In the deeper combs of Friends Arena in Stockholm before Monsters Of Rock with Black Sabbath, Volbeat and Bombus we met up with the as always well dressed and nice talking guy Scott Holiday a.k.a. Mr Fuzzlord.
How has the tour with Black Sabbath been going so far?
"Very good. We're in a long part of it right now, our seventh week or whatever, going in to our eight week. So it's tiring, everyone gets really tired at this point. Not tired on stage or tired of speaking or whatever but just in general. All the travel wears you down. We have kids and stuff. Our hearts are tired of missing our children. Don't get me wrong it's a great job!"
Is it less tiring supporting than headlining?
"It's about the same. We play a lot longer when we're headlining, but the tiring thing isn't the playing it's the travel, the being away and stuff. But this supporting, it's fairly easier on that end of exerting ourselves on stage cause we're usually only doing 40 minutes with Sabbath. An average festival gig being anywhere from 40, 50 minutes to an hour. And then headline sets will be like 2 hours, so it could be slightly more tiring."
How do you feel the crowd has been, supporting you, as most of the crowd might be there only for Black Sabbath?
"It’s been surprising how many people have come out for us. Because I would think the exact same thing, especially it being their final tour. Everyone who is going to be there, everyone who is going to buy that ticket is going to be there for the final Sabbath dates. But I’ve been really pleasantly surprised how many people are really there and writing us and telling social media that they’re really there to see us. And that is super flattering and super cool. But at the same time we’re really getting a chance to win over Black Sabbaths audience which is great and for the most part I think it’s going really really well."
Do you have a different approach to the audience when you’re out supporting, thinking differently with the set list just to win them over?
"The only way we think differently is because it is a smaller amount of time, and you’re thinking well a lot of these people are just discovering us in these forty minutes so instead of playing too many new songs or deeper songs or songs we know our fans really wanna hear as they see us all the time we’re thinking that we should probably play the ones they don’t know that are the biggest ones. For us that’s like Pressure And Time and Keep On Swinging, Open My Eyes. These songs that have videos that are on the radio. So we have the structure set that way and then we’re looking for holes like do we have any time left to play anything new and then we fill that in."
But you have played a couple of new songs haven’t you?
"We have been. Even with Sabbath I think we’re filling in three right now each set because we want to and we believe in them. People are responding to them anyway."
What’s your favorite new song to play live?
"I enjoy playing a song called Fade Out on the new record. But they’re all kinda fun cause they’re new. And there is something on all of them for us. For us, we try not to just make a record, and hopefully everyone does, it probably sounds pretentious to even say that but we’re trying to make a record that’s all killer, no filler. Even if it's being only nine songs long, that’s very short for people, but historically people have done that forever. And we recorded I think 23 songs or something, at the end of the day these nine are what we felt were undistilled raw. This was a record that’s a front to back listen. It makes a statement. And it really shouldn’t let you up for air. It should be something you go in and you’re stuck in. Until you come out."
So you have material for one more album?
"No. We go back in and we just start fresh. Cause that’s how it should be, a fresh approach. It’s not like we’re back cataloging. We’re not going 'Yeah, let’s use that old stuff'. Cause we feel different, we feel like we wanna make a different statement, that we’re different people. It depends on what’s happening in the world and with us. How we wanna put out music. Like Hollow Bones feels very much in the moment for us, this is how we feel in our mind's eye. It has a place in the current climate for rock’n’roll as well as our catalog."
You manage to do something different with every new album.
"That’s the goal and people ask us a lot about pressure. I think they’re thinking pressure with the media and with charting and all this - do we feel that kind of pressure. And really, this kinda pressure is what we really put on ourselves. Not the charting or to be number one or to be the most popular or make the most money but to make something new internally in the vacuum of the band that we can look at each other at the end of the day and go, we can feel where Pressure And Time turned a corner and it was Head Down and then we turned that corner and it was Great Western and then this one. This certainly isn’t any of these records, it’s its own record, it is its own path."
So Hollow Bones been out a month on the day tomorrow. Are you happy with the album?
"Sure. There are things that I probably would have liked to do additionally or more, many artists would say that, you wanna work more, put more, do more, say more. But I think the statement, given the amount of time and what we gave, it’s valid and direct and from the heart very truthful."
Can you give an example of something specific you would have liked to do differently?
"No, because it changes. It’s just a general idea. There were songs that got left off that were close to me that I thought if we worked on these a little more that could have been right for it. There was just more material we would have liked to work on. We like making songs, that’s what we do. And it would have been fun to make nine more."
Did you feel like time was against you?
"Yeah, of course it was. And I think it’s healthy because you know you got great, great bands that makes these bloated records because they have all the time that they want. Maybe somebody not pleasing them or them not pleasing themselves enough with their material. Where they might have had one very strong record you get these bloated double records and I won’t slander anybody cause some of my favorite bands have done it and you go 'God, I can’t even listen to any of it cause there’s so much not quality on there for me, stuff that I feel should have not gotten through cause they’re not good enough to your guys standard'. If I have a band's catalog and I hear this bloated double album I’m thinking 'why would you do that?' What a waste'. Cause there’s probably eight or nine great songs on it that I would have loved but because they’re hidden in this pile of shit I don’t wanna listen to any of them I just dismiss it, I let it go. I think it’s healthy that we put these restraints on us.
