Six Dumb Questions with Tony Reed of Mos Generator

Posted in Six Dumb Questions on July 10th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

tony reed

The mantle of being the hardest working person in show business has been worn by many over the last century-plus, perhaps most notably James Brown, but if we’re talking about heavy rock and roll, Port Orchard, Washington’s Tony Reed makes a strong case for himself. The frontman of the long-running Mos Generator is also near ubiquitous in his studio work on the production side, recording, mixing and mastering bands far and wide. He’s taking part alongside Bob Balch of Fu Manchu and Gary Arce of Yawning Man in the reincarnated Big Scenic Nowhere, and he’s just recorded the first Saint Vitus LP to feature Scott Reagers in over two decades. In August, he’ll tour for the second time in Europe playing bass for Melbourne’s Seedy Jeezus, whom he’s also recorded.

Oh, and for having what he calls a “mellow year,” Mos Generator have already released a hand-assembled live album through Devil’s Child Records and have a collection of studio jams on the way through Kozmik Artifactz. Reed is also learning to cut his own records, so expect much more to come. Like maybe that country rock project he’s got, Hot Spring Water! They’d be perfect for a cut 12″. He’s also been kicking around doing some reunion shows with Twelve Thirty Dreamtime, his band before Mos.

Clearly the man cannot be stopped.

Reed sent a raven recently with details on all of the above and a bunch more and, frankly, it was staggering. I didn’t even know where to start, but we went back and forth and what made the most sense to me was to get an interview together — as always, it took me forever to actually write out the questions — and give him the chance to talk about what’s going on with each of these things, say what he can say at this point and roll like that. With so much going on, some he can talk about and some he can’t, it was really the only way. Expect more news on a lot of this stuff as it continues to develop — the Big Scenic Nowhere LP, the Mos Generator jams release, record cutting, etc. — but the point is that, in all seriousness and all sincerity, I find Reed‘s singular level of passion to be deeply inspiring. He is relentlessly creative, and he doesn’t know how else to be. That kind of person is rare and with the consistent level of his output across such a wide variety of contexts, it’s only all the more impressive.

He talks about Mos Generator touring Australia with The Atomic Bitchwax early next year. I look forward to inviting myself on that run. I’d write a whole book about it.

Please enjoy the following Six Dumb Questions:

Six Dumb Questions with Tony Reed

First up, what’s up with Mos Generator for the rest of this year?

It’s been a pretty mellow year for the band. We’ve spent a lot of time on the road over the last four years and thought we would kick back for a bit. It looks like we will only play four shows this year. Two of them are with Red Fang and Clutch so we will be able to reach a new audience with the touring. Early 2020 we will be going over to Australia to tour with The Atomic Bitchwax. We’ve been out with them before so that was great news to hear we would be doing our first Aus tour with them.

In May Devil’s Child Records released a live album called Night of the Lords recorded in Manchester, England, in 2017 and later this year, Kozmik Artifactz out of Germany will release an album of freeform jams called Spontaneous Combustions. I just submitted the masters so hopefully it will be out by Fall. Like The Firmament and Lies of Liberty, Spontaneous Combustions is very different from our usual studio albums. I really enjoy adding new textures to the band and although we usually do a freeform jam section in our live shows, this is a whole album of them. All recorded in a six-hour time period.

You’re involved with Bob Balch and Gary Arce’s Big Scenic Nowhere project. You toured with Fu Manchu of course, and Gary is Gary, but how did you end up getting involved there, and will you continue to be a member of that band?

Bob contacted me to work on a song with him and I’m pretty sure it was a mix of touring with Fu Manchu and my contributions to his site PlayThisRiff that gave him the idea to contact me. We got along well on the road and we both work very hard at our craft.

After I finished the first song he just started sending more to see if I was inspired. I ended up doing vocals on quite a bit of the songs across the EP and the full-length. I also added Mellotron and synths to a few songs. A song I wrote has me on drums/vocals, Bob on guitar and my son Kylen on bass. How cool is that?

