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Thursday, April 17, 2008 Interview w/ TR

Weekly Davespeak Interviews Tim Reynolds about Progress in the Studio and Inspiration

Thursday, April 17, 2008

By David Reiersgord

When I first was given the opportunity to talk with Tim, I was overjoyed with the thought of speaking with someone who has been such an integral part of DMB. Over the course of the nearly 40 minute conversation, Tim and I talked briefly about his presence in the studio, the year ahead for TR3, and what is really inspiring him these days with his music.

I knew Tim was a smart guy, but after hearing him personally speak about things such as quantum physics, the music he’s listening to, and where he receives all of his news to stay current, I got the impression that he was an extremely insightful person.

One thing that I respected about Tim was how unwilling he was to speak about the album. It says a lot about his character and shows the respect and admiration he has for DMB.

TR: Hello?

DR: Hey Tim, how are ya?

TR: Good, how are you doing?

DR: Good

TR: Good

DR: So, I just want to let you know how honored I am to get the chance to interview you.

TR: Well, thank you.

DR: I just want to ask you some questions about the work you are doing in the studio, the new guys you have with TR3, and some of the upcoming shows you have with Dave.

TR: Yeah.

DR: Is it okay with you if I record the interview?

TR: Sure.

DR: Okay, so are you in Seattle right now?

TR: Yeah.

DR: And you're recording with DMB?

TR: Yeah.

DR: Okay, what's it like to be back in the studio, after about 10 years with them?

TR: It's great.

DR: And how did it start this time around, who contacted who, as in getting you back in there, or getting on the album?

TR: It was kind of a process that was very organic. I was first contacted by a guy, Bruce Flohr. He has worked with them for a long time, that's who I was contacted by.

DR: So you have a string of shows coming up with TR3?

DR: And what can fans expect to hear with the two new guys you have in TR3's new sound?

TR: Well, it's different than the ones we had before, but it kind of encompasses all of the different versions of TR3. It's an electric rock trio, and we really like to play rock music, it's very electirc. Everybody sings, the songs have a lot of frequent harmonies. We're having fun playing covers, and we do a lot of new songs that haven’t been done with TR3 before, and we're doing some really old TR3 songs. We're doing stuff from all of the different periods. Until the mid 90's I still had trio's but they were a different style, but at this point it's kind of including all of those styles.

We're doing stuff from the 80's all the way up to stuff from Parallel Universe. So it's all the material from all of the years, we're doing all of it, and then we also have a lot of new songs that we've been working on. It's really fun and I'm really excited about doin' it, ya know?

DR: Do you have any plans on making an album with your new guys?

TR: Oh yeah! I'm hoping to go to the studio in May.

DR: What does 2008 have in store for TR3?

TR: We're going to be doing this next tour, and we're going to be doing some work, then some touring in the fall. In the summer we're going to have some shows opening for DMB. I know we have some festival plans in Minnesota, I believe it's the 10,000 Lakes Festival, I think. We'll do some more gigs around Richmond and Baltimore, so places like that. I think we're playing in North Carolina somewhere. I really have a busy schedule, that it almost makes my head spin.

DR: So with Dave you have the Acoustic Evening with the Dali Lama, and the Kokua Festival in Hawaii. What sort of things are you looking forward to in those shows?

TR: Well just to play music and to be in the presence of the Dali Lama, because I've been into Buddhism for about 20 years. That’s going to be a real treat. I saw him speak years ago at the Water Center in Washington. So it will be an honor do to anything, it will be a big honor. I look forward to going to Hawaii as well.

DR: Yeah, so you guys are playing at Jack Johnson's festival there?

TR: Right. That will be really excellent. I love going to Hawaii.

DR: Is it difficult for you and Dave to play a show after such long breaks? Or have you guys developed sort of a feeling and a chemistry between you two that you just kind of is there?

TR: Yeah, it's pretty easy to do that because we've been doing it for so long, it kind of falls into place.

DR: So you've recently moved from New Mexico?

TR: Yeah, I still have a place there but I've been living in the Outer Banks. But I've also been gone most of the time on the road. I go out there for the summer for a little bit, but when I'm on tour I'm in and out a whole lot for a week at a time, maybe two weeks at the most, and then I'm gone on tour or recording.

DR: So why the change to North Carolina?

TR: It was nice to get a change to somewhere else, but I'm not completely extracted from New Mexico. I still have a house there, and I still really like it there. I'm going to go back there hopefully at the end of the next month.

DR: What sort of things in your life inspire you now with your music?

TR: Pretty much everything. It's not a singular thing. Different things. Being in love inspires one to play music, and traveling. Music comes from different things. If I'm feeling up I'll play music. If I'm feeling down I'll play music. If I'm feeling anything I'll play music. It's kind of like breathing. Everything inspires me to play music. I saw some people last month like this guy Cornell West. I saw him on TV talking, and that inspired me to write a song. I saw someone else on TV and that inspired me some more, so I wrote this song called The Test Of Time which is dedicated to Martin Luther Kings struggle which has still not been realized by any means. His dream still needs to be lived out.

