We at Shaman HQ have been long standing fans of a one Mr Tony Reed, whether that’s as a musician in his many bands and projects, or providing his magic touch as a recording engineer, our ears immediately picked up when the news broke about his debut acoustic solo outing, Funeral Suit, that’s been released via Ripple Music as part of their Blood And Strings series.
As Reza said in his recent review ‘the fact that the result is so accomplished is what makes this record so impressive, bolstering Reed’s reputation as one of rock’s most reliable and important performers’. And now, following on from an interview with the man himself published earlier today, its our absolute honour to bring you the new monochrome video for the title track Funeral Suit, that was filmed and edited by Mark Serna.
More On Tony Reed & ‘Funeral Suit’
Tony Reed belongs to a rare echelon of relentless creativity. A rock and roll lifer since his days self-recording tape demos as a teenager, he has spent the last three decades in an increasingly progressive pursuit of his art. In bands like Treepeople, Twelve-Thirty Dreamtime, Constance Tomb, Stone Axe, and his steadiest and most influential, Mos Generator, he has refined a songwriting, performance and recording process that is unmatched, and amassed a lifetime discography broad enough to make the rest of the universe seem outright lazy.
Reed has toured on multiple continents and especially since revitalizing Mos Generator as a stage act in the early 2010s, earned a reputation for bringing the same ferocity to the stage as to the studio. As a frontman, Reed harnesses a classic rocker’s energy, but is only ever forward-thinking in his execution and engagement with his audience. At dive bars or huge festivals, his name is synonymous with a level of mastery that is no less his own than the songs he writes.
Headquartered in Port Orchard, Washington, his HeavyHead Studio is home to a fully-stocked production facility, and though Reed most often uses it for his own ends, the words ‘Mixed and Mastered by Tony Reed’ have become a staple of heavy underground releases. His collaborations with artists, whether through split releases or actually sitting in with other bands, are rousing endorsements for listeners in the know, and his exploration continues unabated.
Whether it’s incorporating new elements of space and prog into Mos Generator, reviving the goth-tinged Constance Tomb, or beginning the entirely new pursuit of an acoustic/piano-based solo incarnation under his own name, Tony Reed is a treasure of American rock and roll and someone whose soul bleeds into everything he crafts. It is time to start including his name among rock’s truest ambassadors. – JJ Koczan (The Obelisk)
Over the years I’ve recorded many acoustic songs but never set out to make an acoustic album, and although I have been talking about doing this for some time now, I’ve never had a solid concept of how it would end up sounding in tone and feel. Early drafts of this record had more acoustic renditions of Mos Generator songs and had a heavier overall feel. That approach changed in the fall of 2019 when, in a very short time, I wrote all the songs that would become side one. I was given a nylon string acoustic guitar, a baritone guitar, and I borrowed a resonator that was in a tuning I had never played in. I used those new challenges to write in a way that was different than just playing straight acoustic by utilizing odd tunings and fingerpicking to expand on my style.
In recent years my lyric writing has become more revealing of my personality and how I feel about decisions I have made throughout my life. I’ve penned these feelings in quite a few songs over the last four Mos Generator records, but I’ve found that it’s sometimes hard to convey those emotions inside of a heavy rock format. Playing songs in an acoustic environment allows for the meaning of the lyric to present itself clearly, at times being the full focus of a song, revealing complex levels of emotion that I had no idea were there until I was done writing the words and could take a step back to analyze the lines.
Most of the time when I sit down to write lyrics for a song the music has already been arranged and recorded, then I sit in front of the recorder and write and record the vocals line by line or verse by verse. By doing it that way I am relying on the feel of the music to dictate the kind of words I put to it. A large percentage of the compositions on this album where the first or second takes of the music and vocals for songs that had been written and arranged only minutes earlier, giving them a very raw and unpolished feel. A lot of them were written on the couch that I’m sitting on in the back-cover photo. – Tony Reed, August 2020.
Funeral Suit tracklist:
03. Funeral Suit
04. Along the Way
05. Lonely One
06. Wicked Willow
07. Might Just…
08. Who Goes There?
Funeral Suit, as part of their Blood And Strings series, is out now via Ripple Music.