Three Imaginary Girls

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Gary Reynolds is putting out a song a week for the next year! Below I ask him about this ambitiously creative master plan and he patiently explains it all to me.

Reynolds and his band the Brides of Obscurity have been releasing records, playing KEXP’s Audioasis and local venues, and supporting and recording with many other Pacific NW bands for a while. As local scribe/promoter Barbara Mitchell describes him, “Gary is a mad genius. He’s the kind of guy who’s great at crafting songs and collecting good people around him than he is at promoting himself. He’s from Texas. He not only knows a great song, but he’s skilled at assembling a great team.”

Graig Markel (Animals At Night) adds, “Gary is the owner of Electrokitty Studio. I’m not really sure how he is going to pull this song a week thing off! But he is insane, however, and I don’t doubt that he will do it. He is a creative lunatic who makes records for his own band in the vein of the Beatles, Nilsson, Emmit Rhodes, and other late 60s, early 70s classics. He also mixed the upcoming Head Like a Kite album.”

What’s the story behind doing a song of the week? Was it while you were recording Santiago’s Vest? Was it an “overflow of ideas” situation?

After Santiago’s Vest I made a record with Jack Endino, which hasn’t been released yet. I told Jack about some other unreleased albums I had, and he suggested that I release all of them but I didn’t have a concept of how to do it. Here’s the pattern: Make a record, form a band around it, get lost in the band’s interpretation, scrap the previous album, write new songs with the band, record the new songs, recording doesn’t stack up, dissolve band, do another solo record, cycle, rinse, repeat. A portion of what I’m releasing now are the solo albums that got shelved along the way.

A while back I saw a movie on a plane about this woman cooks through Julia Childs’ cookbook and blogs about it over a year. That’s when the idea of 52 songs and 12 albums hit me.

And how long will you be doing a song of the week?

The song of the week will be going on every Monday for the entire year of 2010. There will be a total of 52 free downloads (from my website). Most will appear on albums, a handful will not.

How many albums worth of material do you see this splitting up into? Do you think you’ll use every song for an album?

I’m releasing a total of 12 albums this year, one a month on the first Monday of each month. Nine albums are in the can (some of them still need to be mixed) and I’m currently working on the tenth. The last two are going to be a children’s record and the final one, either a Christmas record or a collection of my favorite cover songs.

The three albums of The Cretin Chronicles Vol. 1-3 are my earliest stuff and are Pebbles-influenced 60’s garage rock which originated from 26 reels of tape I had recorded while I was going to college. It’s really cool stuff but it takes a lot of mixing work to get them in shape for release. I’d hoped to get those out first but my studio got booked and I’m having a hard time getting in to finish.

Will they be digital releases, or actual vinyl/CDs at all?

For now it’s going to be digital only releases. Later in the year I’m hoping to press limited quantities of CDs for selected records. Who knows I may end up doing another vinyl for the one I’m currently working on.

This is your basic band from the MySpace for these recordings, right?

Nope. Most of this is my solo work. I have some of my band members playing on some stuff but mostly it’s me playing all the instruments with different drummers and guest musicians who show up at 2 AM in the studio with an idea.

Jeremy and Perry are still playing with me. Justin has moved on and Don is tragically is no longer with us.

Who else has been working on you with these — are there any other co-writers?

There are a couple co-writers on some of the tracks but predominately only me. My ratio of writing to recording is pretty high. I have moving boxes full of cassettes, which are full of partial songs. When I get blocked, I sort through and find a cool idea and then complete that. So there’s really no lack of songs or song ideas.
What other musicians are you thinking of bringing in?

I had Mike Stone play drums on the album I did with Jack. On the one I’m currently working on, people are showing up to hang out at the studio late at night and if they have a good idea it usually gets recorded. Other than that, Eric Corson (The Long Winters) has been playing most of the bass and Phil Peterson (Tennis Pro, Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground) has been playing cello.

What are your live performance plans to promote this crazy output?

Last year I made a conscious decision to start getting stoned again and in so doing I rediscovered the guitar. All I wanted to do was play the guitar for hours, which obviously you can’t do in a 45 minute set. I guess I’m one of those “show me a cliff and I’ll jump off” sort of people, so I decided to do the residency thing. Over the summer I did a weekly gig for a couple of months and it was good and fun, got to play hours and hours of guitar and well, I’ve never been a jam band but at least I’ve gotten that out of my system.

I just did a “proper” show with my new band at Neumos last week. Phil on Cello and Dave Miner leading the brass section. It was lots of fun. We did a cool cover of “I Am The Walrus.” I’m looking forward to doing the full on production shows for a while.

Is there a mammoth, several day marathon of tunes planned for the end of the year, when you try to play most or all of them?

Hmmm, the thought hadn’t occurred to me but yeah, maybe I could do a couple back-to-back live shows where I do the “best of” sort of thing. I’ll put that one down.