I’m gonna tell you a secret. RIVAL SONS is the reason I began writing my column.
It was the summer of 2014, just after the release of their latest album, Great Western Valkyrie. I had been a RIVAL SONS fan for a while at that point, but this new album amplified every positive feeling I’d ever had for their music. It was brilliant. From beginning to end, the artistry, the songwriting, the grooves and riffs, the journeys the songs took you on hearing
it for the first time made me feel like how I always imagined it must
have felt for people in the 60’s and 70’s, when they rushed home from the record store to play a new album they had never heard before just sitting and consciously experiencing new music. It felt like the resurrection of rock ’n’ roll.
The album was just so great that it put me in a headspace where I needed to share it with people. I brought the album into work, and played it for my coworkers in between shifts. I started with “Destination On Course”, and they were all blown away. By the second or third song, phones were coming
out and they were all downloading the full album off of iTunes. (Yes, it’s that good.) In that moment, I got such a rush from sharing music I loved with other people, and I felt like I was seeing how
I could somehow make a small difference in “keeping rock alive”, while supporting an amazing band climbing its way up the ladder.
I was hooked on sharing great music. A few weeks later, the first installment of my column was published in Steppin’ Out Magazine.
Fast forward a little less than two years later. Today, if you’re a rock fan you’ve heard of RIVAL SONS. You’re probably familiar with their hits “Pressure and Time”, “Keep On Swinging”, “Open My Eyes”, and their latest hit “Electric Man”. And hopefully you’ve seen them live. A live RIVAL SONS show is an experience in and of itself.
RIVAL SONS is currently on a world tour as the main support for BLACK SABBATH’s final “The End” tour. They will be in thearea on February 25th & 27th, when they play Madison Square Garden in New York City. The tour returns to New Jersey in August— August 19th at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, and August 23rd at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel. Make sure you go see them. And if you’re unfamiliar with their music, take the leap and grab their latest album Great Western Valkyrie. Start there.
RIVAL SONS drummer MICHAEL MILEY took some time to chat with me…
Q: What are you most excited to do in 2016?
MICHAEL MILEY (drummer of RIVAL SONS): Hmmm. I can’t decide if it’s touring with Black Sabbath or releasing our new album on Earache Records in May! Both are extremely exciting.
Q: Describe the recording process for RIVAL SONS’ new album. How was it similar to or different from past albums?
MILEY: Pretty much exactly the same— limited time, no songs pre-written, with a song-a-day mentality. We finished this one in less than a month.
Q: What is your favor- ite RIVAL SONS song?
MILEY: Mine?! Haha. That would probably have to be “Face of Light”. Funny thing is I disliked it when we were tracking it. It wasn’t ‘til we played it live that I felt the magic.
Q: What is your favorite song to play live and why?
MILEY: I think I’d have to say “Keep On Swinging”, because it’s got everything. It’s action packed great melody, great riff, great groove, deep yet playful, a great middle section, and a big building outro. That song has been very successful for us.
Q: What is your favorite non – RIVAL SONS song?
MILEY: “In My Life” – The Beatles.
Q: Who is your biggest musical influence as a drummer? Collectively as a band?
MILEY: Keith Moon. We all meet in the middle with blues and soul music. So I’d say Howlin’ Wolf would be our collective influence.
Q: RIVAL SONS is currently the main support for BLACK SABBATH’s final world tour. If you could sum up your emotions using only a song title, what would it be?
MILEY: “I’m So Excited” – Pointer Sisters. Haha.
Q: How did this tour with BLACK SABBATH come about for RIVAL SONS?
MILEY: We played the Classic Rock Maga- zine Awards, and Ozzy and Sharon were there. I guess we impressed them!
Q: How do you and the boys get pumped up for a live show?
MILEY: We all have our own rituals, especially me and Jay
(lead singer). I do a lot of warm up; about two hours before I practice, I do some CrossFit exercises, yoga, calisthenics, jump rope, anything to break a sweat and warm me from the core. Rock drumming is pretty athletic and I like that. I treat
it as such— pre and post prep, icing, lots of sleep and recovery.
Q: On tour, what do you enjoy doing in between shows?
MILEY: Eat and Sleep! Our “off” days are sacred we work hard, so battery recharge is a must. A couple times a tour, we try and do a band/crew dinner. Breaking bread is important. In the summer, we’ll even roll the bus into a campground once or twice, and BBQ and swim and stuff.
Q: What are you most excited to experience on this upcoming tour?
MILEY: An increase of fans, of course. I think we’re gonna play for over a million people collectively