“I saw Rival Sons perform and was very, very impressed. They are one of the best of the up and coming bands in their genre which is why we chose to take them on Black Sabbath’s final tour.”
– Ozzy Osbourne
The Long Beach, California band Rival Sons are currently touring with Black Sabbath on their final tour and its members Jay Buchanan (vocals), Scott Holiday (lead guitar), Mike Miley (drums) and Dave Beste (bass) have embraced the opportunity with everything they have. Being deemed as one of the best up and coming bands by Ozzy Osbourne himself is quite an accomplishment in itself but to also be chosen to open for Black Sabbath on their final tour is another level of acclaim. To have the Prince of Darkness speak so highly of you as a band, what more could the Rival Sons ask for?
We had a chance to speak to Dave Beste, bassist for Rival Sons before the tour started and he told us that this all came about at the Classic Rock Awards in Los Angeles in 2015 when Rival Sons played in front of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. “They came up to us afterwards about doing this tour they hadn’t announced yet and we said we would be interested and then the offer came in a few months later but we were excited and thrilled. We knew it was going to happen for about a year so before they announced it.” Beste expressed how they felt when they received the offer to tour with Black Sabbath and to hear the compliments from Ozzy Osbourne himself. “It felt great, it was unreal. We’ve had a lot of people at that caliber saying things like that about us lately and it’s such a good feeling and it is what we have been ultimately working for all these years.” Beste mentioned how they were looking forward to the tour and since it has kicked off, we are sure they are enjoying it even more than they imagined they would. “We have done really well in Europe when we have toured before and while we also do well in the States, there is still a lot of room for growth in the States” Beste says. “It seems like we are more well known in Europe and that more people come out to see us play when we are over there. The exciting part about opening for Black Sabbath specifically is that we are able to showcase our music to a lot of rock n’ roll fans and we are hoping it brings us more fans in the States as well as in Europe.”
With so many of the bands many of us grew up listening to like Black Sabbath and Motley Crue who have played their final show or are in their current final tour, it opens up room for new bands to be handed the torch to carry and define the rock n’ roll world of today and tomorrow. When asked about filling the shoes of some of these bands that have been around as long as we can remember, Beste had a lot to say. “We really hope we can reach that caliber. The arena rock bands aren’t fading away per say and there are still many bands out there doing it but it feels that way. We just finished playing with Deep Purple in Europe and now with Black Sabbath, having these legendary bands asking us to open for them, it feels like they are passing the torch and we hope they are. We hope we can start where they left off.”
Rival Sons was founded in 2009 but Beste didn’t join the band until 2013. “I knew Jay and Miley for a long time. I had moved all the way to California from Nebraska in 2000 and Jay was the first person I met and they had asked me to come along with them and I had already been a fan of the band so really it was a no brainer” Beste says. “I got to hop on board and play music which is what I wanted to do. I was always a music guy and a rock n’ roll guy and I loved playing bass and these guys are phenomenal in what they do so it was an honor when they asked me to join and it clicked in every way and musically it was a perfect fit and it’s been great. We are like a family especially on the road. Even if we hadn’t been friends for as long we have it would still be that way because music is a very intimate thing and you are sharing experiences and you are all equally missing the same place which is home and even onstage we are there to kick ass and perform and put on the best show that we can. Backstage it is all about being buddies. There is really good dynamic there and I think it comes out when we play.”
Bands tend to be inspired by different musicians they have listened to over the years. Some have the same influences and others have a wide variety of their own. Beste tells us that the members of Rival Sons all have their own different unique style but he confesses that he is all over the map when it comes to musicians who influenced him personally. “Some of the band members are affected by others who play the band’s retro, classic, blues style rock n’ roll and even classical music. I played classical guitar as a kid” Beste says. “Influences come from everywhere. Everyone brings their own weird collection. Like Miley brings Steely Dan. I mean we never know where it’s going to come from exactly but we put everything together and it turns into this mix. It’s hard to pinpoint one sound or influence, it’s not like we just have one or two of the same.”
Rivals Sons’ last album was called Great Western Valkyrie, which came out in 2014. Soon they will be releasing a two-disc tour DVD that was filmed while they were out touring with Deep Purple, and they recorded another album which will come out in late Spring. But since it will be released while they are on the tour with Black Sabbath, it will open doors and they will get more people listening to it and to their music. With Great Western Valkyrie being the first album that Beste had any writing involvement in and with the new release, the question arose about which album is his favorite and how did his creative participation change how he felt about being in Rival Sons as opposed to playing songs that were written prior to him becoming a member of the band. Beste describes how he feels the band has really evolved and grown since the last record in comparison to their first record. “There is just sort of a natural evolution is happening. If you listen to Before The Fire and then listen to the new record which we haven’t released yet, if you didn’t know any better, they sound like the same band but they sound like they have progressed and become better in what they do” Beste says. “The songwriting has improved a lot, the overall musicianship has grown a lot after all of the years of playing music together. so creatively the band is continuing to develop and to become more and more refined.”
These days it seems a lot of bands and artists are writing songs with the mindset of what will sell and not as much about what is true to them. Because of the way the music industry has changed over the years since the internet and live streaming came along, it has vastly affected all musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers and anyone who has had a hand in the creation of a song. Many times, bands and artists will change their sound completely or fall into the current trending sound a bit more rather than just remaining true to their sound that the fans initially became drawn to them for. Rival Sons has managed to change and to become stronger but they haven’t taken away from their sound or became so mainstream that fans are left confused and missing certain elements of their music. Perhaps this is why Osbourne invited them to play in Black Sabbath’s final tour. Because like the bands who have been around since the 70’s and the 80’s who continue to draw new fans from every generation, nothing about them changes. Beste communicates that when anyone goes into a studio, their goal is just to write good songs. “I think there is definitely a style or a multiple of styles out there which are formulaic and out to get people to respond to it now, almost at a scientific standpoint. However, if you think about it, all of the great songs that have been written have turned out to be just great songs.” Beste continues “There are a lot of good songwriters and I am not sure if there is a grand scheme to make songs for the sole purpose of making money or not and maybe that’s an archaic concept now but we aren’t thinking about dollar signs when we are recording, we are just going in and recording songs we like. We play these songs and will be playing them for years to come so we need to enjoy those songs. We’ll write a lot of songs that will never see the light of day and maybe those songs would have been moneymakers but I think we just have a different mindset than the pop genre out there.”
We can expect many more incredible things to come from Rival Sons. As Black Sabbath’s final tour continues and when it finally ends, Rival Sons will continue to strive towards rock n’ roll excellence and their plans are to finish up this tour and then go on their own tour and to write and release new music. Overall, there are no signs of Rival Sons slowing down and we are really looking forward to what comes next for these local guys.