Everything old is new again

The song ends. There’s a pause… and in a rare moment, I don’t have a damn word to say. I just stand there nodding my head like an idiot. We had just played three songs, but to me, it was time travel.

For this year’s Rock and Roll Halloween, the guys and I wanted to do something special to honor our decade as a band, so we decided to dust off some old Rivals tunes. We chose our regular set opener from 2002-2005, one that we haven’t played in six years, and another that was lost when Dave, our first bass player left the band.

While playing the last song of the three, I could have sworn it was 2002. Back then, the band was only a year old. We were on this exciting new adventure, learning how work together as artists, and were literally bleeding on stage every single weekend as we clawed to the top of our small scene. Those were good times. Personally, 2002 represented a time when I still had my innocence… I had not yet lost a parent, two dear friends (who loved and supported Rivals), and didn’t have to balance the needs of Rivals and “growing up.” All of this came rushing back to me when those first few notes came out of Tom’s bass.

And then I wondered what these songs, would possibly mean to you. Were you with us the last time these songs filled a room full of people? Was it at the Cactus Club in San Jose? A garage in Salinas (we played many)? or would any of these songs be YOUR soundtrack to that old relationship, high school, the dot-com bust, or that summer lounging around…?

On October 29th, we will get to share these songs with you again. And for some of us, it will be just like old times.

Rule #1

Rule #1 of releasing an album: NEVER plan an album release party *before* your album is done.
We’ve heard that a hundred times – online, in magazines, from other bands – the horror stories go on and on: Band doesn’t get album done in time, show flops, band feels like idiots, fans kill guitar player.

Back in 2004, we learned that lesson the hard way. We were getting set to release “A Second Chance At Retribution” and we openly ignored the almighty rule. It was August, we were still mixing the album and we thought “Let’s book the show on Halloween… we’ve got 3 months to finish…WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN?” Well, a few challenges and delays later, we were sitting in mid October with no record…

Our producer and friend Kent Matcke was pulling all-nighters and busted his ass up to the last minute (we still worship him for that!) With only days to go, we send the album to mastering (the final “touch” of making a record). One day later, I get a phone call from the dude mastering the album and he says, “something is wrong with the mix of the album, you guys are going to have to get me an updated version. Oh, and I may not have time to do it before your deadline. OH, AND you’ll have to pay me another $900.”

I was stressed. The band was stressed. We had no money. We had no time. And the show was a week away. Well, in the end, he did finish the mastering in time, the manufacturing was complete the day *before* the show, and we spent all night putting all 2,000 copies together by hand.

Again, Rule #1: NEVER, EVER, EVER plan an album release party *before* your album is done.

So, fast forward to today, and here we are again: getting ready to release another album and staring a Halloween/album release show in the face. And guess what? The album isn’t done yet! That’s okay… we’ve done it before… I mean, c’mon… WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN?

Love and rock,
Zack Rivals