybe rock was dead.” Part One can be found HERE

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Rival Sons Classic Rock Cover I do not know what possesses me to continue to seek out new music and music I may have missed the first time around. I have asked myself why I do it and have yet to come up with a satisfying answer. Most of my peers (and sadly, many friends and acquaintances decades younger than myself) are fervent in their belief that the “best music has already been made”, and that “nothing of any worth” has come out since the ‘60s, or ‘70s. or ‘80s, depending on who is arguing with me at the time. They also name check an artist or artists by whom all music is to be judged. It is almost always the Holy Sextet of Rock’s Immortal Heroes

The Beatles

The Stones

Led Zeppelin

Pink Floyd

Jimi Hendrix

The Who

There are alternatives of course, and the younger ‘music fans’ always cite Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and a few other artists as the end-all and be-all architects of Rock’s foundation. I beg to differ.

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First of all, they almost always fail to realize that those very artists were informed and influenced by artists and music that came long before they did…long before they had their first fans or nailed their first groupie…long before their popularity made them ubiquitous in the eyes and minds of the self-professed “Music Fans”. Music Fans Second of all, if they are unaware of the history of the music they adamantly define as ‘classic’, and are reluctant or not interested in continuing to seek out music made after a certain date on a Snap-On-Tool calendar, that, in truth, they are merely fans of, and long Horse Poopfor and miss, their youth. That they are more concerned with recapturing it through the music that was popular during their pre-teens, teens, and twenties than they are in the music itself. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. …but telling me you are a Music Fan is hard to believe when I am also told about all the music that has come since their self-imposed cut-off  date, “sucks”. Really? All of it?

Horse poop.

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The strangest aspect of the entire debate as to whether or not rock has already peaked, withered, and died, is the same one that confuses me when it comes to the dismissal and ‘hate’ levelled at JJ Abrams’ retooling of the Star Trek universe and its previous canon. The Shat and The Pine What Abrams has done with the franchise is one of the cleverest and most considerate re-imaginings of a beloved pantheon ever devised. Not only does it show the highest regard for what has gone before, it has left that history intact, neither changing it in any way, nor resorting to cheap theatrics, or trying to re-create the nostalgic look and feel of Rodenberry’s original vision. What he has done instead, is take Star Trek where no Star Trek has gone before…and I for one applaud his vision and his delivery on that vision.   In other words, the new star Trek is in many ways better than the original, but at the same time, does not ask the lovers of what has gone before to accept it at the cost of losing their love of the previous incarnation. It is in addition to what has gone before. Not a replacement. Yet as easy as it is to understand what he has done, regardless of how many times it is explained to the public, there is a large percentage of ‘Star Trek’ fans that are angry, disappointed, and demeaning to Abrams’ resulting gift. In other words…are they really Star Trek fans…or just nostalgic for the past? Their Star Trek has not been besmirched in any way, has not been compromised, yet they rail against the current version with unabated hostility. Haters Gonna Hate And many fans of Star Trek are missing out by judging it against their memories, against what had gone before, what they remember feeling when they first watched it. And because of that, they deny themselves to even try to enjoy something new, something wonderful, something that ADDS to what they presumably love without taking anything away from their youth. No one can take your past away from you.

Not Abrams.

Not your middle age.

Not the Internet or television.

…and not Rival Sons.

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Rival Sons Valkyrie If you have done your homework, you already know I love the music this band makes, and follow every release and appearance with great pleasure. My respect for them grows as their music evolves, and my enjoyment of their performances and recordings is based not on a favourite song from a previous show or recording, but on the absolute certainty that they will be doing something they haven’t done before, musically or otherwise, and that they do not depend on a formula or strict set of rules they have imposed on themselves in order to placate their existing fans. They are evolving. They are self-contained. What they do is not premeditated or informed by a desire to be rich and famous. They are driven, focused, and, for lack of a better word, daredevils, when it comes to taking chances, musical and otherwise. These motherfuckers are FEARLESS.

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The first time I saw Rival Sons was at Cherry Cola’s Rock and Rolla Cabaret and Lounge, a club that barely has room for 100 people, and a stage that doesn’t look like it has enough room to hold even a set of drums.

There are many things that set Cherry’s apart from most rock venues, not the least of which is an amazing amount of care and knowledge invested in the sound equipment, speakers, and the men who use that equipment to afford the best sound possible. I have heard dozens, maybe 100s of bands in this venue, and regardless of the musical content (which has been astonishingly of the highest quality) the sound is always crisp, clear, and meaty…unless an artist defeats it themselves by not being professional enough to ‘play to the room’.

