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

Wednesday, October 6, 1999

The musician to be named later Tim Reynolds takes on life after Dave with a new album By Marisa Connolly News Staff


Courtesy of

The Dave Matthews Band is traditionally thought of as a college band, drawing the young, early-20s crowd to huge concerts at places like Giants Stadium; their CDs found in mega-bass stereo systems for a night of drinking and smoking. After his latest tour, one that took Dave across the country playing auditoriums in small and medium-sized colleges to sold-out crowds, that characterization may seem well-deserved.

But what non-Dave fanatics don’t know about the most recent tour is that it was completely acoustic — just two guitars blending together on an otherwise empty stage — and Dave’s musical partner was a guitar playing phenom named Tim Reynolds, who is about 20 years beyond college and known most for his modern, electric musical style.

Reynolds music career began many years before he ever met Matthews in a South Carolina bar and forged the relationship that would lead him to record with The Dave Matthews Band on their first albums for RCA. In fact, his latest album, “Astral Projection,” is his fifth CD, and the tour brought him to the Paradise on Tuesday.

Reynolds unique musical tastes began developing in his childhood. “The first musical style I remember is actually drumming — how loud it was,” Reynolds said in a recent telephone interview. “I heard marching snares [drums], and they made me just want to bang on a piano with my fist, playing the same note over and over.”

Reynolds’ fascination with noise as music basically defines his style. Growing up the son of strictly conservative parents, Reynolds moved all over the country and experienced radically different cultures and traditions — from Eskimos beating drums in Alaska to the bluegrass sounds of the midwest — because his father was in the military. Reynolds believes his constant movement was good for his overall well-being.

As far as music was concerned, his parents welcomed his love for the art — as long as he played in church. Early on, Reynolds played the electric bass for his congregation, but as music grew in his soul, he knew he needed more freedom. At about age 17, Reynolds had to leave home to keep moving forward.

“I stood my ground, and as a result, my family showed a lot of love,” he said. Reynolds said he had very little contact with his father after leaving, but years later his father realized that he could still support his son without telling him what to do.

Leaving home meant taking up with the token first band. For Reynolds, it was a regular rock band that played paid weekend gigs. But that traditional road quickly grew weary for Reynolds, so he shacked up with what his publicists like to call an “experimental” band. Reynolds explained that it’s difficult to explain the term “experimental.”

“We jammed and stuff, but mostly we just blew that off and did mushrooms in the basement,” he said. “But what the band did is drove me to experience more of the teenage realm.”

His “experimental” beginnings, however, have never really left Reynolds. His albums have been filled with modern rhythms taken from all areas of musical experience — he’s never satisfied with one particular sound. More importantly, his proficiency on the guitar has placed him among some of the industry’s most elite, mostly because of his ability to make the guitar sound like a sitar or a computerized sound. He’s been quoted as saying that he listens to “modern industrial sounds” and tries to imitate that sound on the guitar.

“It’s like driving in a car,” he explained. “You’re just driving and you hear this screech and you think, ‘That’s the coolest sound!’ It’s just truck brakes, you know?

“You hear [both] a note and the sound that makes a note.” Those industrial sounds are distorted, he said, but it only sounds good if you can hear a note in the noise.

Reynolds takes this advice on “Astral Projection,” but the album is slightly different from his past work in that he has now added a political voice to his songs, speaking out in the name of Tibetan freedom. Reynolds’ work has always been political in nature, but never before had he literally spoken out in words. For him, speaking out was simply something new to do, but not something that he feels music must be obligated to.

“Some people play music that makes you feel all those things and more without saying a word,” Reynolds said.

This new album comes on the heels of his last collaborative effort with Matthews, “Live at Luther College.” His relationship with Matthews, Reynolds explained, is based mostly on fun.

“Dave is a funny guy. He’s silly, we joke around, think we’re in high school,” he said. Reynolds also said the idea for The Dave Matthews Band stemmed from his original acoustic jams with Matthews in his basement. Those acoustic sounds molded into not only the two-CD set, but a performance on VH1 “Storytellers.”

“[Storytellers] was much like doing a coffeehouse,” Reynolds said. The performance was slower than Reynolds usually likes, because of the taping for TV, and some of Matthews’ funnier stories had to be left out.

Reynolds has high hopes for the world of rock. His response to the idea that “Rock is Dead?”

“It’s a brilliant marketing ploy. Just yell, ‘Rock is dead!’ ‘Rock is dead!’ over and over again.” Like coming up with different genres, “rock is dead” will sell hundreds of albums, he added.

To Reynolds, the world of rock is thriving. He mentioned groups like Limp Bizkit and Rage Against the Machine as some bands who, like The Dave Matthews Band, will make the long-term cut. But Reynolds warns music-lovers to keep their ears open.

“There’s some really great music out there,” he said, “not just the stuff they play on MTV.”