Bob, Gary and I have been talking about being the core lineup and continue to have guests come in. There are some really cool musicians playing on this that I am totally honored to be associated with. I’ve also started to call on people I know and respect to participate and everybody has been really cool. Musically there doesn’t seem to be any boundaries and that is great.

You’re also playing bass on tour again with Seedy Jeezus in Europe. How was that experience last time and how does being in the band differ from recording them?

I really enjoy hanging out with Lex and Mark. They know each other so well. They will have these massive blowup arguments that you feel might end the tour and right at its zenith, then it will be like ,“so where are we gonna eat mate?” like nothing ever happened. Total entertainment. I’ve got some great audio and video clips on my phone.

After recording two albums with them and doing the tour last year I feel like I’m part of the band. It was like that from the first time we met. Easy to get along with. I’ll be back over there to record the next Seedy full-length right before the Mos boys fly over for the tour.

You recorded Saint Vitus’ new self-titled album. What was it like having them in the studio again? Did you get Dave Chandler to put any mids in his guitar this time?

They were less prepared this time but everybody really worked to make a great album that ended having classic Vitus elements and some new textures. Henry and Pat both contributed to the writing so that gave the album some diversity while still sitting in the spot the fans are used to. Also, Reagers is a stud. Great vocalist and one of the nicest dudes you’ll ever meet. Always positive and professional without being too serious. Chandler kept his classic EQ settings. :)

Tell me about the record cutting project.

Well… my buddy Jeremy Deede brought up the idea of buying a record lathe. We found a guy in Germany that builds them so we contacted him and he told us he won’t sell it to us if we don’t take the class so I flew over to Germany a few weeks ago and took the 15-hour one day crash course in record cutting. I did get to bring home my first few attempts at it and they sounded better than I thought they would. We should have the machine and a whole bunch of blanks next week and I’ll start to get grip on making some nice cuts. After I get comfortable with it we are going to launch a site where people can have one-off records cut. Needless to say I’ll be making records of everything I ever wanted on vinyl. Exciting stuff!!!

What keeps you going, Tony? Every year you seem to have your hand in so much and so much going on. What is it that lets you do that? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff happening at any given time?

I discovered that I had musical ability when I was around 12 and ever since then I pretty much haven’t stopped. I’ve written and recorded more music than I can even remember. I’ve been going through 40 years of tapes and other recorded media that I am cataloging and saving and I’m finding so much music I forgot I even made. From ideas recorded on a boombox in 1985 to complete songs from even just a few years ago. When I think about how much time I’ve spent next to some kind of recording device with a guitar in my hand or behind a drum kit it’s staggering. I have so many musical endeavors going on (including my job) that it is sometimes hard to finish stuff. My dry erase board in the studio always has scribblings all over it. I like it that way. Leaving a legacy has always been important to me and that along with not knowing, and not wanting to know, anything else in life is what keeps me going. I’ve always been very prolific. I often wonder if that will ever disappear.

Any other plans or closing words you want to mention?

I’m putting a lot of time into a project called Hot Spring Water. It’s a country rock project in the style of early ’70s artists like Leon Russell, Graham Nash and Neil Young. Mykey and Mike were the rhythm section from Stone Axe and we actually started this project in 2011. A few months ago we added Bo Mcconaghie on guitar with me and started rehearsing for shows. We’ve played two shows and they have been really fun. It’s so much different than Mos Generator. Bo and I use six watt Fender Champ amplifiers so we have a six watt ceiling for live volume. It’s great! people can enjoy the show without getting their ears blasted. It’s also challenging because playing that clean and quite means your can hear every mistake. Challenges are good.

Tony Reed, Assembling Night of the Lords

Mos Generator on Thee Facebooks

Mos Generator on Instagram

HeavyHead webstore

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The Maple Forum: HeavyPink to Perform Live; New Material Coming

Posted in Label Stuff on June 11th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

Click here to purchase HeavyPink‘s HeavyPink 7″ by PayPal or other methods.

