TR3 - The Left Hand of Darkness
TR3 - On This Mountain Born in Clouds

Saturday, October 28, 2000
The Haunt - Ithica, NY by JON SOLDO

"Tim Reynolds October 28, 2000 - The Haunt - Ithica, NY Interview: Jon Soldo Photos: Fluffy Centner

To anyone who's ever said, ""Why doesn't Tim ever talk?"", let me assure you... he's quite the chatterbox - if you will. After Tim's performance at the very unique Haunt, I had the opportunity to chat with Tim. Tim was more than happy to chat with me about everything from guitars and music to his two horsies and UFO's.

JS: I'll start off the interview with a very broad question. What is your song writing process like?

TR: Mostly just improvising and recording it really, or sometimes I'll turn on these, I have these drum machines, and ill play a pattern and let that kinda be a template to write something to. Mostly improvising, yeah, just that and then recording it. Then pickin out stuff... (changes voice) Makin Cheese.

JS: Do you have a song that was the easiest or hardest to write, or any that you really had to struggle with?

TR: No, they're all just kind of things that I work out. It's hard to say. Writing is kinda easy cause it's just improvising. What's hard is working up the arrangements and if something is technically challenging I just have work it up and practice it till I get it, you know?

JS: So there was nothing really too tough to write?

TR: Well in a way the songs that are easiest and simplest to play are kinda hard because you have to be able to put something in it to make it happening. Cause if its easy and your feelin kinda tired and it sounds like shit. (Laughs) And where something is hard, its already makin you work.

JS: All right, do you personally have any favorite songs to play live? Either acoustic or electric.

TR: You know, I can't really listen to what I do, so none of them are a favorite. It's more like... I'd rather listen to something else. I have fun playing all of them, and at different nights, different moods, different ones are fun. You know? Sometimes they just suck.

JS: Ok, so what do you think sounded best tonight?

TR: Well... Big Blast of Bullshit was fun. I don't know if it sounded good, but at least it was in tune. It hasn't been in several nights, not to me at least.

JS: Well the amps where pretty loud tonight, so that was fun to hear that one so loud. My next question is who was your most influential artist while growing up?

TR: Wow... well, the one who was influential for the longest period, or the only one I can think of, was Peter Gabriel. And he wasn't even a guitarist, but just his whole thing from when he was from Genesis and was mysterious traveler freak boy. You know? To me, just all his faces where just cool. He just changed so much. He was like David Bowie, David Bowie is another one, cause every album was different. And I really admired that. And, they where also able to remain consistent in some underlying way.

JS: So what is your favorite artist now? What would we find in your stereo at home?

TR: Deftones, Nine Inch Nails, umm, this guy who I cant remember his name, but he's this flamenco guitarist who is just stunningly ridiculously awesome technique. I mean its like, WOAH, forget about it.

JS: So basically you look at him the way the world looks at you?

TR: Yeah, it's just the reference point for flamenco music, aside from the traditional which is all HEAYAYA, which is kinda boring. But this guy takes it to like this modern... sick fuckin shit man. (laughs)

JS: Do you have an album of yours that you are most proud of?

TR: Hmm? I guess the newest one (See Into Your Soul) only cause that's the way I am. The newest are always the most interesting to me, because by the time I put one out I've already listened to it enough to get it to where you want it, or at least close. So by the time it's out, your like, I don't wanna hear that anymore.

JS: Have you ever considered writing a book on guitar technique?

TR: (moans in disgust) I'd let somebody else do it, cause I wouldn't ever have the time to do it. I'd rather practice and figure out new songs than doing something like that. And there's a lot of people who could probably do it way better than me. As far as figuring out, you know? Cause I just improvise so much. I could explain a lot of it personally to someone else. That might help them. But that would really involve someone who could really make a book out of it. I'm too scatter brained and unfocused, in that area. I'm very focused when I'm playing, but not in that.

JS: Yeah. You personally just don't want to sit down and do it.

TR: Yeah, exactly. It's like describing a monkey on paper. You don't really get the monkey till you're with the monkey. But, just describing the monkey on paper doesn't do it for me.

JS: When you're not on tour, how often do you play at home?

TR: Quite alot. Except if I'm really tired from a tour, I might come home and not play for a couple days. There was only one tour where I came home distraught about everything in the world, and I didn't play for a couple weeks. But, usually I play a lot, almost always. The longer the tour the longer I may rest from it, but I still play a lot. I never really stop. I can't. I start feeling too neurotic that I'm loosing it if I don't pick it up pretty often.

JS: I read somewhere that stream was written in your kitchen. Is that true?

