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Thursday, February 23, 2006
Diamond City "He's Alot of Rock"

He's a Lot of Rock
By: Gene Padden 02/23/2006

Tim Reynolds returns to River Street

Note to the scores of Dave Matthews fans that have already purchased tickets for Tim Reynolds' March 1 show at the River Street Jazz Café: Tim Reynolds will not satisfy your selfish desires for Dave Matthews songs at his shows. It's not that he dislikes Dave. Far from it. The fact is, Reynolds doesn't need to primp his set with Dave's tunes, because quite frankly, he has more than enough great songs of his own. Not only does he have songs -- he rocks them like you've never heard a guy with a bar stool and an acoustic guitar rock before. Yes, the rub from Dave has helped his career, he just chooses to leave Dave's universe as it is. And Tim's universe? Well, it ain't so bad, either. Reynolds gets to enjoy the best of both worlds. Though he has long since moved from Charlottesville, Va. (the town famous for spawning Dave and Tim), Reynolds still appears at Dave Matthews Band shows and on recordings -- all the while maintaining his own fairly rigorous touring and recording schedule.

The most recent release is a double disc from Reynolds titled Parallel Universe. The album is Reynolds' 10th solo release, which complements the 10 album appearances he's logged with the Dave Matthews Band. Reynolds is currently prepping for an acoustic tour for Universe that will take him through Plains. In the meantime, we reached him at his home in Santa Fe, N.M., for some Q&A.

What will we see on March 1?

I'll be there, and I'll have a six-string and a 12-string.

What kind of material?

I'll be playing all kinds of stuff. New stuff, old stuff, and a lot of stuff from the new album. I'm just constantly learning new things to play. It'll be strictly acoustic, but it won't be mellow acoustic -- I can promise you that. With effects, it can get pretty orchestral at times. I like to go all the way between playing stuff that's just straight acoustic and no effects to the opposite side that's like "what the f*ck is that?"

We'd expect that from you.

Yeah, yeah.

Any staples in your set?

I usually always play the song "Indoctrinate" because it's kind of notes from a Noam Chomsky lecture from about 20 years ago. I always play it because I think that's the best message I can offer. The other stuff ... I'll play "All You Need is Love" from The Beatles and a lot of my own stuff.

No Dave songs, right?

I never do. I just respect Dave's whole scene. If I go play with him, it's his music and I'll play it with him. I don't feel the need to play his songs because I think that's his thing and I want him to be all over that. To me, it's too easy to just go up and do that. It's like a cheap shot.

Get many complaints?

Not too many. And I don't really care. That's the typical, American, simple-minded way to approach it. I don't give it a second thought. Dave is a great guy and great friend of mine. I don't feel the need to take his music and play it. I have other things to do like my own music and other music I like to play. I've been playing music for a long time and I don't feel the need to change for that.

Do you prefer stadium shows with Dave or small shows of your own?

They're both rewarding in different ways. In doing your own thing, it's natural. It's personal expression. Especially when I have my own album. It's so fulfilled on my own. But with Dave, he's such a nice guy that you don't ever feel bad about doing anything with them. When I do his work, it's always just fun to step into that world. It's surreal. But it's great to go back to the small scene.

How much does Dave mean to your career?

It's integral in one way because I can go out and play all over, but it's also something I've been doing my whole life.

Do you visit Charlottesville often?

Not much. I was there in the summer on vacation, but it's kind of like its own little world, which is why I liked living there. It's really neat that way.

Why do people label you as a "political" artist?

Probably because I hung out with a politician but it's because it was the only one I thought wasn't a liar, out of all of them. I really just hate politics with a passion. But you can't keep your mouth shut when there's so much bullshit going on. Once in a while, you have to say something. It's a natural thing. It's like playing music. I really can't help it.

What's going to happen here in 2008?

You know, I spent so much time, the last time around, trying to figure that out ... I'm going to spend my energy this time making music. It's going to be crazy. It makes me just want to keep making music. I read this cool book called Art and Physics, which really just showed how painters and sculptors on back through time ... artists have really presented a pictorial idea of all the big ideas like Einstein and everything. And it shows the parallel and it gave me the inspiration to go for it in that realm. Politics is really a small part of it, because there's so much going on in other dimension.

When you were younger, why did you join the Air Force?

I was an Army brat. The only reason I did that was out of sheer desperation. Living in the Midwest in St. Louis, I couldn't really get the music thing going. I had that brainwashing that everybody has from a family in the military. I tried it on for size and realized it was just bad news. A big joke. It opened my eyes to the cynicism that the war machine has about itself. We're really not protecting. All the freedoms that you and I have ... they haven't come from a war or a guy with a gun. It comes from protesting and getting in the government's face and changing laws. Freedom of speech only has been around since 1964, even though it was written into the Constitution. You know what I mean? There still isn't equal opportunity. It still goes on and on.

