An Interview With Tim Reynolds

June 20, 2000- Vynyl, Hollywood
Interview: Brett Davidson
Photos: Brett Davidson
Tim Reynolds

I met Tim backstage at Vynyl after the sound check. Fluffy, Tim’s tour manager, showed us to a sparsely appointed room, where I extended my hand and introduced myself. An unassuming sort of guy, Tim seemed comfortable, if not somewhat eager to chat, and he extended his hand in return. He opted to stand for our interview, probably in anticipation of the evening’s performance ahead of him…

Brett Davidson: So how has the tour been going?

Tim Reynolds: Good, good so far.

BD: Have you had any favorite gigs so far?

TR: Have I had any favorite gigs, uh, just the ones that are good.

BD: And what’s a good gig for you?

TR: The Knitting Factory was good in New York, um… man, my memory is just… so many gigs…

BD: So, you’ve been called a master of every guitar technique out there, and I was wondering, is it the instrument that drives you are you just obsessed?

TR: Both. But really it’s more like masturbator.

BD: Right on.

TR: (laughs)

BD: What do you think of that – that people call you the master of every technique?

TR: I think, psssh, I don’t know… I think they’re crazy.

BD: I’ve read that you had a fairly conservative background growing up, how does that relate to your lashing out musically in so many different styles?

TR: I guess it made me neurotic and schizophrenic.

BD: A little bit of rebellion in there?

TR: Yeah, cause we moved around a lot, you know, so I guess I just had Different, whatever, micro-culture influences.

BD: And when did you finally settle in Charlottesville?

TR: Well, I settled there like, in 1981, but I’ve since moved to New Mexico about 3 years ago so, that’s where I’m from now.

BD: You consider yourself from New Mexico now?

TR: Yeah, now I am.

BD: And has the change of scene led to any new inspiration for you musically?

TR: I think, just because before, all the places I’ve lived, I never really had my own, like, little room to do music and since we’ve moved out there I’ve kind of got, like, more space to do it in my home. So I’ve kind of been able to, like, just have more access to music that’s in the air. You know what I mean, like more time to work on… figure out ways to write that were more than just trying to wait for being inspired. Kind of, like, setting up and… it’s easier to be inspired, you know.

BD: Do you miss Monday’s at Miller’s?

TR: Not really…

BD: No?

TR: Cause I’ve been able to just move that into another thing.

BD: Do you play regularly around Santa Fe or sit in anywhere?

TR: No, but like having my own, like, space at the house to do music I kind of, you know, get to fulfill that. And before, when I lived in Charlottesville, I didn’t tour that much – or as much as I do now – so I get a whole lot more of that too. So when I’m home I want to chill and then when I get ready to go jam I start hanging out in the studio again.

BD: What kind of room did you set up for yourself?

Tim ReynoldsTim displays some of his guitar mastery

TR: Well where I live now, we have like the house and then there’s like, this other, smaller… it used to be an art studio, and I just kind of set up as my hang out space. You know, basically just to listen to CDs, I don’t really have a studio that’s a recording studio, but I call it the studio cause it was an art studio before. So it’s kind of neat to have my own little space to walk up and down to.

BD: And this is your first solo acoustic tour?

TR: It’s the first tour where I’ve played a lot of gigs in a long line of, you know, gigs. I mean I used to do a lot more playing. When I first moved to New Mexico I traveled around and played, but never like, any extent, you know, I mean did like a couple of weeks I opened for Gov’t Mule and toured with them in their bus so that’s kind of like kind of a mini tour.

BD: You opened for them…

TR: Mmm, yeah I think in ’98.

BD: Yes, March of 1998 – the Fillmore. I was at that show. You did an amazing cover of “Come Together” with Mule – it was insane. But the last time you came through town you were with the Electric Power Trio, um… I was rather unprepared for that… (chuckles) I sort of describe it as a post- apocalyptic musical meltdown. How has the response been to that versus the acoustic stuff.

TR: Well, obviously, since most people know me from playing with Dave Matthews, this is much more like “oh,” (looks up in wonder) instead of like “oh,” (looks up in horror).

