Scott Holiday Talks With Blurred Culture Ahead Of Rival Sons Headlining Gig At The Wiltern And Check Out Our Unpublished Photos From Their Show At Fonda Theatre 5/9/19!
LOS ANGELES, CA- This week, Long Beach, CA rockers Rival Sons will be wrapping up the current leg of their domestic tour in support of their latest album Feral Roots in Los Angeles with two performances: Thursday with a headlining gig at The Wiltern and Friday for an intimate conversation and performance at the Grammy Museum. Their lead guitarist, Scott Holiday, spent some time chatting with Blurred Culture ahead of their gig in San Diego on Tuesday and we talked a little about life on the road, the album and staying plugged with his family.
Hey Scott, that’s so much making the time to speak with us! Rival Sons is currently wrapping up a tour with Stone Temple Pilots, and then taking a month off before you head back across the Atlantic to tour Europe (again) throughout November. It feels like whenever I check your social media accounts, you guys are constantly on the road. Since the release of Feral Roots, by my count, you’ve been out on tour every single month. You guys are some serious road warriors.
That’s kind of what we do. We stay on the road, not because … that’s what we do. That’s how we make a living. We make records and we tour. We write these records, and we play them live for people. We don’t write them just so people can listen to them. We write them thinking about how this is going to come off live, and how we’re even going to do it better. How we’re going to do it different … then we take it out on tour, and it turns into something new. Every tour we switch sets up, and change things around, and everything take a different shape and form. It’s kind of like growing your kids up.
That kind of grind can’t be easy. Especially for you and your families. What do you guys do to stay grounded?
This has been an interesting year for me. It’s really difficult being away from family. The way I dealt with such a difficult year was I struck up a healthy dose of sobriety because I think that when we get too down, or away too long, intoxicating can become a problem. It’s never been a problem for me. I spent a good portion of my life sober, and I kinda got off track… so staying sober helps me deal being away so much.
Being a full-time dad, I just have to be ready at any moment. If the children are sick or things need to get done, I’m managing home life from the road at all times. I don’t unplug at all, to be honest. I’ll speak to the children before they’re going to school, that could be at 4 in the morning for me in Europe, or in the early evening, it gets weird when you’re in different parts of the world, but sobriety makes it that I’m always sharp and always present for my children for any situation that’s thrown at me.
You’ve probably talked about it ad naseum with other outlets, but can you shed light on the inspiration of your latest album Feral Roots? I know Jay has talked about living by the “getting back to nature” ethos. What’s your take?
That concept was something that Jay came up with. For the song and the album. I think a lot of people want to draw the analogy that for us getting back to our “feral roots” of rock and roll, but to me […] What’s really happening is that Jay had a concept of human nature. The idea for life and connecting with a deeper part of ourselves, and how that feels. We can draw the analogy of art if we want to. It’s important in our art, and any walk of life, to connect with that raw and visceral, pure part of ourselves. That song and this album title, we’re calling that “Feral” which most people think as “wild and crazy”, and at the root of us, there’s a really “wild” part of us. It doesn’t mean we’re going to go crazy and run naked down the street…
It’s just like basic human nature.
Correct. And it was for art. It’s purely for the song and for the art.
As I said before, you guys are heading back out to Europe in November. You actually started the Feral Roots tour campaign in the UK back in January. In terms of your live show, does the reaction to certain songs vary from UK audiences to US audiences? Do you ever notice certain songs getting different reactions in different countries?
Yeah. Even in The States, I’ll notice certain songs hitting better in different territories. If we play Detroit, where we’ve had great fans since the beginning of our career, they’re on the current single. We might play “Too Bad” somewhere, and the radio isn’t playing it as much … people who are deep fans, or that are real fans, will react to a song like “Too Bad”. But in Detroit, the song is #1, and they are playing it non-stop. So the audience lights up huge.
There are different nuances too. We can feel certain countries that have dug into certain songs a little bit more. And it’s all a little bit different, but I will say that … I get asked this a lot … what’s the difference with different audiences. Rather than talking about differences, we notice the similarities. It’s amazing. We can be in South Africa or be in Mexico or be in Los Angeles, and really there are more similarities with the audiences when we’re performing. The way people react. Things they want to hear from us. The way they participate. It’s more similar than different. And that’s a beautiful thing. That’s a big deal for us. That’s a big deal to me. No matter where we are, there it is. It’s very universal and you find that when you bring lots of different cultures together, over this one kind of a thing, there’s a real togetherness about it that feels like the right thing.
Good music is always going to resonate. That’s on you guys for making records that people want to hear. What have you been listening to recently? Have you picked up any new vinyl to add to your collection?
I haven’t picked up any vinyl recently. A good friend of mine picked me up a Spooky Tooth record […], but I’ve been out so much, I haven’t bought any vinyl or spent proper time at home listening. And when I go home… right before I started the Feral Roots tour in January, me and Jay were doing radio, and we went to New York. We went to our record label, and one of the perks of being a part of a big prestigious record label is to go into their vault where they keep all of their new and old releases. I got to go in there.
That’s like every crate digger’s dream, dude.
Yeah! It was super fun. And actually, there was a bunch of weird stuff in there. People had put old records in there too! I swear Craig Kallman* dropped his own records in there because there was non-Atlantic Records stuff in there too… that I could take! A bunch of weird stuff. We were like, “You can just leave us in here for a while. You don’t need to stand next to us. We’re gonna make a list!” [Laughing]
*= Craig Kallman is Atlantic Records Chairman & CEO Kallman and is considered one of the world’s leading investors in rare records with a collection of approximately 750,000 records, 150,000 items of music memorabilia and 100,000 compact discs
I’m assuming when you get back from the tour, you’ll spend some time with your kids listening to all of those records.
We get time to come home between stretches for a couple of weeks. We go home for a minute […] I don’t buy 50 records at once. I buy one record at a time. 3 records at a time. I listen to them. I’m not just buying a bunch of old shit. I’m buying stuff that I’m in too, that I’m intrigued by, that I’ve heard of and that I’ve wanted to get in too. I spend time with it. I have this incredible stack of vinyl from my good friends at Atlantic that I’m going to dig into when I get home in December.
You’ve got a busy week in LA. You play the Wiltern Thursday and intimate performance at the Grammy Museum on Friday. Will this be your first time headlining the Wiltern?
It is! I grew up with that venue. I saw tons of great show there. I saw the Mars Volta there on their first record[.] It’s been one of my favorite venues since I was in high school. It’s one of the coolest places. We’re really, really proud to make it ours for the evening. We’ve played a lot of great venues over the years, but it’s always great to come home and headline […] legendary places. It’s important to me. It’s one of those places when you’re coming up that you say, “We’ve got to play there.” [We’ve] played the Hollywood Bowl opening for Black Sabbath, but it’s like saying, “We gotta play the bowl, and make it our house tonight.”
We’ve got a feeling that you guys will soon, Scott. Keep on Rockin’, Rival Sons. We will too.