There's still a lot of crazy stuff going on that shouldn't be going on. The incompleteness of that. There's a whole lot of war going on that shouldn't ever be going on. The whole way that society shifts assumption into the public thinking place. That war is okay, and we need to stay the course. That's why I'm into music. Politics is such a bullshit scene.

DR: Have you been following politics in this election that has been going on now?

TR: Just a little. They can do whatever they want, but it's still going to be corporate America. I'm really pissed at the Democratic party, who could take us out of Iraq, and that's why people voted them in in the last election in 2006. We're a big party if you ask me. The way the media treats it is like a circus. They aren't really talking about any issues that are important. The way different media outlets like Fox News which is just a bunch of talking think they're a 24 hour news station. CNN isn't a whole lot better, but they all play the game of just accepting the status quo of how stuff is going on.

The party system is really a corporate system, and the corporations pay for both parties. It goes on and on. The only President that we've ever had that was remotely right was Jimmy Carter who looked like a fool only because he was trying to do the right thing. He had to deal with the power of politics and he couldn't really follow through. The light for me is where music is made, and that's where I get inspiration. I don't get inspiration from politics. The only politician that I've met who has good ideas is Dennis Kuchinich but his whole thing, and his whole way of thinking is corrupted in the press, totally, because he's not some macho guy.

I'm really disgusted in politics and I'm not much interested in it. I think it's cool that Barack Obama is in the fore front. I think that's hopeful for people. But still, I don't want to say he's pro-war, but he's certainly not pro getting out of war. You should never say anything to appease anybody, you should be straight up. That's why I have a bad taste in my mouth from politics because most politicians just kind of say what the audience in front of them wants to hear.

DR: With YouTube, and all those other online sites, how do you think that translate into music and making certain smaller independent bands - how do you think that helps them grow?

TR: Well, I think it helps them immensely. Um, you know, there’s all kinds of music on the internet and it’s really great, you know, and I think, uh, you know, that’s a really good thing for sure.

DR: Do you have a problem with taping policies?

TR: Not personally, no. You know, I mean it used to be a really big thing with record labels that didn’t want to get their new products out because that’s how they sell it ‘cause it’s a new product, you know, but other people don’t really care about it that much. And there’s also the joy that when people make new music, it’s just their personal taste, and they don’t want people to hear it until it’s totally done. I still think that’s a totally valid thing and I think it’s up to each individual musician to choose because there’s a lot of things, because I know like for myself, you start out, and you play a song live, you don’t want to record it yet, you maybe a year later have come up with a much better version and it’s, you know, it depends on what you want to get out of it. It might be cooler in your mind to have people hear it after it’s developed in all of its phases, you know, that might be a lesser of a thing. It’s just that in that final mode you know, it can be like, song by song and it’s obviously individual to individual.

Some bands don’t sound that great until they’ve developed their sound and it’s interesting to hear the earlier work if you’re really into it. It’s just a matter of taste. Some people enjoy that, and some people don’t know, you know. I really think everyone should have the freedom to choose whether they want to do that or not, you know. I think sometimes people are so desperate to hear the next first note by somebody and they’re not ready for it and I think I can see the validity of both points of view, but I think in general the whole internet and all that You Tube is really great because it just gets information out there beyond music and things that the mainstream media don’t really want to play. There’s all kinds of stuff that went on last weekend that you probably didn’t hear about in the media and that was Iraq Veterans against the war, having their own speaking about the atrocities in the war that the big media doesn’t want to give a claim in politics because you know, well Obama’s pastor said something, so that’s what you see on TV and it’s just a waste of time.

They should be focusing on you know, the fact that our government is a giant criminal enterprise and it keeps getting away with murder, literally. That can really be a source of angst for people that have gone there and given their lives for the country and then realize that they’ve been lied to and all they’ve been doing is keeping the oil flowing so that they can drive big cars and rule the world with their iron fists and that’s just wrong, you know.

DR: Do you find, in terms - you’ve got a lot to say about kind of the state of society as it stands today. Do you think, sort of sub-consciously those things inspire you because you talk about how you’ve got a bad taste in your mouth from politics and you don’t really watch TV anymore in terms of the commentary and political shows. Do you think that those things are worked into the sounds you create and the things you try to emulate through the music that you’re creating?

TR: Yeah, you know, the music that I grew up with inspired me and it makes me feel hopeful. You know, I reach for that, and I try to bring that back out into the world, you know what I mean? Because the other things that I speak of, like the dark things in the world, they don’t inspire me to - they inspire me to write things about that, you know what I mean? But what inspires me in the light, in the hopefulness is music, you know what I mean? The dark information, the politics is kind of disgusting and so the music that one writes about that is more in the form of a protest, you know what I mean? Like protest music and what inspires me on the brighter side is really great music, you know. I really like the new Radiohead record, and The Shins, TV on the Radio, and Deftones, you know. That kind of music makes me feel great and I just want to kind of be apart of that opportunity, you know what I mean?