Been a while since we heard anything from Tony Reed about his HeavyPink solo-project, the 2011 debut 7″ from which was the third release on The Obelisk’s in-house label, The Maple Forum. Reed, who at the time was in the transition from playing with Stone Axe to reigniting Mos Generator, took a momentary side-step to embark on HeavyPink, playing all the instruments on the two resulting tracks, “There is a Light” and “Flower and Song” and providing vocals on what musically was a vibe distinct from anything he’d done before yet still clearly the product of his own brilliant songwriting. I was and still am thrilled to have been involved in helping put it out in the small way I was.

I’ve still got copies of the 7″ available — you may have noticed the banner in the sidebar with the HeavyPink cover for the last three years or so — and they’re $6 for anyone who wants one. Basically I eat the postage on that, but whatever. That money’s long gone anyway. Breaking even is the dream of madmen. If you want one, go for it.

The other night, Reed posted some news that he’s put together a live band for HeavyPink, which also happens to include Stone Axe bassist Mike DuPont, and proved it with the picture above. Here’s what he had to say:

Up until last night HeavyPink was completely a studio project for me. I brought in Bo Mcconaghie (guitar), Reno Dave (Drums) and Mike Dupont (bass) to take this to the stage. I will continue to write and record songs on my own in a studio invironment but the live band will also be writing together at the same time and the albums will be a mix of both creative processes.

No word on when this new collaborative band might get to putting out a record, and I’m quite certain that when they do, Reed will either release it himself or hook up with any one of the myriad labels he’s allied with before — though I reserve the right to revive it at any point The Maple Forum is more or less defunct and frankly they could do better — but as someone who was a fan of the project when it was just Reed working on it and someone who’s a fan of his work in general, I’m definitely interested to hear what comes out of HeavyPink as a full band, and hopefully one of these days I’ll get to see them live.

Here’s “Flower and Song,” if you’d like a refresher of how cool this 7″ was:

HeavyPink, “Flower and Song”

HeavyPink on Thee Facebooks

The Maple Forum webstore

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Tony Reed of Mos Generator

Posted in Questionnaire on April 1st, 2014 by JJ Koczan

You’d probably need a week to sit down and list all the bands and projects to which Tony Dallas Reed has contributed in one form or another over the better part of the last two decades. From playing drums in death metallers Woodrot to self-recording all-instrument Pentagram covers in his “spare time,” Reed‘s substantial body of work is the result of a genuinely restless creative spirit. Over the course of the last 10 years, he’s bounced between the heavy rocking Mos Generator and more specifically ’70s-minded Stone Axe while also embarking on the side-project HeavyPink and building his own HeavyHead Studio, where he’s done not only his own recording, but tracked Saint Vitus‘ comeback album, Lillie: F-65, among others, as well as mixed and mastered outings from Wight, Trippy WickedAlunah and many more from the US and Europe, often between or while on tours.

Reactivated following a run focused on Stone Axe, Mos Generator released the full-length Nomads (review here) on Ripple Music in 2012, two live albums in 2013, and will shortly issue a follow-up, Electric Mountain Majesty (review here), as their first outing on Listenable Records. Reed is also recently returned to his Port Orchard, Washington, home after a trip to Australia to record Seedy Jeezus and remixed/remastered Mos Generator‘s 2007 Songs for Future Gods album for reissue through Ripple, available now. Mos Generator also has splits with Copenhagen’s Doublestone and Washington’s Teepee Creeper coming soon.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Tony Reed

How did you come to do what you do?

As a musician I started when I was 12. After years of mimicking KISS and Rush in my bedroom I figured that I should actually learn how to play. I borrowed a guitar from a guy up the street and the first song I learned was “Iron Man.” I started playing drums around the same time. I just wanted to take it all in.

