Monday, September 15, 2008

Scott Reynolds (All & The Pavers) Interview (September 2008)

Simply saying that Scott Reynolds is a story teller may be the understatement of the year. The man has been at the game of punk rock for longer than I've been alive and does not seem to ever be slowing down. There are a couple of really great nuggets in here, especially when he starts talking about his kids! I'm looking forward to sharing that beer with him next month. Expect a pretty epic piece tracing the lineage of Scott's musical career on the site soon.

Bill: How did you originally end up joining All?

Scott: You mean in the old days?

Bill: Yes.

Scott: Back in the olden days. Well I was living in Western New York and I had gotten done with college and was living at my folks house and I got kicked out for being a bum. So I decided that I wanted to do music since I was an art guy; I painted in college but I was also a big music, college band guy. I decided I liked music a lot better so I thought if I was going to do it, where would be a good place to go for a guy like me? The Descendents were one of the bands that kind of played music that sounded like the music I did. There were other bands too but with the Descendents I saw a picture of them and it was scary, they kind of looked like me too! (chuckle)

Bill: (appreciative chuckle)

Scott: So I drove out in my car and I called them and I didn’t think that I would be in their band, I just thought that if they make that kind of music and they live in the South Bay of Los Angeles, I can go there and find some kind of subculture I could slide right in to. I was living in my car in their parking lot bothering them. I played in a band with Tony Lombardo from the Descendents and I did another band with Frank Navetta, also from the Descendents, and then eventually a job opened up and I moved out of my car and into their office.

Bill: That’s cool. Now you left the band in 1993, correct?

Scott: Something like that, yeah.

Bill: What caused that split?

Scott: Well at the time we were living in this little town in Missouri and the music kind of… you know you make a lot of compromises when you’re doing a band, and it felt like I was doing more compromising than I really wanted to. We had different visions of where we thought the band should go next and it started to cause friction. I think we all kind of mutually decided that my head was in kind of a different game at that point.

Bill: When did The Pavers form? Did you go right into The Pavers after you quit All?

Scott: No, I had met a girl on tour, which also added into it when it came to quitting. Well anyway, I moved out to the Seattle/Tacoma area and started a band called Goodbye Harry. I had two records with that band with two completely different lineups. They were on Cruz Records, which is Greg Ginn’s thing.

Bill: Same as All.

Scott: Yeah, that’s right. That kind of fell through; the first incarnation of that band had two of three people who decided that heroin was more important than the music. So I started another band and I can’t really remember… well now I remember, we weren’t doing real well as far as making lives for ourselves out there so I moved to West New York and bought a duplex. They were supposed to come and take one apartment and my wife, kid and I would take the other. They never showed! So I met some guys in Buffalo who had a band that I liked, and we became The Pavers.

Bill: That’s cool, I didn’t know the story behind that. You said that you were having some musical differences with the guys in All. Did the next couple of bands end up being what you would’ve wanted All to be had you stayed in?

Scott: Well, it kind of doesn’t work like that because I look at bands and musicians as unique entities. When I write a song, I write it on acoustic guitar or piano and it’s a complete thing for me. If you want to hear one of my songs from a record I’ll pick it up and I’ll sing it for you. It’s like that, it’s a complete thing. It’s that the band is another instrument, and it becomes a game of potentiality. The potential that All had to sound a certain way… we had songs… how can I explain it? There were songs that I thought were what I wanted the band to sound like and we weren’t doing enough of them. They were kind of moving more into a straight up, kind of a 4/4 rock sound, and I thought our quirkiness was what was great. So with these other bands it was with a whole other set of musicians. With the songs I write, I don’t think to this day I’ve changed really. I don’t have any pre-conceived notions or methodology or anything where I think “this is how I want it to sound.” I think songs I write now would’ve just as easily gone on All records back then, but it would’ve sounded like All playing it, and that’s a different sound.

Bill: Yeah, when there are different guys playing it they’ll inject their own personality into it.

Scott: Yeah. So to answer your question, the bands that came after that, they didn’t sound like I thought All could. No one can sound like All, I mean, it’s just a different thing. My mark in those bands was more to my liking, you know? The things I got to do and sing, and the things I didn’t have to do and didn’t have to sing were more in line with what I hoped I could accomplish.