BD: And how did you get hooked up with the Electric Power Trio?

TR: Oh that’s, I’ve had that band for more than… since the 80’s.

BD: Was that the evolution of TR3?

TR: Yeah, exactly, essentially TR3’s modern version.

BD: And speaking of Dave Matthews, I noticed that you’re not appearing on the new studio release.

TR: Right.

BD: Is that by design?

TR: I think they wanted to try and do it, like, as a 5 piece. Which they actually, I don’t know if they actually have done that. Cause at first it was a 5 piece, the live stuff on the independent and then I did some of the studio stuff and then, when they started recording for RCA and Steve Lillywhite, they always brought me in as the studio guy. So Steve Lillywhite as a producer, I think they wanted to try it as a 5 piece without electric guitar, without, you know my input just so to try that, and, you know, the nakedity of that. And then I just did an album with Dave, it was just me and him, so maybe they felt like trying it that way, which should be interesting. I’m curious to see how it comes out.

BD: Are you guys planning on doing another acoustic tour together at some point?

TR: I think so. I mean I hope so, I haven’t really talked to anybody, except other than I saw Dave last summer really briefly on the street.

BD: STREAM. STREAM is a brilliant piece of music…

TR: Oh, thank you.

BD: And I know that you’re planning a re-release for what is coinciding with the 7th anniversary. Why the 7th anniversary, and what’s the significance of the re-release?

TR: Um, other than just, I’ve never really had that – it used to be on cassette when I recorded it in ’93 – and never really had it out on CD. And since this year I’m doing an acoustic tour, we thought it would be… you know, we’d probably be able to… you know, move a few of them, since they’re on CD. And I’m really proud of that record as a record. I mean, the song “Stream” is on there, but I’m much more interested in people hearing the other stuff, cause they’ve heard “Stream” already. And, “Stream” is really just like a 2 minute masturbation, the rest of it’s improv. So, you know, and the rest of that album is like finger style. To me it’s more interesting, you know.

BD: And will you do another little tour to promote that when it’s released?

TR: Well, I’ll probably do another fall tour which will be to promote the record I’m doing now, and I guess somewhat, STREAM, although that’s already been done, so that’s kind all older stuff for me. And right after this tour I’m gonna go in the studio and record another acoustic solo CD. I don’t know when it’ll be out, probably more later like, after the fall… cause it always takes a while to do… once you record something, it’s 6 months before you get it out, cause it’s just, getting artwork you’re happy with and going back to mix and master and all that.

BD: Whose music are you listening to these days? If we opened you’re CD player, what would we find.

TR: Oh man, mostly heavy metal. Just cause that’s…

BD: I knew it!

TR: It’s so different from what I do. I get a kick out of traveling around playing acoustic and going back to the hotel and (gesticulates like a heavy metal rocker).

BD: So who are your favorite heavy metal bands?

TR: Oh man, well obviously Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Fear Factory, Pantera, uh… what else is in there…

BD: Any Metallica?

TR: Not much Metallica.

BD: They’re kind of poppy now…

TR: I just, when they became famous back when they were really famous in the 80’s, I was really into jazz, so I just kind of, it just kind of went by me.

BD: Speaking of jazz, you worked with John D’earth on a project, COSMOLOGY…

TR: Yeah.

BD: Have you heard his new project? He’s got a new thing called Modereko.

TR: No, I haven’t heard that at all. No.

BD: Well actually, (reaching for a CD)…

TR: Oh, you’ve got one?

BD: Modereko is John D’earth, John Molo, Bobby Read and Tim Kobza, and they did their studio record, but had never performed live together until last month. I know that you listen to a lot of industrial noise and stuff for inspiration, and I thought you might like to hear this.

TR: Is this live at Miller’s?

BD: No this is live at The Third Encore in North Hollywood, um, like an industrial barn type of thing. We set up a gig for them, recorded it, and thought you might like to hear it.

TR: Excellent. I haven’t seen John in ages. Very cool.

BD: Well thanks for coming over to talk, I don’t want to keep you. It was a pleasure. I look forward to this evening, have a great show.

TR: Thank you.

Brett & Tim