So what got you into music?

It was in my family already. My sister had a record player and I used to wake up to music. Elvis, Motown, Beatles ... that whole era. I was familiar with music that was before my time. They didn't play music for a living, but I was surrounded by it. I figured out early on that I liked rock 'n' roll and soul music. I was on the road with a band in 1979 and we went through Charlottesville and I just thought that town was really awesome. For me, from the Midwest, Charlottesville felt exotic. Green stuff in February? But then when I came to New Mexico for the first time, forget about it. Nothing is more exotic than what's here.

Why did you do a double disc release with such distinct moods?

With all CDs, it's just openly expressing a feeling. The first CD was more polished. It's about sitting around with a producer and seeing how the songs sound after a couple months. It's process with no deadline. The other CD was stuff I did at home that I didn't want to produce. They were already produced. I married those CDs together and there's a little give and take. There are songs on the first CD that are completely improvised. But on the second CD, there are songs that are more thought out, but they sound improvised. It bled into each other. The first CD is more about vocals and progressive rock. The second CD is more sonic. In a way, that's like an old CD to me now because I finished that a year before it came out. I already have a couple more ready to go.

How do people react to your music? Do they expect your songs to be so electronic?

Mostly positive. But I don't know beyond the five people on my message board and I mostly judge on the gigs. I used to play an hour acoustic solo. Me personally, you can be the best guy in the world on acoustic but when people see you pick up an electric guitar after that, they go, "Yes!" So then you turn on a drum machine and all of a sudden you're rocking out, you can't help but like it on a basic, rock 'n' roll bar level. So I went with that approach for a while and it was easy because I always knew that for the last half hour I'd crank it out. But there's also the challenge of doing it acoustic. I realized recently that you can rock as hard without the drum machines by just choosing the moment. You arc the set different ways each night. I'm doing a lot of the music from that CD, but without the drum machines and all that.

As the industry changes, what's your plan?

I just plan to keep playing gigs. Selling music always goes up and down because what's hip changes, and that changes everything. Who knows? It's like the government. It gets so complex and once in a while some tipping point gets reached and they have to blow out a bubble. It's tough to follow the trend. I realize stuff is going on, but the constant for me is just to go out and play and you just keep recording music. I'm getting ready to record a bunch of solo acoustic things and it'll have a CD with it of really spacey, meditative stuff. I just keep going and doing my own thing.

Any desire to write a smash hit?

I've written a bunch of them! Good god! Well, you've probably never heard of them and you probably never will (laughs). I spent time in the '80s in a band focusing on that, and I have songs like that, but they're not produced in a simple way. I could do that, but I'm not interested. You never know. The music business is full of weirdness. Once in a while, something weird happens. Bob Dylan, a guy playing acoustic guitar comes out of nowhere and he's a big hit. I could never be that, but I'm not trying for it and these days in music, you don't ever go anywhere unless you intend to. It's never an accident. It might take somebody a long convoluted path to get there, but when they get there, it's an intention. It's like politics. It really is. I just play my own game.

Who do you listen to?

I like a lot of metal, but not really any genre. Like that band Meshuggah? I love those f*ckers! They're crazy. But, you can't get up to it. You can't do other things when that's goin' on. I like John Hammond. He's so good at it. I'm also always cycling through old progressive rock. It re-created the childhood glow.

So you didn't watch the Grammys.

I didn't. But I like U2. I like Green Day. I was never into them but my daughter wanted to go see them so I got familiar with them so I wouldn't be clueless, and they're like a punk-rock Beatles. I still get on my knees to that shit. I'm always learning Beatles songs.

What are bands missing today?

When they don't get it, it's because they don't have soul. Meshuggah is crazy, but it has its own soul. It's Viking-esque or whatever but there's a lot of soul. On TV, bands never sounds like they're supposed to. You need two sound guys at a TV show. There's a sound man in the TV place who makes the sound that goes into the world, but he isn't the same guy that does the house mix. You have to get that together or else it sounds like shit. The first time DMB was on TV it was like "you can't hear this or that" and then (DMB producer) Steve Lillywhite was like, "Well, you know fellas, when you go on TV you need two sound guys," and so now they know that secret and they sound great and all these new bands don't. I saw Peter Gabriel sound bad on Jay Leno a long time ago.

What should people know before they come to see you?

Make it a mystery.

IF YOU GO
WHAT: Electric City and Diamond City present an evening with Tim Reynolds
WHEN: Wednesday, March 1, 9 p.m.
WHERE: River Street Jazz Café, Plains
HOW MUCH: Tickets $12 advance, $15 DOS.
MORE INFO: Call 822-2992 for information.