Tim Reynolds and Puke Matrix Theory
How good of a guitarist is Dave Matthews?
He’s really good. He has a unique style, very understated. But it’s not like simple folk guitar. He wears his hand out playing those songs. His voicings are based on thirds, and he uses his pinky a lot. A lot of guitar players couldn’t hang with his shit. Rock n roll is really about the rhythm guitar. Without the rhythms, the solos wouldn’t have as much balls. They wouldn’t be anything underneath to dance to it.
How much did the acoustic tour you did with Matthews in 1996 help shape the songs on Crash?
Not that much. When we did Crash, we did a lot of improvising in the studio. The songs would just come up. But Crash was already formed by the time we went out on the road. “Don’t Drink the Water” came out of the acoustic shows. That drone jam.
Live at Luther College was recorded before DMB started playing arenas. But now, colleges no longer can afford to book Dave Matthews Band. How much do you think the recent acoustic tour was a thank you to the colleges who helped nurture Dave Matthews Band?
I’m sure that’s part of it. I don’t really know. But I’m sure comes into play. The main reason is also, because he totally likes to do this. He’s really into it. These large venues aren’t intimate. People are, like, rowdy, but it’s not intimate. It’s like, “Ssshhh!” especially on like a Friday night when everybody’s partying.
You have your own live album coming out on soon on TR Records, a follow-up to “Sanctuary.” What will that be like?
It’s called “Somewhere Else Live.” I wanted to divest from the name TR3. That’s why we came up with the joke name Puke Matrix. We wanted to clear the area for punking. We don’t have moshing, but we’re having puking. Half the stuff has been done before, half is new stuff. It’s an electric power trio, like Band of Gypsies trying be industrial without computers. I want control my shit for a while. This year, we might do something with a label later. We have few offers, but I want to rock out. People want me do something else. I can afford to do things on my own terms, so I want to keep it up. Once get into the pop arena, you have to spend a lot of time nurturing that. It’s like being on a presidential campaign until you get to the top, then you can ride it a while. I just want to campaign below the presidential level. I want to hang out with my family and party and keep things fresh. The last thing I want to do is get burnt from being on the road.
You’re a big fan of Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson. What musical elements of music do you think your share with those bands?
I just like hard rock from back in the day. I grew up with that kind of music. Those guys harken back to it. Early Manson is like Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper, but it’s definitely a modern take, not just copy cat. I hear where he copped some stuff from that Bowie vibe too. I can relate to that.
I saw you play with DMB in Philly recently and I was really intrigued by the cool sounds you were getting out of your guitar. A lot of it seemed almost like sound effects more than straight-ahead playing, like the cool whale sounds and bleeps on “Deed Is Done.” Comment on how you enjoy that and how it gives a twist to the music.
I’ve always been fan of that kind of stuff. One thing that happened … years ago, I used to be able to sing real high and I found during the disco era, I could sing all the girl parts. Then I got into a car accident and severed my vocal chords. I could barely talk for years. Because I lost my ability to sing like that, I focused on different aspects of the guitar. Over the years, it made me take different things up on the guitar. I’m a fan of other instruments, so I like to experiment with sound. Over the years, I’ve really reconnected with that.
You are an incredibly eclectic musician who can play a variety of styles on a variety of instruments. Comment on how that adds to the spontaneous, improvisational nature of your music.
It just gives me different ideas of what things can sound like. That’s almost as important as a musical note. The first time I heard Downward Spiral, those sounds reminded me of the first time I heard Led Zeppelin II. I was like, what the what hell this shit? It’s like nothing I’ve ever heard before. It’s the same way with avant garde or Coltrane.
You grew up in a pretty conservative household that initially didn’t take your pursuit of music very well. Has your success changed that at all?
Oh yeah. We’ve long since buried that hatchet. My dad grew up in a fundamentalist scene. And he was in Vietnam. It kind of freaked him out when I got into this hippie music. But over the years he’s come to realize that they sent him to bogus, bullshit war. He respects now that I’m making money.
*Why move out to Santa Fe, N.M.? *
It’s like paradise. I’d been in Charlottesville 15 years. Coming from the Midwest, that seemed exotic. But since ’93, I’ve been going out there to see friends. I used to always say, “I want to move here someday.” It’s sunny almost all the time. It definitely has an effect on the mindset. Every day, I wake up, and it’s like a sunny summer day. Even in winter, in the heat of the day, I can go in my back yard in a t-shirt and have a cup of coffee. It’s nice and so pleasant.