TR: Yeah, it was just like automatically done. It was improvising, but if you improvise something and remember it then you've kinda written a song. Unless it's stupid, then you just don't do it again.

JS: Other than guitar do you have a favorite instrument to play? Cause I know you play quite a few.

TR: BASS! Bass is cool even though I don't do it too often. Also, I love to play drum machines. Playing, cause I don't even know how to program em, so I just like to play. Although, if I haven't played em in a while I suck. Have to like practice on it for a while with records and stuff and get it down. I love to. It's just... (plays some air drums) BOOM BE JA BOOM. Who wouldn't love that?

JS: Yeah that drum machine tracks on See Into Your Soul are amazing.

TR: Oh thanks man. That's some of the most fun I've had.

JS: Are there any local musicians you play with in New Mexico?

TR: Well, I had one jam, once, with a couple guys a while back. Really when I'm home in New Mexico I'm always coming off the road and I just stay home. I hardly ever go out. One night I went out to the nightlife, cause I was gonna listen to these guys who work in a music store, but they wound up not doing their gig. So that was my one big chance to hang out. But there's this one guy named Ben who plays bass in New Mexico that I was curious about. I'm curious to play with him cause he's such a great guy. So really, the answer is no. (laughs)

JS: So not a happening music scene as opposed to Charlottesville?

TR: There's probably as much going on there, I'm just not aware of it. Its more Latin, cause like ten years ago, what's his name, Mer Lebert, got really famous and he's from there. So the scene there is people playing Latin shit. And it's mostly Hispanic more so than Anglos, so there's a lot of great guitarists there. I mean, I think, there's probably a more serious music scene there. And I'm not including like, Dave Matthews, cause to me he's like international. He's kinda in a way beyond Charlettsville . But, there's defiantly a great scene there. I guess since I don't live there anymore, I don't wanna say that I don't relate to it, I'm just not there enough to know what's going on. When you've lived somewhere and then you move away there is always a tendency to go, oh yeah whatever, but that's not really fair. It's only because I'm so enthralled by being in New Mexico. There's always a lot going on in Charlottesville. Even the last few years I lived there before I moved I wasn't aware what was going on because you go out on the road and then you come home and you don't wanna do anything. I have a family. I hardly ever go out. I only go to see concerts, like Marilyn Manson. (laughs and put on a big weird voice) Something that's a show and is gonna blow my brains out!

JS: Besides music, what are your favorite hobbies and interests?

TR: I love to read. I like to read about science stuff; archeology um astronomy. I'm really into UFO's. Not as extraterrestrial things, but as UFO's a government secrets. I think that's a fascinating subject, although there's not a lot about it. I mean, in New Mexico there's stuff flying around all the time. If you wanted to believe in extraterrestrials it'd be easy to in New Mexico. But I'm just always trying to figure out what they are cause I was always into jets. I love jets. Not the killing aspect of it, but just the technology of flying things. I feel like I can tell if something is not a normal jet, and there's a lot of not normal looking jets in New Mexico, every night. You'll see things they call hoppers and they fly like this. (makes the motion of a grasshopper through the air with his hands) And it's just weird. They've seen em too (points to Fluffy and Rew). You're like, what the hell is that? And sometimes you get this eerie feeling.

JS: Some creepy stuff, huh?

TR: Not like its from another world, but it's just so different. You just know that's not some regular ship. It's some technology that they aren't letting people know about. There's just weird shit there. I mean, Los Alamos is there so its always been this like super secret stuff, and I just find that fascinating.

JS: Yeah, sounds like a cool place to live.

TR: THE ACULT. Na na, I'm just kidding. (laughs)

JS: This is a weird one, but do you have any pets?

TR: Oh we got pets. We got pets. We have two cats, (funny voice) two kitties, two big dogs, and two even bigger horses.

JS: Horses?

TR: Yeah, my wife is really into horses. We don't ride them too much. They're just like big pets. We go out there and (puts a voice that's a mix between baby talk and a huge football player) HEY HOWSMYBERDEBOO (horse noise and laughs). They're just like these big lovable things.

JS: Haha, cool. Ok, I probably know the answer to this, but do you feel you are still growing as a musician or do you feel you have hit a plateau where you just cant get any better?

TR: Well I can always get better, cause I think I suck.

JS: Haha, that's what I figured a modest guy like you would say.

TR: I think there's plenty of room to fuckin grow man, every day. I mean, I just fuck up so much it's ridiculous. Unless I'm in a studio where it at least sounds good. (laughs)

JS: Are there any musicians out there that still baffle you?

