With a musical career spanning more than thirty-five years, guitarist and sonic innovator, Tim Reynolds, best known for his work with Dave Matthews Band and more recently his solo music including that off of his latest solo record, That Way, which fans will be delighted to hear music from both Reynolds solo work and Dave Matthews Band at the upcoming KAABOO Del Mar Festival where Reynolds will be pulling double duty. While not on the road with Dave Matthews Band or recording new music as a solo artist, Reynolds is touring with his electric project trio, TR3.
A two time Grammy nominee, Reynolds is currently lead guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band and performs as one-half of the acoustic Dave Matthews-Tim Reynolds duo. He has performed on nearly all of DMB’s CDs and you can catch him at KAABOO Del Mar Festival on Saturday, September 14th at 3:45pm on the Amplify Escape Stage and also with Dave Matthews Band at 7:55pm on the main stage which is labeled as Sunset Cliffs Stage. If you don’t yet have tickets for KAABOO Del Mar, they are still available and can be purchased, HERE.
You are performing at the upcoming KAABOO Del Mar Festival in a few weeks with Dave Matthews Band and a special solo set at the Amplify VIP Experience, what can we expect from the performances, particularly your solo set?
Usually with my solo performances, I do a lot from my CD’s, there will probably be a lot from my latest CD called, That Way, so it is playing a lot of those tunes and I do a little bit of improvising between some of the songs to give it a different ambiance for them at that moment. They are mostly acoustic, so it is totally different than a lot of the other things that I do, which is really fun. It’s part of a whole lot of music inside of me that had to come out. I like that you are kind of stuck with yourself playing the music. That catharsis is really good. It’s total freedom and total chaos all at once. If you make a mistake and you’re the only one up there then it’s really obvious there is no one to look around to and say ‘what did you do?’ (laughs)
You’re not afraid to play around with many different genres of music and experiment with all types of sound. Is that what keeps it interesting for you?
Yeah, I think so. When I first started learning music, you kind of start with a narrower focus to dial in on a particular thing, so some of the first music I heard was obviously classic rock and I was going with what was new and fresh and that kind of commanded everything until the late 70’s. The genres of rock are so wide, like there is obviously your Led Zeppelin and classic rock and then there is all this prog rock like Yes and Genesis that was moving into different territory and those bands kind of led me to jazz really.
I’ve been playing music so long that when you do it you don’t think about it, but over the years I’ve had time to explore different things and there’s still things left to be explored like more classical music maybe, but it all comes back to forming compositions because I really love doing that, and it is very satisfying to write and perform music. It is also very satisfying to improvise music and I just try to keep all those things alive. The challenge of playing solo acoustic is that you are trying to be orchestral with just the instrument, like the way a piano can play a bass and rhythm and stuff, so I like the challenge of that for a guitar. It’s not that you’re trying to play something difficult or impressive because to me the most important thing is to have a piece of music, call it a song or composition, that just says something, it makes you feel something and takes you on a journey. This is putting technical ability aside, To me it’s really all about what is this song saying, some acoustic songs I have are very simple and others are more involved and they just kind of develop in their way. I’ll have an idea or I might bring a couple ideas and the challenge is depending on what is going on with the solo piece with bass and rhythm, you have to come up with a technique, not really a different technique, because it’s all playing guitar, but like ‘Okay, I’ve got to do this and I want to add a bass and I haven’t done that before’ so I have to practice all that.
Speaking from a fan perspective so much emotion pours forth from your guitar playing which is amazing. Music is a universal language, what is it like from your perspective?
A lot of songs instrumental or otherwise came about maybe during an experience and sometimes you draw on that experience as inspiration when you create the music. Other times the experience of playing the music right then and there is a new type of experience and you try to be open to that. I guess what you try and do when you play music is to be open to what’s happening at the moment and, I know it almost sounds like a contradiction, but to also bring whatever was the catalyst for the song or the music to bring the original vibe of that, but that’s where it all meets in real time. It’s something you created in the past, but you can play it now and it’s not the past while you’re playing it and you are in the present moment with all these people, the audience, and there’s this feeling you get from them or something, so all those things come together when you are playing the music. It depends if you are distracted by something that happened on stage or you are thinking about something, but the best is when all those things are gone and you are immersed in the music and it’s just kind of flowing and you are always going for that. That’s why you have these skills that you can play the thing physically and be inspired to the ultimate depth at the moment. The one thing makes you open to the other things, like for example when an athlete trains himself to catch a fly ball when he’s running and doing that he doesn’t think about it anymore, it’s second-nature and you can’t think about something that happened in the past. It’s like that, you practice all these things to get your body to play the music and then when you are playing it in front of an audience it’s a different energy.