Bill: So then what’s the current status of The Pavers beyond the show you’re playing at the Fest this year?

Scott: You know, I don’t know. We’re still really good friends. I’m a Buffalo guy at heart. Tim Patterson does t-shirts for me, if anyone’s looking for a cheap, good t-shirt guy look for Tim Patterson and Steamroller Press. Well anyway, we had kept in touch and Mark and Kevin had been sending me their ideas for songs. When Mike asked me to do the Riot Fest with All, I knew that he’d always liked the Pavers so I said “screw it, I’ll ask him” and he was up for it. So now there’s a little excitement between all of us. We’ll probably end up making another record. Yeah, I think we will.

Bill: I was looking on your website, and 40 Engine, that’s the one with Stephen Eggerton? Then there’s also Steaming Beast?

Scott: Correct. Steaming Beast is kind of where I’m at, musically. It’s just me and whoever wants to play. We did a record called Adventure Boy. Dave Friedman, who records the Flaming Lips and managed Sleater Kinney and Mogwai, he’s an old friend, he recorded it. Steven Drozd from the Flaming Lips played on it. I love it, it’s mellower with pianos and weird noises and different kinds of guitars. There’ll be a lot more of that kind of stuff coming out; we’re going to be doing tours. The idea was that I’ll call it Scott Reynolds and the Steaming Beast and that way I didn’t really have to keep a solid band lineup together, I could go out with whoever wants to be the Beast that night, even if it’s just myself. That’s going to keep rolling along until I’m a hundred I think.

Bill: Then that’s your main focus right now?

Scott: It’s the thing that I see the longest potential for and it’s a lot more ambitious sonically, if not musically. I’m trying to split my focus evenly across everything right now. As far as All goes, we’re just doing it show by show; I don’t even know what’s going to go on with that. It’s fine now though.

Bill: That was another one of my questions, because you have this Fest lined up, I just saw you were playing Fun Fun Fun Fest?

Scott: Yeah, with the Bad Brains, the Dead Milkmen I guess, the Adolescents! It’s a bunch of old farts! Well I’ve gotta thank Mike for that. It’s funny, he emailed me about the Riot Fest saying “Do you think All would like to play the Riot Fest?” And I was like “With me?” because we had never even thought about playing shows. I was just about to say “No, I don’t think so” and I think I’d even pushed the N key and my wife, who’d been living with me for all these years and who works her ass off while I’m a music bum hoping something will shake loose, said “Wait a minute, wait a minute! Ask him about the money and what the thing is before you say no. Try asking them.” And it’s a really good deal, I’ll be able to pay a couple months rent and a car payment and on top of that it seems like a blast! So I called them and everybody said it sounded great! Because of that we’ve had a couple other offers. They flew us over to Japan for one show.

Bill: Yeah I wanted to ask you about that, how did that end up coming about?

Scott: It’s all from the Riot Fest! It got online that if you want this lineup of All, we’ll play a show, you know? So people in Japan caught wind of it and said “Come play this Fuji Rock Fest” on Mount Fuji. The money isn’t earth shattering but it makes it possible, and doable, and reasonable. It’s all because Mike emailed me.

Bill: So how was Japan? I saw a video online and it looked huge.

Scott: Well the video is a little misleading, there were probably 10,000 people there in front of us. In the video it looks like there’s 50,000; we look like Bon Jovi or something. But it was the biggest crowd I’d played to except for maybe once in my life. It was crazy. If you listen to it I’m singing really sharp; it’s almost hard to listen to. But whenever I hear a video and I’m singing that sharp, it means I’m fired up. (chortle) It was just… I can’t tell you, it was bizarre because it was fifteen years, two practices, and then I’m in Japan. It was the weirdest thing. Then I was back home! I was like “Did I just go to Japan with All?”

Bill: Did you stick around Japan at all?

Scott: Well I’d been there with the Pavers, we did a real good tour there once. It was awesome.

Bill: It always seems like everyone’s real happy and super hospitable to the bands.

Scott: That’s what it is. If you go on my myspace there’s a picture from the Pavers tour where I’m standing in front of the crowd, and if you look you can’t see, literally, not one face that doesn’t have a giant smile on it. Nobody acted like tough guys or assholes. It was really cool, it’s kind of like the punk rock shit used to be here a hundred years ago when everybody was just happy somebody came to their town.