As a recording engineer I guess you could say it was around the same time. I started recording everything with a boom box from the get-go. I have a recording of the first time I played drums. Over time I collected a few mics and got a three-channel Radio Shack mixer and two cassette decks and I was into overdubbing. When I was 20 I got my hands on a four-track and the rest is history.

Describe your first musical memory.

I actually think it is “Papa was a Rollin’ Stone” by The Temptations. I used to love that song. I also have recollections of the album cover for “Paranoid” being around the house and when I got that album in sixth grade I somehow already knew the songs on it, so I am assuming it was played frequently when I was a child. My mom also has a funny story of me stealing a “Nights in White Satin” 45 from K-Mart when I was two years old. She let me keep it.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

I would say that it would be 26-date Saint Vitus/Mos Generator European tour in 2013. It was a lot of hard work but we got to play for some rabid audiences and travel in style. Being on the road is all about making memories and of course later down the line you only remember the good bits.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

I believe that there is really no ending point to a musician who is driven and passionate. Growth is constant and sometimes moves faster than other times. Sometimes it would appear to move backwards and hopefully something can be learned from that too.

How do you define success?

I define success by respect. Someday I would like to be well respect as a musician and songwriter and recognized for the passion and dedication that I put into the music I make.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

My grandmother’s eyes the day before she died. I think she had moved on already because I didn’t see her in there anymore.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I would like to create and album or song that moves people the way that certain songs move me. Sometimes I am so humbled by the songs I love that it makes me want to stop writing music because I believe I may never achieve these emotions in what I write. I also look at it as a goal and a challenge.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Even though this is musical in its subject, it doesn’t directly affect me musically. I am looking forward to watching the musical journey my son is going on. He has the passion in his blood and it’s great to see him doing things to make music his life.

Mos Generator, “Breaker” from Electric Mountain Majesty (2014)

Mos Generator on Thee Facebooks

HeavyHead Superstore

Listenable Records

Ripple Music

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HeavyHead Superstore Opens for Business

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 25th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Talk to Tony Reed for about 30 seconds and you’re going to know he’s a pretty self sufficient guy, so it’s not much of a surprise he’d start selling his own wares sooner or later. The guitarist/vocalist of Mos Generator, Stone Axe and HeavyPink has opened a webshop for HeavyHead, his own imprint, where he’s selling items from his bands (I still have some HeavyPink 7″s left as well), including what looks like an exclusive in the form of a Mos Generator bootleg CDR recorded in 2006.

Mos Generator also have a new live album coming recorded on their most recent European tour. Details follow courtesy of the PR wire:

Tony Reed (Mos Generator / Stone Axe / HeavyPink) Opens HeavyHead SuperStore

Renowned heavy rock musician and engineer Tony Reed (Mos Generator, Stone Axe, HeavyPink) has launched HeavyHead SuperStore, the official merch site for Mos Generator, Stone Axe, HeavyPink and other Reed-related bands.

The store offers CD, vinyl, t-shirts and other assorted items from Reed’s many projects, many of which can only be found at HeavyHead. Items exclusive to HeavyHead SuperStore include rare live recordings from the vaults of Mos Generator and more. To check out the selection, visit heavyheadsuperstore.storenvy.com.

In other news, Mos Generator will be releasing a live album recorded in Germany on the band’s last European tour. The album is expected to see the light of day later this summer through Holland’s Lay Bare Recordings. More details to come.

heavyheadsuperstore.storenvy.com
www.facebook.com/MosGenerator
www.facebook.com/pages/STONE-AXE/186663969482

Tony Reed, “Forever My Queen” (Pentagram Cover)

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Maple Forum Update: There are 67 Copies Left of HeavyPink’s HeavyPink 7″; New Material in the Works

Posted in Label Stuff on March 13th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Click here to purchase HeavyPink‘s HeavyPink 7″ by PayPal or other methods.

I don’t know if you’ve ever met him or spoken to him, but I can’t even begin to tell you how excellent it is to work with Tony Reed. He’s one of the most bullshit-free individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, and by way of an example, when I emailed him yesterday to say, “Hey dude, I’ve sold a few copies of the HeavyPink 7″ in the last week and thought it might be a good time to do an update, you got anything new in the works?” it wasn’t even an hour later that he got back to me with info on two new albums he’s a part of and the news that he’s starting in on the next batch of HeavyPink songs already as well.

While I admit I’m hardly impartial, I’m really excited to see where Reed takes the one-man HeavyPink psychedelic project next. Of all his current bands and acts to which he’s contributed of late — Stone Axe, Mos Generator, Blood of the Sun, and so on — I really thought that HeavyPink was something different and unique within his catalog. Something he’d never done before. That was a big part of why I was so happy to help put it out, and with 67 copies left, I hope that if you wound up hearing the 7″, you’ve enjoyed it as well.

Reed informs that he, as ever, is busy. In addition to preparing for Stone Axe‘s set of Free covers at London Desertfest, which runs from April 6-8, and their European tour with Stubb and Trippy Wicked and the new releases detailed last week, he’s gotten started on what will be the first Mos Generator output in four years, a brand new studio album tentatively titled Nomad, for which there will also be a video for the song “Cosmic Ark.” In addition to this, Blood of the Sun‘s new album, Burning on the Wings of Desire, will be released by Listenable Records later this year.

So all good things, and in addition, Reed mixed and mastered the recently-lauded Stubb full-length, and recorded the new Saint Vitus album that’s due out this Spring, so it’s never too long before he’s heard from, one way or another.

Thanks for your support of HeavyPink, The Maple Forum and The Obelisk. To purchase one of the remaining 67 copies of HeavyPink‘s debut 7″, please follow the link above or simply click here.

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76 HeavyPink Singles Left; Addressing Download Concerns

Posted in Label Stuff on December 29th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Shipping Option

As of this post, there are 76 copies of HeavyPink‘s HeavyPink 7″ left. If you don’t have yours yet, you can order it using the Paypal button above or by clicking here to go to the Maple Forum store. It’s come to my attention that some people who’ve bought the record have had trouble with the download card — the link on the little piece of paper doesn’t work. If that’s you, I’d hope that instead of, say, calling me a chump on Facebook, you’d reach out and ask me for a solution to the problem. I’m more than happy to help out anyone who’s had trouble in any way I can, whether it’s sending you the files direct or anything else I can do to rectify the situation.

A full version of “Flower and Song,” the A-side to the single, has made its way to YouTube, and I thought I’d include it here for you to check out if you haven’t yet seen/heard it. Once again, HeavyPink is the one-man psychedelic incarnation of Tony Reed, whose careful hands have in the past sculpted Mos Generator and Stone Axe from out of the rock and roll ether. Reed handles all the instruments, vocals and recording equipment himself, and I’m just glad he let me be involved at all.

Thanks to everyone so far who has ordered a copy of the record. Your support of The Maple Forum and The Obelisk is genuinely appreciated.

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EXCLUSIVE Interview: Tony Reed Talks About Recording the New Saint Vitus Album

Posted in Features on December 16th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

In 2012, it will have been 17 years since Saint Vitus released their last studio album, Die Healing. Following the dissolution, 2003 reformation, dissolution and ongoing 2009 reunion of the band, the new full-length, reportedly titled Lillie: F-65, will be issued on March 27 by Season of Mist. It’s the first album to feature drummer Henry Vasquez, who came aboard in 2009 to fill the role of the late and then-ailing Armando Acosta, and the first album since 1990’s V to feature Scott “Wino” Weinrich on vocals alongside Dave Chandler‘s trademark guitar sound and Mark Adams‘ bass.

Even if Saint Vitus wasn’t arguably the best American doom band ever to walk the earth, Lillie: F-65 would be an event just for how long it’s been since the last record. But Vitus, who played Roadburn in 2009 and subsequently embarked on both American and European tours, are among the most influential doom acts of all time. In both their sound and their attitude, they set the template for what would become the miseries still prevalent in the genre today, and having seen them live on multiple occasions since this latest reunion got going, including seeing them perform the new song “Blessed Night” on the Metalliance tour earlier this year with Crowbar, Helmet, Red Fang and Kylesa, I can say with certainty their appeal is more than nostalgic.

The end of June 2010 found Saint Vitus on the road for a week-long West Coast US run alongside Washington classic rockers Stone Axe. The connection there is that T. Dallas Reed (sometimes referred to around here as Tony) plays guitar with Vasquez in his own ’70s-obsessed band, the formidable rock powerhouse Blood of the Sun, but after recording a live Vitus demo in his HeavyHead studio, it was decided that he should be the one to helm the album.

Reed, whose side-project HeavyPink is the latest release on The Maple Forum (I mention it because I’d be remiss not to; it doesn’t come up in the interview once), emailed me late one night a while back and asked if we could talk on the phone the next day. It was about 1AM on the East Coast and I said I was still up if he wanted to call. The sheer excitement in his voice as he recounted being in the studio with Saint Vitus as they tracked their new album was palpable. As much as he was a professional involved in making Lillie: F-65, he’s clearly also a fan.

I didn’t record that conversation — would be weird to just tap my own phone — but we spoke again not too long ago about the process of getting one of 2012’s most anticipated albums to tape (yes, literally tape), and Reed was no less enthusiastic to discuss the project of working with and recording Saint Vitus and watching as Lillie: F-65 began to take its final shape. You’ll find that complete Q&A, along with some info about Reed‘s work with Blood of the Sun, Stone Axe and the regrouped Mos Generator, after the jump.

Also included are some pictures and video of Vitus in the studio, which come courtesy of Reed himself. Please enjoy.

Read more »

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Maple Forum Update: HeavyPink Sample Audio Now Available for Streaming; 88 Copies Left

Posted in Label Stuff on November 22nd, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Click here to go to the Maple Forum store.

Shipping Option

On the player below is an audio sampler of HeavyPink‘s HeavyPink 7″ that features both tracks included on the physical record itself, “Flower and Song” and “There is a Light.” There are currently 88 copies of the vinyl left, and if you haven’t yet made a purchase, you can do so using the PayPal button above or at The Maple Forum‘s store at BigCartel. Whether or not you buy the platter, I hope you enjoy the audio, which is followed by some refresher info in case you’ve missed the story so far:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

HeavyPink is the new solo project of T. Dallas Reed, the multi-instrumentalist and driving force behind Port Orchard, Washington, rock revivalists Stone Axe and the guitarist and principle songwriter for Mos Generator, among other acts. Ever self-motivated, Reed performed all the instruments on HeavyPink‘s self-titled debut 7″ and recorded the songs himself at his own HeavyHead Studio earlier this year.

The HeavyPink 7″ is the fourth release on The Maple Forum (forum040) and finds Reed branching out from the straightforward nature of his past offerings and into more psychedelic territory — still maintaining his penchant for memorable verses and choruses, but crafting them into warm walls of sound that are deeply layered and richly toned. HeavyPink is unlike anything Reed has done in the past, and yet definitively his own, bearing the mark of his songwriting through both included cuts, “Flower and Song” and “There is a Light.”

All purchases of HeavyPink‘s HeavyPink 7″ come with a sticker and download card, and included in the download is the bonus track “Long Live the Mellotron,” on which Reed pays homage to the titular instrument and uses it to near-symphonic effect. Whispered vocals and other noises ensure that even those who’ve been a longtime follower of the man’s work are in for a genuine surprise.

Purchases can be made using the PayPal button above or at the Maple Forum store. Thanks as always for your support of The Obelisk and The Maple Forum.

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