TR: Umm, the other I talked about before and that guy Paco De Lucia because it's just a reference point that I'm not familiar with. Ravi Shankar is another one. I'm interested in anything that I'm not familiar with the theory behind it. I mean, I've read about it and I kinda understand the ornamentation process, but it's just like woah. That's the only one I know enough about to know that I don't know nothing about it. I've checked out Indian music, African drumming, Middle Eastern music, Aphex Twin. That guy is just great. I mean, I know its just computer shit, but some of the rhythmic shit he comes up with is baffling and cool and wild as any drummer; and he doesn't play drums. He's like the future. (puts on another comical voice) You wanna know what the future is, listen to Aphex Twin.

JS: Cool I'll have to check our some of his stuff.

TR: Cause the future is changing. Everyday the future changes. (gets serious... then laughs again)

JS: In an email you sent me, you said that as a kid you were everywhere in the world cause your dad was in the army.

TR: Well mostly just around the states. I mean, he went everywhere in the world, cause he went to Vietnam, Korea, and blah blah blah. But mostly we just did a lot of states stuff; Alaska, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana... I can't even remember the rest. We moved around a lot, but it wasn't internationally.

JS: But you were born in Germany right?

TR: Yeah, I was born there.

JS: When did you come over to the US?

TR: When I was like nine months. So I don't remember dick. (laughs)

JS: So do you feel that all the moving around influenced your musical tastes and playing?

TR: Oh, it's almost like a metaphor for what my musical approach is. It's just different styles and states of music.

JS: All right. Between acoustic and electric do you have a preference of one over the other?

TR: Um, it's like different modes. There's a certain preference for the acoustic cause it's more challenging, but at the same time, when I'm in a mood when I don't wanna be challenged I play the electric. You know, its just easy. I hold it lower and just (does a typical rock star slammin down an open chord motion), it just feels fuckin good, like eating a hamburger. (laughs) And acoustic is kinda like having a really nice palette. They're both really fun. I feel like I learn a lot from playing both. I learn a bunch of different things when I'm playing electric cause I'm not doing as much technical stuff, but its more tone and more one note merrerrrerrrr. Acoustic is just a whole nother frontier that is never conquered.

JS: Do you bring an electric with you when you're doing the acoustic tours?

TR: No, and the reason is the way I have my acoustic setup is that it's physically harder to play, because since it's an acoustic instrument, I wanna get that nice fat tone. So I use thicker strings and a little higher action to achieve that. If I was to play electric for a couple hours then go back to the acoustic it would be like...

JS: Painful to play.

TR: Yeah. So that's one of the reasons I don't like to do both of em in the same night. I mean, I guess I could setup my acoustic so it's easier to play, but... whatever. I did some before like that, but playing the electric and then going back to the acoustic, I didn't feel like I had the facility as if I just played acoustic. So it's kinda like I wanna be able to play the acoustic really well, and I feel playing electric would sacrifice so much of the technical whatever. So that's why I do one or the other. When I play electric I like to just wail on that all night long.

JS: This is another odd one, but have you ever considered a solo electric tour?

TR: Not really, when I play electric I like to do it with a band. When I started doing solo gigs it was solo electric with effects basically.

JS: How far back was that?

TR: Like '86 or '87, when I first started playing at Millers. So it was mostly spacey shit with weird stuff, and that kinda lead to my approach to acoustic with effects. Cause I really love effects on electric, and I never really did it too much with acoustic until I started playing every Monday night. After that it just seemed like the natural... evolution, if you wanna use that word. Yeah, that word sounds cool. Use that word. (laughs)

JS: I also read that you used to switch up instruments almost every gig at Millers.

TR: I literally learned to play the sitar in front of a crowd at Millers. As well as the violin and the log drums and shit like that. Even the cello, but the cello is one where I only got to a certain point and said, well this one that you have to drop the rest to really get. It's much more challenging then a violin. For me anyway.

JS: Did you ever get into effects with the sitar or anything like that?

TR: Not really, it's hard enough to get a sitar micked up to fill up a small room cause it's such a quiet instrument. It's like really quiet. Like the quietest instrument I've ever played, but it sounds amazing.

JS: I tried a sitar once for 10 minutes and it was insanely hard.

TR: Yeah I used to fuck my fingers up playing it.

JS: Ok, my last question. Do you feel you have a main message behind your music, or do you feel you don't have one?

TR: (puzzled expression) I couldn't... I have no idea how to answer that... wow, uh. I guess, different songs have different meanings. Mostly the thing I like about music is... if it goes to somebody and there's this moment where you're free and your not thinking. It's almost like this meditative thing, whatever that is."