Bill: Well especially with All, you had a reputation of constant, constant touring so you’d have to go to all of the out of the way places so you wouldn’t wear out your welcome in the big cities.

Scott: Well yeah, but you know what, the situation back then was real different too. There were a lot of small promoters, people were interested in playing 200 capacity shows and setting things up in their VFW halls. Now with these giant tours, and not just the price of gas because it’s been years that this is happening. I know a lot of bands who’d do the Warped Tour, where bands that really have no business playing it because no one cares, something like the Pavers, who’ve never done it. For The Pavers to play the Warped Tour it’d be ridiculous; we’d end up playing at three in the afternoon while everyone was buying Pennywise merch. You can do much better if you play at the VFW hall to 200 people, but because of the giant tours that come through with all these little bands who are paying to play, to get on them, those kind of promoters have fallen by the wayside. You just don’t see shows like that any more. All played in a hut in the middle of a cornfield in El Paso and it was packed! I’d like to see that happen again. I had a plan with the Pavers, we were going to do “Pavers In Your Basement.” It was going to be “give us $300 and a place to plug in” and we’d bring the PA and everything else. It was going to be a way to show how easy it was to promote a show and come out a little bit ahead even. It kind of fell through and now with the price of gas it’s almost impossible.

Bill: Well I know it’s at least $4.40 all the time up here. It’s ridiculous.

Scott: Well we’re down to $3.60 down here (Austin, TX) but Texas has an oil well behind everybody’s house, maybe that’s why.

Bill: Ha, you’d get no complaints from me! So the show you played in… well I don’t really know if you can call it a show, but the little mini-set you did Fort Collins earlier in the year, was that planned out in advance?

Scott: Nope. I was up there with Steaming Beast doing a couple shows opening for Drag The River, which is Chad Price’s band he does with John Snodgrass, Chad Price being the All singer after me. We were opening for them and we were in Fort Collins and I was also playing with 40 Engine, which is Stephen’s band. So it was like “Well we’re all here, why don’t we play a couple songs.” And we did four songs, three of which were fine. But the fourth song was a song called “Educated Idiot” and I completely forgot how it went and I just stood there; it was terrible. That didn’t get us thinking about shows; when we got an offer from the Riot Fest it snowballed really quickly. And who knows, we’ve only got two more shows booked and that may be the end of it for all we know. We might make a record, you never know how things go.

Bill: Wait, I’m sorry, what did you just say?

Scott: We’ve got two more shows booked as All and I don’t know if that’ll be the end of it or if we’ll get more offers and end up making a record. You just can’t tell.

Bill: It’s one of those things where if it happens it happens?

Scott: Yeah, and if we think too much about it it’ll take all the fun out of it.

Bill: That was actually the next question I had written down, is what you see your future in All being, so I guess you kind of covered that one.

Scott: I don’t think any of us have even thought about it. We’ve had four practices, you know? We’ve done two shows and we have two more booked. The thing about recording a record is… there are three good reasons for people in our predicament, or whatever you want to call it. The first reason is that there’s this huge demand for it where people are saying “come on, please do it.” And up until now I didn’t think there was any demand for it, but apparently there’s some. Now how much there is, if it’s worth everybody taking a couple weeks off work and going somewhere to make a record, that remains to be seen. Another reason is if there’s musically unfinished business, if we have a Sergeant Pepper’s up our sleeve or something that we never got out. I don’t know how true that is; you know I’ve been making records forever and so has everybody else. But maybe when we start passing songs around, there is a great record. I don’t to make a new record where people will say “oh, it’s good.” I would like, if we’re going to do it, people to say “well that makes perfect sense to put in all that effort, this is a really exceptional record.” So we’ll have to see about that. The last reason would be the “bro” factor, where we’re all such good friends and it hasn’t been the same since and we should make a record. And we haven’t really had any contact over the years; we’re just now getting to know each other again. So if one or two or three of those things turns out to be true I wouldn’t doubt that there’d be a record. But who knows.

Bill: You mentioned that you hadn’t kept in contact, so how did you and Stephen end up starting 40 Engine?

