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Scott Holiday is the riff happy lead guitarist of the American blues rock band Rival Sons. He is also a former member of the bands Human Lab and Black Summer Crush. And, a self-proclaimed guitar dork.
As the first decade of the 00s were coming to an end, rock music was in desperate need of a roll.
From out of nowhere – or so it seemed - the debut album from Rival Sons hit the airwaves in 2009 and ushered in a new prominence for honest, visceral and dangerous fuzz-driven rock n roll.
Any guitar aficionado will tell you that paramount to a thrilling rock n roll tune is the gut punching guitar riff. It is not only the body of the beast, but also the very soul of the song itself.
And in hotshot guitarist Scott Holiday, Rival Sons has a man capable of delivering the goods, time and again.
From “Before the Fire” and the seminal “Pressure & Time” to the much lauded “Great Western Valkyrie” and last year’s “Hollow Bones”, every offering from the California band is generously strewn with Holiday’s standout riffs.
How ‘bout the immediacy of “Pressure & Time”? The Zeppelin-hot cooker “Get What’s Coming” or the sexy swagger of “Electric Man”. All reminders of the embodiment of rock’n’roll in its purest form:
It's organically bred in cramped up and sweaty rehearsal spaces with the aid of warm tube amps burning bright against the damp wall, you see the flickering shape of an iconic guitar strung across the waist, whilst the player is dripping with soul and attitude, and the band's rebellious streak is delivered with the testimonial panache of men with nothing to lose.
Holiday’s intense riffing has shot Rival Sons to the foreground of contemporary rock music. Just take a quick listen to the aforementioned songs. Whoever's lips don’t tremble with the desire to hum those cool riffs?
It comes as no surprise that Holiday knows his rock curriculum by heart. He learned to rock out from an early age with an upbringing soaked in the fine vintage of rock n roll.
His first idols were whomever his family listened to: i.e. The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Rush, Cream, Jeff Beck as well as soul, blues, and a bit of garage rock.
For a player guided by his ears these sounds seeped into his DNA, making it possible for him to fuse all of his inspirations from the Golden Years of Rock into the thunderous rock sound of today.
At age 11 he got his first guitar; an acoustic Spanish guitar on which he played jingles and riffs from the B52’s, ZZ Top and Van Halen.
But the nylon strings lacked the primal power of electrified rock music, and so only a year later he switched to an electric guitar and has never looked back since.
Holiday is very much the dedicated musician. In a world where many are called but only few chosen, he has paved his own way, honing his craft every step of the way on the journey from a young man with ambition to a seasoned player burning with passion.
From playing in early bands that got signed but not released to that fateful moment when he accidentally stumbled upon lead singer Jay Buchanan on MySpace and found the songwriting partner of a lifetime, he has stuck to his guitar and relied on those six strings to churn out the prodigious notes that now sees him travelling the globe and playing the biggest stages in the world.
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