TR3 - Watch It

Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Interview with TR by Stephen Centanni

January 15, 2008
By Stephen Centanni

Before Dave Matthews was selling out arenas with his eponomously-named band, he was pouring pints in Charlottesville, Va., at a bar called Miller’s. It was there Matthews made the acquaintance of Tim Reynolds, who had already turned local heads with his own band TR3.

Reynolds and Matthews clicked and jammed regularly on and off stage. Of course, Reynolds eventually became the guitar player for the Dave Matthews Band, and TR3 was put on the back burner.

Even when the DMB wasn’t touring and Matthews hit the road for his acoustic tours, Reynolds would be right beside him on stage.

But now, after years of performing solo and in a number of other projects, Tim Reynolds, Mick Vaughn and Dan Martier have revived TR3, and they are hitting the road.

I caught up with Reynolds at his home in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and we chatted about the past, present and future of TR3.

SC: You grew up in a pretty strict religious household. You even had some of your first gigs playing in church. How would you say that affected you as a musician?

TR: A good question. I played bass; it was the first thing that I did that was with other people. It made me focus, so it was like a gig to me. It was also a way to be a little bit outside the vibe of overly guilty, emotional manipulation, fear and things like that. For me, that was a really great way to avoid all that…I’m like, "Whoa, gosh, those poor people!" Not that church is a bad thing, but there was some kinda thing going on back in the day at that particular one that was a little bit scary for me.

SC: You spent quite a bit of time touring and recording with Dave Matthews as an acoustic duo and Dave Matthews and Friends. How did you guys finally get together after knowing each other for so long?

TR: It occurred over a long track of time. I first knew him as a bartender, and then we hung out together making music in a basement for fun. Then, he sang in TR3 a couple of times. Then, he had the idea of having his own band, which I kinda edged him up to do because it would be great for him. There were other people thinking that as well. As that grew, we just did gigs together every so often. Then, it just developed over time into doing acoustic gigs. The first time I played with him after he had his band, I played this Djimbe drum. It was just kinda spontaneous at this benefit that we were doing back in ‘90 or ‘91.

SC: Last year, you and Matthews released a live CD of a performance you guys did at Radio City Music Hall. As a musician, what was it like playing such a legendary venue?

TR: It was great. I remember playing there before on a really weird night when they invaded Iraq in 2003, so it was a strange time to do it there. It seemed a lot darker in the place. This time, there was more stuff on the stage to give it this kind of ambience, you know. So, it was a really different experience at every level. The first time, I wasn’t really looking up too much. The second, I was looking up a lot cause there was a lot to see.

SC: After touring with Matthews and touring as a solo act, what made you decide to revive TR3?

TR: Well, it started out just having fun playing around town, and it just kinda developed out of that. It wasn’t necessarily as much an intention to revive TR3, per se, as it was just get together with some guys, and I always wind up enjoying the trio format cause it’s just very free. After a bunch of gigs, it got into a groove. Then, I thought if were gonna play, no matter what we call it, it would be a weird name that people would be like, "What the f**k is that?"

TR3 is a name that I used a long time ago, and it would be easy in this case with whatever kind of a band recognition, even though people don’t know exactly what it is, but they might have heard it somewhere. It’s just an easier thing to call it, and it will be some of the older tunes that TR3 did and some different stuff in there. In the tradition of TR3, which was thing coming out of living in Charlottesville; I just wanted to do something that was organic. Instead of starting out with this idea of touring, it just became a thing to do around here for people to dance to and things like that. Then, it became a funk band, and we got into some rehearsing, and there you go. Now, it’s fun to do and check out for awhile.

SC: You’ve got Mick Vaughn on bass and Dan Martier on drums. Musically speaking, what was it about these guys that drew you to them to the point to where you knew that this was the path that you needed to take?

TR: Just from playing gigs with them. I’ve been doing it with these guys for just under six months. After a couple of gigs, I really thought it would be good to do a lot of rehearsing. I’m gone a lot doing my solo tours, so we really did a lot of rehearsing in the time that I was here in an intensive period over a couple of months and really just learned songs and tried to get them tight, so that everything became like second nature and just programmed in like a machine but a lot looser because it’s people doing it.

We tried to do a lot of gigs locally to try to get a feel for what we could do. I guess another thing that glued me into even more was playing gigs with these guys. Everybody plays in a lot of different bands with each other, and they had these other projects that I’ve been honored to be able to jam with them in. It was so much fun that I got to see them in a different element and how expansive they can be in the room with other musicians. Mick Vaughn and Dan are in a band, which is really fun, with Dan’s wife, and it’s a whole different thing.

I had a great time playing with them that night to see how they could go in that direction. I played with this other band with this guy Carl who sings and plays guitar and does all kind of great tunes like a lot of B-side classic things and things that you’ve heard and just really does it well. It’s just a lot of fun playing with Dan and this other guitarist in that format playing a lot of music and just getting into the communal thing.

SC: I was reading in the press release that you have a ton of new material worked up for this tour. What kind of sounds can the crowd expect?

TR: We have a couple of new songs and a lot of songs from CDs that are more recent like the last one "Parallel Universe," a lot of different covers. It’s like every time we get together, we play a new song or two cause it’s fun to do. It’s kinda changing all the time.

SC: When can we expect a new album from this incarnation of TR3?

TR: I’m sure at some point, I’m for sure. I can’t wait to get on the road and play a bunch of gigs.

SC: Is TR3 going to be a permanent thing or do you have other projects in mind?

TR: The only thing I do anymore is solo touring, so I’m sure we’ll be doing this for the foreseeable future just because it’s going to be a good thing, and I can see the longevity of it. I know that I won’t pursue it like with full-on, nine-month tours because everybody’s got a nice home life and family. I’m not going to approach it like somebody 20 years old that’s gonna totally just go for it. I think what we’re doing is going for it the way we want to. It’s like playing music and playing in front of people on the ground level of reality as it were just playing clubs and not trying to get into an image of a band. We’ll just make it real and see how it goes cause it’s just fun to do it.

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