Despite only consisting of two members, Merseyside duo Rival Bones sure deliver an abundance of monstrous riffs and swagger on their self-titled debut EP. Made up of guitarist/vocalist James Whitehouse and drummer Chris Thomason, ‘Rival Bones’ incorporate elements of grunge, blues, hard rock and metal as the pair supply four slices of ferocious rock.
Although both James and Chris come from different cities, Rival Bones call Liverpool their home. And you can’t blame them on making that choice. With a deep and rich musical and cultural history, Liverpool is an ideal base for any emerging band.
We spoke to Chris Thomason about how the city, its history, its bands, and its venues has influenced and helped Rival Bones along the way.
We’re both actually from separate cities. James is originally from Johannesburg and I’m from Wigan! We met and reside in Liverpool though, James for 7 years and me for 3. I think the proudest thing about Liverpool is the people. Everyone here is super nice and really friendly. It’s definitely one of THE friendliest cities you’ll come across.
Its People and Culture:
What ISN’T it famous for! The Beatles, Capital of Culture, Liverpool & Everton Football Club, Scouse, The Docks and much, much more. In terms of character traits, as I mentioned above everyone here is super friendly. It’s not uncommon to go to the corner shop or something and spend 10 minutes just talking to someone in the shop who you’ve never met. It’s got a real homely atmosphere, even for two guys like us who aren’t originally from here.
The Music It Inspires:
I think when you talk about the music scene in Liverpool, you can’t avoid the inevitable influence of The Beatles. They’re EVERYWHERE. We both went to LIPA (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts) as well, which was set up by Paul McCartney, and it really is a Beatle shrine. In terms of character traits in bands though, 99% of the bands we know or have played with from Liverpool, all tend to be really down to earth, humble, cool people who are willing to help anyone out and just want to have a good time!
The Local Music Scene:
I think Liverpool (apart from The Beatles) is known pretty well for indie bands. You’ve got well-established bands/singers such as The Wombats, The Zutons, Sandie Thom and Circa Waves to Clean Cut Kid and many more. We buck the trend a little in that we’re of the heavier persuasion. It’s a shame really but you don’t see as many heavy bands as you do indie. We’re quite an outnumbered breed.
Its Most Famous Musical Sons and Daughters:
The Beatles, The Coral, The Wombats, Circa Waves, The La’s, Carcass and loads more. They’re all great bands and have had loads of success. Liverpool is known for producing great bands and I can appreciate them all. Obviously, you get stuck with the Beatle tag but there’s been quite a variety of good bands come from here.
Its Unsung Heroes:
There are so many people around here that are putting on shows and really pushing for new music it would be unfair to name just a few. On any night in Liverpool, you can come down and see a bunch of varying genres. That is a positive but it can also be a negative because there are SO many bands now it’s been heavily diluted.
The Bands To Watch Out For:
RIVAL BONES! (haha) No there’s so much talent around at the moment. Clean Cut Kid are doing really well but not sure if they can be classed as up-and-coming anymore.
The Venues We Visited:
I was always a big festival person so I’d go to Download, Leeds & Reading, Isle of Wight etc. In terms of local venues, the Academy and The Arts Club are the main ones we watched bands at. Watching bands in those venues makes you really appreciate a great live show. In a small venue, you can kind of get away with turning up and playing your music. A venue like the Academy though, you’ve got to really up your game when it comes to the live show.
The Venues We Played:
We’re serial players of Maguires in Liverpool haha! We’ve played more times than I can count but it’s such a great little venue. It’s a Vegan pizza bar with a venue in the back. Nothing matches and there’s 90’s wrestling projected onto the wall. It’s mental but a place that has helped foster heavier music in the city more than any other.
‘Rival Bones’ by Rival Bones is released on 5th May.