There’s so much of these other things going on the in the world that I think music is way to move consciousness forward, you know. So, that’s the kind of the logical to keep playing music ‘till I drop dead. I’ll always keep doing that, you know. We can’t let the dark forces in the world have the last word. My dying breath will be, my last word, and it won’t be darkness, you know. My job is to do the opposite of that. But, of course to know what’s going on is very important because that’s the only way that you can detail and see through it, you know.

I don’t really want to watch TV, but I will learn and I’m really interested in what’s going on. But there’s much more direct ways to get real information like Information Clearing House - is that what’s it’s called? - yeah, it’s a website called Information Clearing House and they really give information everyday. Or Democracy Now with Amy Goodman, she’s one of the last real journalist in America. Truth Out, Why Not News, these kind of things, you know. So, I learn a lot from that and that’s what really inspires me, you know, just the fact that these are people that are trying to get the truth out, literally.

DR: Do you feel like music is one of the last pieces of hope that we have to force change in a way?

TR: Yeah, I think music is like the ultimate religion that unties people, you know. You can take two people on politically opposite sides and find a song that they both like and they’re not on opposite sides. So, there’s something there that I think needs to be drawn out to a larger context. Musicians do that by their nature, you know, they want to make people happy with music. If you can do that for a minute, that’s a hopeful thing, so there‘s that.

DR: You mention the new Radiohead CD. What were your thoughts on In Rainbows?

TR: I just think it’s great, you know. I just think they’re very, in a way like in the 70s, you know, when you had really true progressive rock, you know. The Yes, and the Genesis. They were really strict in the boundaries of what song forms and the sounds of music are. I think Radiohead doesn’t sound like any of those bands, but in modern day, I think they are kind of similar in their place in the musical world in that they’re stretching the boundaries of what can be done. It’s not always a technical thing. Like, this guy can play the most wild guitar. It’s more like, almost like minimalism you know, what’s the different kind of notes that you can put into a chord. How does that, you know, put that with a different rhythm, you know. Beyond that, just how much feeling goes into that, you know. Just deep feeling. That’s really the ultimate thing, you know. The feeling that one can create with the music that’s new, you know. It’s a beautiful thing.

DR: What other bands are you listening to right now?

TR: Uh, well I listen to a lot of different things. I’m really listening to a lot of planets right now. I have these tapes of NASA that has all of the different planet’s sounds and I’ve been listening to that. I listen to a lot of old stuff as well. I like the Radiohead, The Shins, the latest Nine Inch Nails. I’m really excited about the new Meshuggah when it comes out.

DR: You said the CD’s of NASA. What is that like?

TR: Well, it’s interesting because if you listen to that you realize that a lot of music has already been kind of making those sounds, and these are sounds that have been rotating in our galaxy for you know, 4, 5, billion years. It almost sounds like angels, it almost sounds like (in audible) space out sections - these really big drumming sounds. That’s what the planets sound like. It might be scary to some people because it’s this big kind of, ahhhhh, but it’s just awesome. It’s the biggest note and it’s literally planets flying through space.

It sounds like the big Star Trek Enterprise, this big drum sound, you know. And then there’s sounds at different parts of the CD that, you know, the arc of the sound changes and it sounds like angels or musical notes. One day I was actually copying some notes from, whatever it was, Jupiter, or Saturn. There’s really notes that come out of it and it’s all long notes. It’s beautiful. So, I’m getting inspiration from planet songs as it were. You know, I’m gonna have to go in a minute. I have to get back in the studio and do some other things.

DR: So you’re opening with TR3 for DMB for this summer?

TR: Yeah, a couple gigs. I don’t know if there’s that many, but I know there’s two on the books as it were.

DR: Are there any chances of you showing up anymore at other venues on tour, that just those two shows?

TR: Oh, yeah.

DR: So there’s plans then for the Summer for you to show up other places this tour?

TR: I think so. But it’s all very early in the stages of development, as it were. I just don’t feel at liberty to say, “yes, this is definitely this and that.” Rock and roll is very dynamic and you just, you know, it’s still in all like very early phases of that kind of thing. I can only tell you for sure what I’m doing with TR3 because I know, like, that’s a known quantity. And I’m in the studio now with DMB, but it’s still like, you know, still like, in a writing process as it were. Things are in a very early phase, you know. But It’s going really great.

DR: Well hey, I appreciate you sitting down and talking with me. I really appreciate it and it was an honor to talk to you, sir.

TR: Oh, thanks, man. I wasn't quite awake when you first called, so I probably slowly woke up during the course of the interview, so the earlier part of it might be a little iffy.

DR: Go and get yourself some coffee and enjoy the rest of the day.

TR: Alright, thanks, man.

DR: Thank you very much, sir.

A complete recording and transcript of the interview is available to download at the following link: