Sunday, April 1, 2018

A Ripple Conversation With Tony Reed!


When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, 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?

There have been a few big ones and although there has been many small pivotal musical moments in my life, and there still are, these are the really big ones.

The first time I heard Kiss ALIVE!
The first time I saw the "Mob Rules" scene in Heavy Metal.
The first time I heard "Run to the Hills".
When I saw Saxon open for Maiden in '83. They floored me.
There are so many more but now my brain scanning my past and that's not always fun :)


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?

Riff comes first. I have song titles collected on my phone so I usually find one that fits the feel of the riff. 98% of the time I write the vocal melodies and lyrics after the song is completely arranged. I sit at the recorder and write and perform vocals line by line. Many times I say I'll re record the vocals later but I rarely do. Most of the vocal tracks on the albums were recorded right as they were being written.

Who has influenced you the most?

Tony Iommi
Robert Fripp
David Bowie
Their diversity, work ethic and sheer output is what inspires me.

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

Mostly the past but I also see the enthusiasm of the younger bands and it gets me all amped up. I'm still inspired by discovery. New music and old from all kinds of styles. I just wish I could fit all of the influence into one band.

We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?

I live an hour west of Seattle in a small town with a strong musical community. I've always looked beyond Seattle but held on to musical relationships I've made in the area I live. Some of my favorite music is made here by people with a true love for it.

Where'd the band name come from?

The original drummer had a bass drum that always sounded really good. When he stopped using it he left it out in an open garage and it gathered moss so we started calling the drum the moss generator. When we were doing demos for the first album and we didn't have a band name yet, in the studio we couldn't get a good bass drum sound and I said I wish we had the moss generator and that is where the name came from. I took off one S in the spelling for some weird reason.


You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?

Planet of Doom ;)

You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?).  You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?

Killing Yourself to Live by Black Sabbath.
It has all of the power and the beauty that music should have. As a heavy rock song, the greatest one ever written in my opinion, it possesses qualities that conjure many emotions that are rarely touched on by any other rock band of that or any era. The "beauty" part of it is the stand out quality. I've played this song many times on stage and I have to tell you that performing it takes me somewhere that no other song ever has.

Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?

I've been asked this before and I can never come up with stuff that's amusing, only really shitty stuff that sounds kinda funny but it's not at all. Like....getting dropped off at the wrong airport in Italy in the middle of the night, missing your plane and having to spend $3000 to get home to start another tour the next day. Funny but not funny.

Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?

I really try to bring fans into the experience. That is why I like small stages that aren't very high. Connecting is absolutely key to any performance. Over the years we have figured out that a high energy Live set is the best way to keep the electricity in the room and the audience right where we want them. Sharing a bottle of Jager with them doesn't hurt either

What makes a great song?

If I knew, I would write one.

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

The first song I ever wrote was called Tomorrow's World in 1983. I think it only had three chords and no vocal melodies. I had lyrics but I never put them to the music. The first song that I put lyrics to the music was called Island of the Phoenix in 1984. That song sounded like The Eagle Has Landed by Saxon.

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

Although the Mos Generator album "The Late Great Planet Earth" is separated into 12 movements, I consider it  one 45 minute piece of music. That is by far my proudest musical moment.

Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?

My favorite modern band his Motorpsycho. They are phenomenal musicians and incorporate many styles of music into their core sound. Very inspirational. We have played with them a few times and it's always a true honor.

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

I've been collecting vinyl for most of my life but I am not opposed to all of those formats. Each one of them serves a purpose.

Whiskey or beer?  And defend your choice

Anybody that really knows me knows the answer is Jagermeister. Jager is like an opiate, the right amount puts me in a great headspace for playing guitar. I don't dwell on my mistakes on stage when the Jager is flowing just right :)

We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

I live in Port Orchard Washington and there are no record stores here. I get most of my records at Goodwill.

What's next for the band?

We have a new album coming out in May. We will be touring the United States in April and May with Fu Manchu, then we play Hellfest in France in June, and in September / October we tour Canada then head down into the states for some touring around Descendants of Crom and Doomed & Stoned festivals. We are also in talks about some work in the states in August but nothing is confirmed.

Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?

Play it loud!

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