Robert Reynolds interview for the "Remodeling Team Mailing List"
January 17, 1998, Foxwoods Casino, Ledyard, CT
© 1998, Greg Scearce
GREG in green
ROBERT in red
GRANDMA in blue
G; I caught up with
Robert Reynolds, bassist and ace spokesperson for MCA
recording artists The Mavericks on a fine Saturday afternoon, following
their soundcheck for that evening's Foxwoods Casino show, the second of
their new tour. Our conversation was wide-ranging in scope, from Robert's
childhood, to the new album, "Trampoline", to plans for the tour, and
looking back to his activities during the recent year off that the
Mavericks took from touring in order to be with their families and work on
independent projects, as well as the new CD. It was an insightful look
into the process of introducing new music to fans who have come to the
party with a certain set of expectations. As an added bonus, Robert's
grandma, Mildred Reynolds, sat in and interviewed both of us at times, and
also provided some of the childhood insights to Robert that you'll see
below. She was a delight, and shared our fun then and later that evening
at the show.
And now, the long-awaited RTML interview with Robert
Reynolds. No, first
I want to express the gratitude that I feel, and that in fact all of us
feel, not only for the time Robert allotted to make this interview happen,
but for the way he is with the Mavs fans all the time, unfailingly. OK,
now, on to the conversation…
G: I guess you know about the Remodeling Team Mailing List by now?
Well, I know a little bit about it. God, I know more about some of
anxieties that people have, which are ridiculous, but it's weird, I've had
a few odd correspondences, either postings online, or actual letters. I
guess people want to try to have something as simple as information and
correspondences, like you could contain them in a bottle, and it's kinda
weird to me, because people sometimes think that because you would
conveniently find time to sit and do for example this interview, that you
have betrayed another "something" and it got so weird. I remember when we
had a conversation, I said to you that I wanted to make sure that Bernie
and Ellen knew that since they're not doing the mailing list any more, the
interview that I'd always thought that I'd get to with them, I'd do with
whoever was doing the mailing list. To me, that stuff doesn't matter much,
it's more, you know, it's a nice thing that someone would do, but the best
thing about it all is that you might see someone at a show, someone might
buy the record and send you a note saying "I'm enjoying it" or "I'm not
enjoying it", whatever. I don't know, this sort of possessive thing that
goes on between people is hard.
We enjoy getting the word out, but sometimes it gets a little
competitive about who got the word out best and first, and we're losing
sight of what the thing is about, which is the music.
R: Yeah, isn't that weird? It's about the music, bottom line, so…
G: Well, as
you know, I was lucky enough to get a copy of the advance CD,
and so I was all prepped for last night's show, and it was great!
Cool, I'm glad that you enjoyed it and I'm sure that you… well, I'll try
to read in here and see if I'm wrong or right, but… I'm sure that some
people, particularly those who haven't heard the record yet, are going to
miss a handful of songs from the old show. Maybe it didn't affect you as
much because you've heard some of the new music.
I think that was a help to me. I sensed the same kind of tension
the audience] going on for the first five or six songs that you did, and I
thought that that thing you guys did with "Sentimental Journey" is a great
little ice-breaker for the crowd too. Was that a conscious effort to do?
R: Yeah, remember
in all the previous years of touring we always had these
little impromptu fun things that might just be riffing on something, a
favorite old melody, or doing a piece of a song, those were always to bring
everybody's guard down. The band has its guard up, audiences have theirs
up, you know. At first people are adjusting to the sound, the lights, the
effect of maybe a favorite band coming on stage, and they're expecting –
you know – they're expecting something, you don't even know what, you can
hardly say what it is that you expect when you go to a concert. I know I
expect it from every concert that I see. I don't know what that is, I
think it's the pleasure of music, the pleasure of song and dance and
entertainment, that we all look for. At any rate, the guards were up, both
the band and the audience were going "OK, where are we?" It's kinda like a
little sparring match.