Scott: Well when I was in All, Stephen and I were kind of the odd men out musically. I liked these kind of weird, kind of wacky circus type things, kind of cartoony. And Stephen just wrote shit that was from Mars. I was sitting around thinking “I want to call that guy and see if he’s interested in making some kind of record.” You know, he’s in Tulsa (Oklahoma), I live in Austin; it’s only a $30 train ride. It seemed like a fun idea. When we started to record it, the stuff that he wrote is kind of a little more middle of the road than he used to, a little more accessible. I was kind of surprised. But if we ever finish the thing there will be a good chunk of stuff that’s virtually un-listenable! Ha! It would make me very happy. But it was really just a brainstorm one night, thinking “I think I’ll call Stephen and see if he wants to do some shit.”

Bill: Was he into it right from the start?

Scott: Yeah, he was like “That sounds great!” Then we started sending files back and forth. We’ve got a good chunk of files, we just can’t seem to get our lives piled up, to get our poop in a pile enough to do that. It takes an incredible amount of figuring out, and he’s got a family


Bill: Ok, the tape’s recording again, sorry about that. You were talking about the time conflict of you and Stephen trying to figure out…

Scott: Yeah, he’s got family issues and things he’s got to deal with and I’ve got family things, and jobs and other bands. It’s one of those things where we’re working without a label or a plan, and it’s real easy to back burner it repeatedly, especially when you’re like me and Stephen. I’m completely right-brained; I have no organizational skills whatsoever. It makes procrastinating one of my main hobbies. If somebody comes along and somehow feeds us a deadline we’ll probably finish it, you know! (chuckle)

Bill: You just need that outside push?

Scott: Yeah. Maybe. Maybe not. (laugh)

Bill: At the All shows have you been singing any songs you weren’t originally on? Were there any Dave or Chad era songs in the set list?

Scott: We haven’t been doing Chad song because the Chad version of the band is…what’s the word… it’s on the tip of my tongue… it conceivably still exists, it’s potentially still there. If people want to hear the Chad songs all they have to do is bring Chad to town. I don’t think a lot of people are there to see me butcher Chad’s songs. We haven’t really done any of those, but I want to do “Original Me,” which is a song that he wrote.

Bill: Yeah, I know that song.

Scott: Yeah I really like it. We haven’t done it yet but that’s the plan, that’s the only one. The Smalley stuff I used to sing, I even did it on a live record so we do a few of those, then we do a couple Decendents songs because you have to if you want to leave the building in one piece, ha ha. So stuff like that.

Bill: Well “Original Me” would be cool because then you’d be the third person to sing it. On that one Descendents live record they do a version of it with Milo singing.

Scott: Did they?

Bill: Yeah.

Scott: Well Chad wrote it, I think that’s cool.

Bill: You’d have yet another interpretation of it, I think it’d be really cool to hear.

Scott: Yeah, I think it’s a real awesome song?

Bill: It definitely is. Do your kids listen to your music at all?

Scott: I’ve got one that’s a senior in high school and she doesn’t at all. (chuckle) She doesn’t even come to the shows! My little one told me that the bigger one put it on her iPod none of her friends have eve heard it so I would say no. The little one, she used to know every word but she’s starting to get into crappy music. I heard her listening to Linkin Park the other day.

Bill: Oh no. I’m sorry.

Scott: (laughter) “Really, do you like this? Really?” She said “Yeah! And I don’t care what you think!” because I always rag on the other one. It’s funny to me that when I was a kid my parents wanted me to listen to real crappy middle of the road country music. I don’t mind country but you know…

Bill: Not that kind.

Scott: Yeah, some of the shitty folk singers or something. And now my kids will listen to something that’s middle of the road and I’ll go “You kids today!” (laugh) It’s just completely backwards. I’m trying to get them to listen to something with a little bit of guts and they just won’t, they like crap! (strong, hearty laughter)

Bill: (laughter in kind) So my last written down question is the most stereotypical question possible, but have you achieved All?

Scott: Uhhh, have I achieved All? I don’t think that’s possible and that was the whole point of it. There’s always more right? I honestly don’t even know what achieving All really means. To me it was something that was part of the band’s credo before I joined. It actually started in the Descendents. I always try to do as much as I can and take things as far as I can unless I’m tired or I’ve lost interest! (chuckle) In answer to my question, probably not, I don’t think it’s possible. How about you, have you?

