Monday Mentions, Music

Interview with Recording Artist, Jason Friday of Rival Tides

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A few weeks ago, I was at The House of Blues in Los Angeles when Rival Tides hit the stage. The occasion was the release party for the band’s first EP called, Rival Tides.

Rival Tides Album Cover

Rival Tides are the real rock and roll deal. Their sound is a cross between Anberlin and Foo Fighters, yet they have a creative energy that is distinctly their own.

The members of the band (formally known as Harris Grade) are long time partners in music, but have reorganized under a new name. The band members are Robyn, Caleb, Alex, Jason and Greg.  Recently I interviewed their bassist, Jason Friday. He’s second to left in this photo — the guy on the bottom.

Rival-Tides-PromoPhoto Credit: Alex Solca

Christina: What is the most rewarding part of being a performing artist?

Jason: It’s the reaction we get back from people when we play.  There is a high to being on stage. Some people do drugs or whatever, but it could not possibly compare, because there’s nothing like creating all this yourself and people going, “YEAAAAAH!” It’s the best.

Christina: What is the toughest part of what you do?

Jason: Getting to that next level. You know, what if you’re established and doing all this but what if you don’t move anywhere?

Christina: What do you like about writing music?

Jason: The feeling you get from creating that one thing that you like that makes you go, oh my God, that was so cool! And then play it with the group and they add more — it changes but it gets better and even more creative.

Christina: When did you know you wanted to make music?

Jason: My dad was a drummer. There’s actually a picture of me at two years old sitting on his lap playing his drums. I don’t remember that moment but there was always music being made around me. Then something happened when I was eleven. I saw my second cousin playing guitar at his mother’s funeral, and he was singing. I thought, “What is this?” He said he would teach me but it never happened because tragically, three weeks later he had died. Then at thirteen my teacher’s husband showed me two simple blues chords and that was that! I saved my money, got an amp and guitar and I taught myself.

Christina: You’re completely self-taught?

Jason: I used to listen to my albums for five hours a day and learn the songs.

Christina: Was there a point when you said this is who I am and this is what I’m doing?

Jason: I was fifteen and I taught a good friend how to play drums. Then another friend said he was playing bass. We decided we had a real band, and this is what we wanted to do.

Christina: Is there an artist you really admire?

Jason: I remember hearing classic rock and listened to Led Zeppelin and bands like that.  But I grew up in the punk era and when I heard Kris Roe of The Ataris I thought there was something about this music. There’s more emotion behind the lyrics and this meant something to me. I felt like I know this guy. It’s the band I’ve seen the most and I actually got to play on stage with them. They would call random people on stage to play a song with the band. Every concert I’d raise my hand but I never got picked. Then there was this one concert,  and again I didn’t get picked. But then . . . they did something they never ever do. They called for a second volunteer to play a song that time. And it happened to be one of their obscure songs that I’m sure no one else knew how to play . . . except me. So I raised my hand — I don’t think anyone else did — and all my friends were pointing at me and yelling, “Yeah! This guy! Pick him!” and I actually got up and played with them! At the end Kris Roe said, “Dude! This guy plays this song better than I do!” That was the best!

Christina: Awesome! What’s next for the band?

Jason: Playing with more bands above us. They have the label and backing that we don’t have. Other than that we’ll keep on writing more songs, playing more music and reaching more people.

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Rival Tides is a LA band with a growing base of loyal fans. Check out their music video and links below.

Check out the music:
Follow the band:
Official website:


Spencer Kent, Amplifi’d


In Hollywood, off of Santa Monica Blvd and down an alley, is a building with a heavy purple door. Beyond the sign-less entrance is a hole-in-the-wall called Amplifi. Alcohol is not served there. People go only to see rock/punk/alternative bands play live music.

This is where I found myself on Saturday night. The tiny venue was packed, the music was loud and four or five bands were playing back-to-back.

For me it is the next best thing to a garage band, and I love garage bands. I don’t even care if they’re good because there is so much more to it than that and besides, I can pretty much guarantee Jimi Hendrix did not sound amazing the first time he picked up a guitar. What is important is that Jimi Hendrix picked it up in the first place. The tragedy would be if he had not.

My admiration overflows for anyone who first picks up that guitar or mic or drumstick, and for those who graduate to a garage band — well, this is cause for me to stand up and applaud. When I see a musician manage to persist through thick and thin, the vicissitudes of clashing and creative personalities, and all the naysayers who implore them to “get a real job,” and get themselves in front of a paying audience, I am in awe. That alone makes the music sound sweet to me.

Like an adorable child with hints of future ability shining through, there is something honest and fresh about a new musician. We are so enamored with what a child does well that we don’t care about the stumbles — he’s walking and it’s wonderful.

My favorite world-class bands that I love so well didn’t sound polished in early records but I still love their early sound. It’s fresh and raw. It’s similar to falling madly in love with all the excitement, newness and promise of things to come. It is never quite matched as years go by, even in the most successful relationship.  And so it is with budding musicians. And so it was for me on Saturday night at the venue called Amplifi.

It was the third or fourth act and I had a front seat. A man sat down with his plugged-in acoustic. Another man sat next to him with the same. The music began, my brow lightened and I found myself smiling. I was smitten. It was clear that these artists had music in them that had to come out — the real deal. Every song was epic.

I made a point of finding Spencer Kent after the show and buying his CD. I had to let him know that he had a new fan, that I loved his music and appreciated his work.

Below is a link to his music.  Check it out — you may love it too.

Art, Random

Hollywood Undead

My first trilogy involves art of all kinds so I’ve had the extreme pleasure of interviewing artists of all kinds.

I really love this part of my job.

Now it just so happens that my main character’s love interest is a rock star. I love rock, especially post-punk, alternative rock. Edgy stuff. In fact, the edgier, the better!

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Deuce, the master-mind singer, musician and songwriter for Hollywood Undead, an internationally successful rock band. His music and lyrics are about as edgy as you can get without getting arrested. And I love it.

If you’re  familiar with Hollywood Undead you undoubtedly know how big they are. If you’ve not heard of them you’re probably wondering what I mean by “big”.  Answer: their first album went gold and is heading for platinum!  You can read about them in CNN’s article here:

Anyway, Deuce has an interest in my writing so I’m bringing my first manuscript to him today.

If you’re over 30, you probably don’t know Deuce but here’s a video.

© 2010 Christina Moss