G: I know what the drunken
guy behind me was expecting, he kept yelling out
"Music For All Occasions" – did you hear him up there?
R: No, but
he was a pretty funny guy because he was really dancing at the
end of it because he started to hear some of his favorite songs! My theory
on it is that everything was new once, and there was a time when this band
was going around and doing shows, and nobody knew us, and everything was
brand new. And so it doesn't seem entirely impossible to go out this year
and play a lot of new music, sprinkled with some old things, and expect
people to respond similarly as they did in the past. Which is, you know,
it's brand new, you're being introduced to it, but give it time, it's gonna
make sense, it's gonna feel good, it's gonna feel like the old stuff does.
Because I think the quality of the songs is at least as good as it's ever
G: I took one listen and I said "This is it, this is the best yet."
R: I feel, from the inside, I would support that.
Grandma Reynolds to me: You've gotten an all-over picture of the band?
G: Yeah, from all the previous albums.
[here we had a break to look over my photos of the
night before, and our
Christmas pictures were on the beginning of the first roll, so we had a
"family moment" as I introduced my parents, wife and kids to Robert and his
Grandma. Which is a nice way to give you my impression of the man – a
solid, friendly, Midwestern family kind of guy with a genuine love for his
bandmates and the music they all make together. And his grandma is a
R: Granny's into this!
I definitely said "Music For All Occasions PLUS", that's kinda the way
that I led off the review that I wrote, because I felt that it was the best
Well, I'm glad to hear it, we're hoping the response will be primarily
that. I'd also like people to treat it as completely new music too, and
that means that you'll give everybody time to let it sink in. There's a
really cool thing that happened – there was a guy who went online, I don't
remember who it was, it might've been you – no, wait a minute, years ago
when "Music For All Occasions" came out, did you – it wouldn't have been
you – anyway, someone went online, and the first week they got the record,
they said, "I don't know, this isn't what I wanted, really, this isn't what
I expected, it's not at all like "Crying Shame", and then two days later it
was like "Well, I'm warming up to a couple of the songs" and then two days
later: "Man, this album is starting to feel really good, I take back what I
originally said". By the end of the week, maybe four or five postings
later, he's like "OK, I'm an idiot, I'm wrong, I admit it, I love the
album!" you know!
G: I think that's the way it's going to go with this one.
R: I think it should be, you know.
G: Was "Here Comes The Rain" the first single on that one?
R: Um, gosh, yes it was. Uh huh.
That should have caught a few ears. ["Trampoline" is playing
background as the sound booth crew continues to work after sound check] I
love this song. I keep humming these songs as I'm driving around, so that's
a good sign!
Grandma, to G: What do you think of the brass?
G: I love it!
Grandma: How do you think other people are gonna be, receptive to it?
G: It's different
for them. They've gotta open their minds a little bit,
R: Uh huh…
Grandma to Robert: [He's
pointing to the silver cross that she's wearing]
You just want to show him that, don't you?
G: Is that a present?
R: Yeah, I gave it to her.
That's nice! Is this by the guys that did your rings? [ed.
the Mavs horse logo pin, and lots of other jewelry for the Nashville crowd
now that the Quezada brothers have moved up from Miami.]
G: I met them at the Ace of Clubs.
Grandma: Each one of these [segments] has a diamond and a ruby.
G: They do good work.
R: It came out pretty.
Grandma (referring to my concert
photos): Well, Robert, if he gives you one
or two of these, then you can share with me.
G: You know the
horse pin, the horse logo? My son took that, and I don't
know what the process is, but he silk-screened a t-shirt for me with that
Grandma: He did? How old is your son?
G: The fifteen-year-old boy.
Grandma: Well, he's doing pretty good, isn't he?
G: Yep, so I'm gonna have him make me a couple more.
Grandma: That's pretty good.
G: Don't tell Frank, that's copyright!
R: No, no, that's alright.
……..end of part one………