There’s very few double albums that are really worthy of a double album, I can name three in my opinion that even are worth it. Off the top of my head, I’m sure there’s more and if anybody hears this they’ll go 'I can’t believe he didn’t say this one'. But there’s the White Album, this makes sense, it really worked as a double album cause these four guys were really spreading their wings and doing something different predominantly three main writers, especially George, it was imperative that this was a double. It works really well. Physical Graffiti, a band in their prime, fucking firing on every cylinder, destroying and everything is good on that record for me. Or Rolling Stones Exile, same idea. This band just firing so hard on every cylinder that you’re thinking there is nothing bad on this record. But most of the other people that do them - as soon as you’re three songs deep into a double and you got fifteen or twenty more to go and they’re bad, you go like really? I don’t feel like skipping around.
It's like a book, I don't wanna skip three chapters - there is no continuity of the story then. So with Hollow Bones we try to make a continuity. If we do a double record I'm sure it will be continuity and if we can't do it we probably won't do it."
One of the bad things when the CD came along, was that people started doing this really long albums with too much songs and lost quality.
"Sometimes that's impossible to listen to. People compare us a lot to this era in the late 60's and early 70's. There was a lot of competition then, if you just put out two good songs on an album you were fucked. You got records that were shorter but oh my god! You can't miss a second of it! That kind of thing is very deep in my heart and how we operate as a band."
Did you pretty much have the same idea of how Hollow Bones would sound when going into the studio or did you have to compromise a lot?
"We had no idea how it would sound like. We hade some ideas, for instance, we talked about Fade Out previous which was something that I wrote months before, or at least the main theme, Jay and I finished that song together. So I knew that this song was gonna be part of the album but I didn't really know what else was gonna happen. But I had written probably 30 other ideas, some of them did get used, a bunch of them did not get used. So I had an idea what the record was gonna be like. But the beautiful thing about working with people you respect and they do good work it's like things colliding, you know asteroids collision and it's gonna be a big explosion and it's not predictable. So no matter what idea I would have, Michael is gonna have an idea rhythmically where he wants to be with it, Dave is gonna have his song ideas and Jay is certainly gonna have an idea where he wants it from a vocal point. So where we are gonna take it it's certainly not gonna be my idea and it's not gonna be Jay's idea. We don't do demos or write before, we do it in the moment and that's where explosions happen. So what you have here on the record is that explosion really. That makes things a lot more exciting. These old albums that we love were made this way, you can hear it! It's like a wild animal in the room and we try to catch a net over it. WE GOT IT!"
Hollow Bones pt. I and pt. II. How were they connected from the beginning?
"We had written two songs that had nothing to do with each other, musically, besides that I wrote them on a baritone guitar. Hollow Bones pt. II was lyrically finished early but pt. I was not so it was called nothing. But Jay came back with this idea to tie them together which was clear to him lyrically. This is an intro idea and this is a finishing idea. They were separate the whole time and is not gonna be played together, they are pt. I and pt. II. I have other older stuff that I want to bring in to do a pt. II of in the future."
You do a lot of touring, how many concerts a year do you do?
"I am afraid to look haha! I have never done the math but I think Michael or someone in our management looked it up and told me and I said 'Oh, don't say that again to me'. It's really frightening when people starting to do statistics and how long you have been away. Oslo 15 times!!! And many of my friends have never been there once. I need to take a nap when somebody tells me haha!"
We are talking about Rival Sons rings from Black Baron who everybody in the band got their own individual numbered copy of and then were put out for the fans to order. I later got number 011 and wear it everyday. Scott takes his ring off for us to try. It's big but not compared to the other huge lion ring he wears.
"The first five were limited in silver. Jay got number one cause he worked directly with Black Baron."
Our friend Anders Larsson was the first one to buy as number six. He actually sold his motorbike to get money for that ring.
"Oh lord, give him my best! That's cool that he got number 6 and if we would be like the Rolling Stones that could be valuable haha!"
How about the look through the years? Is it a choice or does it just happen?
"It's definitely a choice. It's really hard to guide and help you with your image. I have been into that for years since I was in high school when I was wearing different strange clothes, being in bands and feeling free. We get a privilege to have more fun with clothes compared to this guy with a suit at the office. He cannot wear what I'm wearing. For me art and fashion have always worked together very nicely. You're not only listening to the record, you watch the band as well. We want our bands to have their own identity and an image that reflects the art. That's important to us. Sometimes I get sick of to look at myself in pictures and magazines haha! I need to change my style, I'm sick of that!"
Last question, which is from our friend Peter Tauson, administrator of the Scandinavian fan club - How has your guitar sound and technique developed through the years?
"That could be a rather long conversation but I'll try to construct some very short answer. It's trial and error and you're constantly affected by a number of different influences. I'm quite in depth and involved in the idea of the tones in a band I enjoy and love. What mics and mic techniques are used. What pre-amp, what effects, what kind of cables, what kind of batteries are used, what pedal, what order things go in, strings, types of woods in guitars, types of plectrums. It's a very, very deep well and it all affects it. But in the end each player is gonna be measured by their own individual style and the hand touching any instrument. So we can use all kinds of things but at the end of the day we all are gonna sound like ourselves if you know what I mean. I have used some new gadgets on each album and I wanna be able to recreate all those album tones on stage."
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BANDFAKTA – RIVAL SONS
Jay Buchanan – Sång
Scott Holiday – Gitarr
Michael Miley – Trummor
David Beste – Bas
2009 – Before the Fire
2011 – Pressure & Time
2011 – Rival Sons (EP)
2012 – Head Down
2014 – Great Western Valkyrie
2016 – Hollow Bones