Is Rock in Roll Dead? Rival Sons Singer Jay Buchanan Weighs in and Talks Modern Masculinity

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On this episode of The Fred Minnick Show, lead singer of rock band Rival Sons, Jay Buchanan, joins Fred. Buchanan, previously a solo artist, helped form Rival Sons in 2008 with guitarist Scott Holiday. Since 2009, the band has released one EP and six full-length albums, citing musical influences ranging from Prince to Van Morrison. During this week’s interview, Jay and Fred sip whiskey (because, of course) and discuss topics such as the band’s forthcoming album, side projects, ascots, drinking on stage and even modern masculinity.

Whiskeys tasted:

  • Michter’s Straight Bourbon (14:22)
  • Peerless Rye Cherry Cola (26:20)
  • M.B. Roland Single Mash (45:06)

EPISODE SUMMARY

Fred and Jay talk about a wide variety of things, such as:

  • Jay doesn’t think rock music is as prevalent as it once was, citing several reasons including recording technology and the way labels promote music today. “Hip hop rules the world,” he tells Fred.
  • He also talks about rock bands “locking arms” and uniting, per an interview he did with Rolling Stone, as a way of lifting up all rock acts.
  • Fred gets Jay to come clean on drinking all the Michter’s straight bourbon Fred had sent him for the show. The two agree that it’s a great “everyday pour.”
  • American whiskeys versus Scotch whiskeys and other non-American whiskeys.
  • Life as a rock band during the ongoing pandemic, and Jay losing part of his identity. “It’s forced us to be more introspective and take stock in why we really do what we do,” he says.
  • Fred talks about his life during the pandemic, losing Bourbon & Beyond and other opportunities, and going from that to remaking himself into a YouTube streamer.
  • Fred quickly discovers that Jay has quite the whiskey palate.
  • Jay talks about his minimalist approach to drink before and during shows.
  • In introducing the Peerless Rye to the tasting, Fred talks about the difference between sour mash fermentation and sweet mash.
  • They talk about the slow emergence of rye whiskey and where it might head, and that leads them to talking about trends in alcohol and drinking in general. White Claw rears its head. A spirited discussion of modern American masculinity then takes place.
  • The M.B. Roland they taste only saw a release of 86 bottles.
  • Quote of the show: “When you’re drunk, you can’t do much … except drink more.”
  • Jay talks about Rival Sons coming together in 2008 and how he originally expected it to simply be a side project to his solo career, as well as what’s next for the band.
  • The show wraps with Fred asking Jay which of the three whiskeys was his favorite. His answer is extensive, but the Peerless barely eked out the win.

QUOTABLES

Jay compares rye whiskey to modern American masculinity: “With men, you see the urban lumberjack aesthetic come up everywhere – guys want to have beards, guys want to wear flannel, guys want to wear jeans that will last longer than they will. Guys want to have one pair of boots that are going to the best pair of boots. I think that the return to the masculine culture with men in America, along with that, we’re going to watch rye come up because rye is directly related to that rugged individualism.”

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