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Thursday, July 6, 2006
Drum Machines & Pig Guts

Guitar virtuoso Tim Reynolds on drum machines and pig guts

By Stan Feldman
Star-News Correspondent

In a career spanning more than two decades, the guitarist Tim Reynolds has produced, as well as contributed to, dozens of albums. Despite a long and eclectic solo career, he is best-known for his collaboration with longtime friend Dave Matthews.

With that in mind, I called Reynolds, who plays a solo acoustic show at Rox on Sunday, at his home in New Mexico with the intent to avoid the Matthews subject at all costs, and to chat with this under-appreciated legend.

What can we expect from you on July 9th?

Well, I'm gonna stand there naked and urinate on some pig guts. Probably smoke a cigarette while I do that. Other than that, play some acoustic guitar.

The pig guts sound like a nice touch. You've often spoken of your admiration for songwriters such as Peter Gabriel and their influence on your music. Do you see yourself continuing further into electronic composition?

I often cycle through different mediums to see what I can find. When I was younger, I experimented with sitars and stuff ... Recently I've gotten into drum machines. That's kind of where I am now. For a while now, the show has been an hour with the acoustic (guitar) and half an hour with the machines ... I found the machine was drawing me away from (the guitar), and so I dropped the machine. Of course, I can never play the same thing twice. I'm always writing instrumentals. Now, I'm getting back into writing a lot of lyrics. I still feel like I'm a drum machine internally anyway.

Do you prefer the studio or the live show?

I'll tell you what: I've learned to appreciate the hell out of both ... The studio is really cool. It's the longer approach, listening to stuff, like Peter Gabriel records, over and over again ... Now I'm learning from what I've learned in the studio. It's like painting a picture, finding what is going to move the rhythym along or what phrasing is going to make the third verse stick together ... Now I can apply that to the live show. I have my setl ists still, but there's room to play to the crowd.

Is the road, the audience specifically, ever restricting?

There are different gigs. There are loud shows where everyone is going (expletive) apeshit, and you play the most rocking thing you can and you stay away from the softer stuff ... Then there's also the more relaxed ones where people are really feeling the music on the inside, but then again, sometimes a sit-down crowd can rock as well.

I've heard you're a big reader. What are you working on now? Any recommendations?

My wife got me The Book Thief. It's about a little girl in Germany right before the Nazi takeover. Death is the narrator, and he's really not a bad guy. He's just doing his job ... Other than that, I like political books. There's a lot of good stuff right now, because the media hasn't done such a great job. Many different viewpoints, that kind of thing.

Last question. I noticed on your Web site that you have a dedication to Hunter S. Thompson. How has his work influenced you?

Oh yeah! His attitude, to me, he's the most truthful journalist ever. He's a funny guy, a big partier but an observer too. It's such an unusual marriage of two extremes. You can even see it in his work like Fear and Loathing. His sense of humor and his intimate feelings are there throughout ... I appreciate his ability to be funny but once in a while take you into the dark truth. And I always appreciated his grace.