A Journey of Discovery:
An Interview with Tim Reynolds
Words by Steve Melone
Photo by Mark Dershowitz
It can be argued that Tim Reynolds is the most interesting musician in the world. Years ago he learned to play violin, sitar, drums, and keyboard; most recently, he’s utilized drum machines in his work. And he didn’t learn the guitar – the guitar learned Tim Reynolds. That actually might be a bit much, but the guitar virtuoso is far beyond talented when it comes to his skills on the fretboard.
Throughout his career, he hasn’t been confined to one genre, and for good reason. His music with TR3, or the Tim Reynolds Trio, has remnants of blues, jazz, metal, funk and even psychedelia. It all seems to fall underneath the rock umbrella that has come to embrace the multi-genre musician so openly.
“You could come back lifetimes, just learning one style for each life, because that’s a deep feeling. It just happens that when I was getting into music I was really curious about different things. First one, then two, then three, then eventually it just kind of became one,” says Reynolds. “The closest I got to being one singular style was for about ten years when I lived in Virginia, I just wanted to play straight jazz, and really get down with the bebop, and I really focused on that. At the same time I was listening and discovering Bob Marley, and that’s kind of how I started TR3. I wanted to play that in a different band.”
On top of his music with TR3, Reynolds has attracted attention through his contributions to the Dave Matthews Band, both live and in studio. Ask any DMB fan about Tim Reynolds and most will open their eyes wide and explain how they have seen (or wanted to see) the two in concert together. It’s almost a DMB fan’s rite of passage to do so. Either way, he has enjoyed the change in direction and has been able to show his adaptability wherever he performs. “They have the best people to work with, you get to travel in style and Dave’s a great guy so it’s not like work. It’s just so much fun. But I do like doing my own thing quite a bit.”
And doing his own thing entails putting out TR3’s second studio record and having the full control he’s been waiting for throughout the process. Like Some Kind of Alien Invasion was released this past October after being recorded and produced over almost two years time. With TR3’s latest installment listeners can enjoy an album that jumps from experimental rock, to calming instrumentals like “Grania”, to pounding hard rock songs like “In the Zone,” and “I.C.U.”
Reynolds considers this release to be the most satisfying to date. “It’s really different than all the other albums I’ve ever done. We spent a long time on it, and not necessarily in the studio. Since I was on the road so much we decided to also record at local studios as an experiment, just to see how it would go. It just became a great learning experience for everybody and we really got into it. We learned to work with minimal equipment, so it was really fun getting into the groove of finding the moment and the right thing to use. I love that work. I live for that kind of shit,” Reynolds says. “I was really sad when it was over, but you got to let it go. Then you come back to it and listen to it in different contexts to see if it sits well, and that’s what’s great about this record. I can still listen to it, and I’m just as happy with it now as when I pressed it.”
Having time on his side clearly helped Reynolds carry out his sonic vision. The making of the album utilized a methodical approach while also leaving room for spontaneity, allowing band members the freedom to experiment. “It’s great getting the best of both worlds, getting a really solid structure down, but also getting a lot of spontaneity. You try to get as much live stuff on tape, but the most important thing is getting the drums down, then you can change things. I changed about half the songs after the first round, I didn’t like it.”
“It felt good to search for a different way to make a song happen. That was something I had never really done before. It was a long journey of discovery about getting the best live takes, then getting to the overdubs and treating it the same way. Okay, I’m going to do this, but I don’t know what I’m going to do. Roll the tape!”
Pick up a copy of Like Some Kind of Alien Invasion, and catch Tim on tour this January!
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