With your work in Dave Matthews Band and your solo career, how have you continued to adapt to the ever-changing musical landscape?
You have to keep close to the music, we have so many songs with DMB [Dave Matthews Band] we rehearse a lot because we couldn’t possibly remember every song. When the week is coming up and we are going to call on some songs we might rehearse those or at least take a look at them. You have to keep making yourself ready I guess.
With a festival like KAABOO Del Mar in particular you have so much artist diversity in the lineup with everyone from Wu-Tang Clan with Snoop Dog, to The Cult and Duran Duran, it is true mosaic of genre. No one has to be afraid of being a fan of any type of genre anymore, as these festivals bring us all together. Can you share your thoughts on this?
Yeah, I think back in the early days with Monterey and Woodstock those festivals had so many different things and they were incredibly famous festivals because they were the first ones and now there are a lot of theme groupings with festivals like what they did with Ozzfest and all these other ones and I guess they try to bring a variety within their genres, but it’s really cool when you don’t have to stick to a genre because I think then everyone benefits when they are open to the music. Some people just want to hear and see one thing and that’s why they go to the other festivals whether it’s a rave festival or a metal festival, but it’s cool when there is a bunch of variety and different things to check out, like with the Monterey Pop Festival, they had Jimi Hendrix, Ravi Shankar and just all kinds of cool stuff.
We see that you are headed back to Riviera Maya in Cancun and you have Farm Aid coming, so it seems like it is going to be quite a busy rest of the year for you.
As soon as that’s done we play the last part of the Mexico and Brazil tour is in the first week of October and then we have three more dates after that up in North Dakota and then not long after that I’m really excited, although it seems overwhelming now, but it will be easier when I get there is the whole TR3 [Tim Reynold’s Trio] tour in November and December. I’m excited to get to that music, but I have to kind of put that away in my brain until I’m all done with this tour because it’s a little overwhelming to think of two different schedules at the same time. Even on this tour, I have a book that tells me where I am everyday, half the time when somebody asks, ‘where you at today?’ I have to take a minute and look outside, here it’s obviously Denver (laughs). When you are inside and you don’t see the outside it is hard to tell sometimes.
We are very excited to hear that there are some touring plans for TR3 coming up!
Oh, yeah! We finished our new album earlier in the year, but because DMB had so much touring it didn’t make sense to try to stick dates in the middle of all that, so we just did a short tour in January and February and we planned to do this bigger tour in the fall, so it’s cool. On this tour we are playing our whole record in its’ entirety and I think it helps sell the CD, because the CD isn’t necessarily a Saturday night club, dancing pumping rock music type of thing it’s kind of a journey in itself. We also have time depending on how long the set is, we have plenty of time to rock and play the stuff everybody knows. It’s really satisfying to know that you are going to go in and play this new music. It’s old school (laughs).
Is it still surreal for you to referred to as a guitar legend and how do you continue to hone your craft?
Well, because I know that I’m not really a legend … I’m still really a student and I’m always just trying to learn how to play. You can never be completely satisfied, you might be satisfied in the moment, improvise something or get something done really well, but you really have to keep moving forward one way or another. For me, it’s kind of like writing music all the time and then every couple years I start to collect all the little recordings and make a new album which I just did recently, so now I’m thinking of all the stuff for future music which is really fun because you go back and sift through it and most of it you toss and then there are some nuggets in there that you really want to make into a song. The last two or three albums were all stuff like that, we really didn’t know any of the music except for two or three songs, so it was very satisfying to go in the studio and learn this music. I had recorded these ideas and I had a good idea of how I wanted to the basic parts, but it was fun to go and be in the moment and add the final touches. It was really one of the most satisfying recording experiences I ever had when we did this last TR3 record. We did it in the spring before a DMB tour, so we got most of it done and then we got to sit on it and listen for three or four months and then we went back again to fix it up and it was nice to have the space in between to sit with it and figure out how to make it done and it worked.
Thanks so much for speaking with us Tim! We certainly look forward to catching your performances at KAABOO Del Mar and hope to see you out on the road sometime soon!
Thank YOU very much!