Bill: Ha, I definitely have not. Definitely not. It’s the constant struggle though, that’s the thing.

Scott: It’s what makes life interesting.

Bill: Exactly.

Scott: It’s funny, as far as music goes, I’ve had very limited success, monetarily very little. When I played in All I’d have some good shows, nothing great but when we did those tours with Bad Religion we’d have 1200 people at the shows occasionally, and we’d have other good shows. Since I left All I’ve had very small shows; The Pavers played to almost no one at the time. Being solidly middle aged at this point I look at it and I go… I said to my wife, “Sometimes I think about my future and I get butterflies in my stomach” because I’m still so excited about the potential for things to blow up or for something really interesting to happen or something. I still have the same weird… because, it’s ironic, because of my limited success I still have a real excitement about the potential, the possibility of my future. And I look at some of my friends that are very successful, and I have some friends that are very successful. People that have studios and labels that are working really well, and I’ll talk to a lot of them, and you know they’ll have a nice house and a pool or whatever, they seem like they’ve hit a ceiling that I haven’t hit yet. And in some ways the fact that I live in this crappy house and haven’t gotten there makes my life better. I sit there going “wow! I’ve still got a lot of shit to try to do!” Does that make any sense?

Bill: Yeah, yeah it makes sense. It’s a motivational thing.

Scott: Yeah, and it’s not even just a motivational thing. You wake up and you go “Something really great could happen.”

Bill: That’s a great attitude to have.

Scott: Once someone’s won the lottery and you think “well I have my jet skis and Winnebago, and ok.” And me, I feel like “Wow, something really cool might happen, I might be on Saturday Night Live!” (chuckle)

Bill: Well hey, I’m out of questions, do you have any last words or thoughts?

Scott: Everybody come to the show! Everybody.

Bill: Everyone in the world.

Scott: Make sure that we have to start turning people away. Let’s fill the place up and have a big party. Let’s have a gas.

Bill: Oh it’ll be a party; I’m looking forward to it.

Scott: Me too.

Bill: Alright, thank you very much Scott.

Scott: You too Bill. I’ll meet you when I get to Chicago, right?

Bill: Yeah, definitely. I’ll be working at all the shows. There’s two of them on Friday night where they kind of conflict time-wise but I can go to the early part of one, stop, then make it to the late one.

Scott: You’re gonna see the Pavers?

Bill: Yeah you’re playing the late one so I’ll definitely be there when you guys are playing.

Scott: Yeah because Big Drill Car is going to be there too and it’s in a smaller venue, it’ll be great.

Bill: Yeah, I actually just talked to Frank Daly and he seemed super excited too.

Scott: How’s he doing?

Bill: He’s doing well, he’s working as an X-Ray Technician in Bloomington, Indiana.

Scott: I knew he was living pretty close to Chicago. He’s one of the nicest guys I know, that I’ve crossed in my travels. He’s a really good guy.

Bill: Yeah he’s a really cool guy, even when we were done with the “interview” we just chatted and bullshitted for ten-fifteen minutes afterwards.

Scott: Ha! Yeah I have nothing sketchy to say about that guy from all the years we toured together. He was always a really funny, happy, nice fellow. It’ll be really good to see him and all those guys again. I haven’t seen them in (pause)… shit, it’s gotta be fifteen years. We’re all going to look old and sad!

Bill: Ha!

Scott: I’ve been running and eating my Wheaties so I’m good.

Bill: Just saving up all the energy.

Scott: I mean I’ve never slowed down; I’ve been musical the whole time. I always have a band.

Bill: Yeah I was looking on your website when I was doing some research and there were a million that I didn’t even know existed!

Scott: Yeah, I just keep going. I don’t feel any older. To me it makes perfect sense.

Bill: Cool. Thanks a ton for your time.

Scott: We’ll have a beer when I get there.

Bill: Definitely! Alright, see ya.

Scott: Bye.


Anonymous said...

Great interview.

Earthdog70 said...

Good job Bill-see ya at Riot Fest!

Anonymous said...

great interview ...accept ... There is a lot left out of the Goodbye Harry story .... people didn't decide to just not show up .... figures ..... people never want to elaborate on what really happens. probably to protect eh innocent ... then again in a situation like that there are no innocent parties .... what a bum out the real story should be told ... Whatevr