It's official. Here at the Ripple Effect we are head-first members of the Tony Reed for Emperor of the World Fan Club. Seriously, first his 70's stoner creation Mos Generator blew us for a beer bash keg party earful. Now comes his latest creation Stone Axe and their dead on perfect blend of rootsy blues rock and roll. You won't have to go looking to hard to find it here, it'll be right there . . . on our Best of the Year List. So, it was with great pleasure that we were graced once again by the main Reed-man, this time to talk about the incredible cutting hardness of Stone Axe.
When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkle, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears. What have been your musical epiphany moments?
When I did a "Sunday Conversation" interview for Mos Generator last year i answered this question with a story about my musical upbringing and the music that was played around the house as a child(from ten years after, Sabbath, Moody Blues to Kenny Rogers & Charley Pride) and the the impact that KISS had on me at 9 years old. After KISS I got heavy into RUSH and really started to collect records, which were difficult to get growing up in Joyce, Washington. Then, in 1981 I saw Heavy Metal on showtime and the scene with Black Sabbath mob rules turned my musical world in a whole new direction. a few months later I heard run to the hills on local rock radio and my heavy metal fate was sealed.
Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?
In Stone Axe I write and record all of the music and Dru takes the songs home, writes the lyrics and melody, then comes in and records them. we never play the songs together until after they are recorded.
Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?
The past. We are not trying to reinvent anything. we are using the massive canvas of the 1970's to create music that we love.
Genre's are so misleading and such a way to pigeonhole bands. Without resorting to labels, how would you describe your music?
I would have to say that we are a straight up rock band. of course, when we describe ourselves we have to say "seventies" style rock band, and then name a few bands we obviously sound like.
What is you musical intention? What are you trying to express or get your audience to feel?
We want people to feel the way we feel when we listen to our favorite songs. music is very powerful. we are striving for a glimpse of what it was like to write music 35 or 40 years ago.
In songwriting, how do you bring the song together? What do you look for in terms of complexity? Simplicity? Time changes?
It all depends on what style the song is. so for, the Stone Axe songs have been very simplistic. the simplicity is what drawing a lot of people to it. I think arrangements will become more complex when we start to bring the live band into the writing process.
The business of music is a brutal place. Changes in technology have made it easier than ever for bands to get their music out, but harder than ever to make a living? What are your plans to move the band forward? How do you stay motivated in this brutal business?
Our plans are to work as hard as we can. Touring and putting out records. I would like to do 2 albums a year. I am confident that if I can come up with material there are labels willing to put out the music. Especially if they know we will work hard to promote the album.
Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?
We've only been together for 6 months. as of now, nothing weird has happened to us. Maybe we'll get a tap moment on this upcoming tour.
What makes a great song?
Everybody has a different answer for that. Of course, I am into the riff, but I also like a great chorus.
Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?
It was called "island of the phoenix". It sounded like "the eagle has landed" by Saxon.
What piece of your music are particularly proud of?
In Mos Generator we did a concept album called "the late great planet earth". It was basically a 45 minute song with 12 movements. It was a very taxing process to write and record it but in the end it turned out very dark, powerful & moving.
Who today, writes great songs? Why?
Of course i am into bands that write in a retro style and are sonically true to that time period as well. Bigelf are one of my favorite bands playing these days. (ours too!) Also Dexter Lones Circus Orchestra, Blood of the Sun and Pearls & Brass.
Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?
I like them all, hey all serve a purpose. We use all formats to sell our music. Hell, we even have 8 tracks.
We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. When we come to your town, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?
Buy the new album here: Stone Axe