To add pressure to the the rapturous way they were described to me, my expectations were further raised by the absolute confidence emanating from the band. Not arrogance, or a continual stream of self-assuring “trust, me, we’re amazing” brags that are almost always a tip off that the expectations will NOT be met, but the kind of confidence that allowed them to be regular guys, not discussing music or their music at all, but just being happy to be there, being accessible, enjoying the company and a cold drink…it was refreshing to meet a band who didn’t hide in the shadows to build their ‘mystery’, or try and convince the crowd that they were great…they gave off the feeling that the music would speak for itself and that we shouldn’t worry. And they proved 2 bars into the first song what we needn’t have worried in the slightest.

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With each release and live show, Rival Sons continue to let their music prove that we do not have to worry.

Every recording is a step up and contains directions the previous recordings did not. Every picture shows a band evolving in look as well as sound, not willing to stay stagnant, not interested in adhering to preconceptions, not fearful that a mustache grown or removed, a hair style needed to define them, or a clothing style to be embraced, they constantly shift, change, evolve, and march to their own drummer…in this case, Mike Miley, who says;

Mike giving Steven Tyler a drum lesson…Yup! Miley and Stevie “I love that we have so many professional rock and roll stylists as fans of Rival Sons! Please submit your resumes/CV’s to us! We’re lost and need your help! To some we look pretentious, others we need to grow our hair long to emulate 70’s rock heroes, etc. I’m so sorry rock image has evolved past a stuck, old and dusty, worn out image of hair past the shoulders; SO thankful for your concern! As if the music depended on your interpretation of how we should look. I’d say we look pretty damn handsome! Oh shit! I sound pretentious now! There’s no way out!!! “‘Smart Phone Critics’ is an oxymoron”

Yes, Virginia…the Intertoobz DO need a sarcasm font.

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The whole point of this is a pretty simple one. My biggest concern is saying it in such a way that it puts a jinx on what I believe or causes the band to be self-conscious. My fervent hope is that what needs to happen just happens, instead of being smacked down by those non-music fans who so smugly assure us daily that everything worth hearing has already come to pass, is history, is complete. Those same people who, for years made fun of, and ridiculed the Ramones, only to express their deepest sympathy at the passing of the last original member. Real fans of the Ramones know who they are, and those who came late to the game, well, I will believe your fondness for them now, and trust you really know how important their music impacted on musicians and the audience who first embraced them.   There are an amazing amount of worthy artists currently. Many of them are just under the radar, gathering fans and followers one audience at a time, one person at a time, slogging it out with endless touring, difficult decisions, hard work and lonely nights in interchangeable hotel rooms. Rival Sons Mod Club July 2014 In the past, there has been one breakthrough artist, one musical moment, one revelatory  occurrence, one THING, that opens the door for what follows.

A gaggle of Blue Eyed crooners

A Folk Scare

A British Invasion

A San Francisco psychedelic world-wide Be-In

A Florida enabled Band of Boys

A Plaid clad guitar hero flood

All it takes is that thing that kicks open the door, that says, “Hey! Check all of this out!” Something that proves that it ain’t all over now, Baby Blue, that there is a future, that there ARE places where no one has gone before…that haven’t been fully explored. …and in my heart, my mind…and my ears. That thing is here. Rival Sons Mod Club That thing is Rival Sons.

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Jay Mod Club

Jay Buchanan Interview http://www.trebuchet-magazine.com/rival-sons-interview/

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Segarini’s regular column appears here every Friday whenever he can finish one in time. Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com DBAWIS ButtonBob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, and continues to write music, make music, and record. cherrycolas_logo1

2 Responses to “Segarini: Rival Sons – Finally leading Rock into the 21st Century Part Two”

  1. Brent Chancey Says:

    Great piece brother well written.

  2. Alan McLaren Says:

    I really think this band is special for their timeframe. I would put them up against Zep and the rest in the song writing. I think that they really have something special. Everyone that I know that is exposed to this band always has a strong positive reaction. You would think that Rival Sons have been around for decades. For me I think its that they are able to construct great songs, that can go toe to toe with the classics. Rival Sons don’t write weak songs. Once again.

    Everyone that I know is exposed to Rival Sons touts their success. They have hit a goldmine. For the modern age with new music being made. Rock and Roll is scarce in the mainstream.

    30 yrs ago I was a kid. Pop/Rock could co-exist. Now in 2014. The record industry is now pushing for less diversity. I do notice that most of the hits in the last couple of years does not have that diversity it once had. Add to that the song quality is lacking. Rival Sons and some others if you mine for it. Are waking up the world that Rock and Roll is here.

    I hope that Rival Sons can inspire more bands to play their instruments and kick out timeless gems.

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