CN&R contributor Christine LaPado chats it up with guitar virtuoso Tim Reynolds
Quick bio of guitarist Tim Reynolds: Army brat, born in Germany, brought up in the Midwest. His dad went to church a lot; consequently, so did Reynolds. He came to associate white church music “with complete depression,” as one source quoted him saying. Grew to love Motown, Elvis Presley and rock ‘n’ roll because that’s what his sister played on the record player when she babysat him.
Reynolds started playing electric bass at age 12, which evolved into playing sitar, guitar, violin, mandolin and various ethnic percussion instruments. As a young adult, Reynolds—who was becoming increasingly known for his amazing guitar chops, from rock to jazz to funk and fusion—moved to Charlottesville, Va., and formed his long-running band TR3.
Oh yeah, Charlottesville is also where Reynolds met Dave Matthews, who was a bartender at the time at a club called Miller’s. Bartender Dave Matthews then went on to become the Dave Matthews. Reynolds toured and recorded with the Dave Matthews Band but never officially joined.
I spoke with Tim Reynolds recently by phone. He was at his home “out in the country in New Mexico, south of Santa Fe, right next to the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world.”
CN&R: What can we expect from your show at the Women’s Club?
Reynolds: Nothing other than that I’m gonna show up with two acoustic guitars and I’m gonna play music. … I play a lot of covers on this tour.
Are you going to do any visual stuff? (Reynolds has been known to put on shows featuring computer-generated imagery and video footage.)
No, I did that for a while. … If you become a visual artist, you have to become more and more focused on getting it [the visuals and the music] synched up. … I really love bands like Skinny Puppy that really get it right.
I noticed you have a reading list on your Web site. There’s a lot of heavy stuff on your list—Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States, Greg Palast’s The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Noam Chomsky … I can’t read too much of that stuff without getting kind of depressed …
Oh, I always have to balance it a lot with Buddhist stuff. … For the last 20 years, I’ve been trying to understand The Tibetan Book of the Dead. I read it over and over. … To this day, I am in awe of their understanding of the psychological processes of the mind; how they talk about the different aspects of anger, the song of life. … It’s not like going into a monastery to escape [life]. You deal with it right now.
Meditation, for me these days, is really important. It looks so simple in some ways, like you’re doing nothing, but it seems like it would be really good for a lot of people.
Yes, simple. That’s why it’s so hard. We’re taught complexity from day one.
Anything you’re listening to these days that you find exciting musically?
I really like this new Flaming Lips album. I really dig them for being so unique and truthful, at least in the music business. But I’m still into the music from the period of 1969 to 1972. I love the crazy, insane, cabaret sound of Vandergraf Generator, and early Genesis.
I know you’re a little tired, from what I’ve read, of “only” being associated with the Dave Matthews Band, so I’m not going to really get into that. I know you guys are friends, though, right?
Yeah, he’s really cool about the whole thing. We just used to play music in the basement and eat brownies and make heavy—aaaarrrrrggghhh!—industrial music. He’s really pretty much the same person I knew back then. He can be really funny, like Jim Carrey, too. There’s a 10-year age difference between us, but having fun together is really the basis of our friendship.