Aside from a paycheck, working with Dave Matthews has other benefits for Reynolds’ TR3 endeavors, including access to DMB’s Haunted Hollow studio.
“It is one of the nicest studios that I’ve ever been in. I’ve been to a few pretty nice studios over the years. That one is the best,” Reynolds said. “It has living quarters, it’s out in the country, it has a pristine environment, and it’s a great studio; two kitchens, it’s a great hang. You have your bedrooms and it’s just a lot of space there. Again, Rob Evans, who works as the engineer; all the staff there, are just really great. We’ve worked with them for many years now and I can’t wait to go back when I get enough music.”
This interviewer first heard Reynolds play on his 1999 recording with Dave Matthews, ‘Live at Luther College.’ To call Tim’s guitar work masterful would be an understatement. Shortly after its release, this double-CD was the only music this writer took on a camping trip that involved hours upon hours in the car. It was love at first listen. Then, years later, I caught Tim playing solo shows and gigs with TR3. Think the guy can play acoustic guitar? Wait until you hear him on the electric! What never ceases to amaze me is that Tim continues to grow, from TR3 tour to the next TR3 tour, to consecutive summers on the road with Dave Matthews Band, his playing kicks it up a notch each and every time I see him play. Tim was asked the two-part question of how he’s able to keep improving and what drives him to keep enhancing his craft.
“I think I’m a neurotic schizophrenic who can’t sit in one place. I think that I’ve not learned enough. It’s kind of the way it should be if you’re trying to keep learning new stuff. Also, for me, the focus has always been on focusing on learning and playing music. One of those secrets to my success is that I’ve never peaked. I’ve never had a hit record. Once you get into that certain level, up into the starlight level, you kind of peak, that’s when you peak out in popularity or whatever. If you kind of stay down a few notches and play club level, at least for your own music, you can kind of keep it in that zone,” Reynolds answered. “It’s hard to describe. If you hit it big time… I work with the big time, obviously, so I’m very lucky to have one gig that’s totally all the way there, but also, coming from an authentic place, and have a smaller fanbase, not based on a genre or five minutes of fame, that’s a big, long-term big band. I’m very lucky to be able to not spend a lot of time on the publicity. Once you decide to make a big record with a big label, it’s like you almost need to be on a presidential campaign trail, non-stop, to keep the pressure up so you don’t fall back. Once you climb that ladder to super famous, if you’re not staying up there, it looks like you declined. To me, I get to work with somebody who’s got that happening. It’s natural in the course of events of all this time, I’m lucky that I can still just kind of play down a level or two and just keep it in that mode, which is, some people would say is crazy, ‘don’t you want to do more?’ To me, this is the ultimate thing to do, to play music on my own terms to some degree. That’s kind of what keeps me practicing and trying to learn how to play better.”
Reynolds also went on to say that he both likes to listen to and hopes his fans enjoy music as an entire body of art that is the album:
“Music, to me, is supposed to take you on a journey. That’s what I love about the album format,” he said. “That’s what I love about people who listen to music and listen to it from the beginning to the end. To me, my favorite bands still do that, like Radiohead and Flaming Lips. They have this idea that there are songs that are maybe going to be hits; that’s cool, but they want this to be a total experience to listen to from the beginning to the end. That’s what’s also fun about playing the whole album live, just like that. It gives people a sense of, ‘Here’s a journey you can go on,’ and then they can take it home!'”
Out of sheer curiosity, Reynolds was asked what music is on his playlist these days:
“It’s is all over the map. I always come home and specialize in my ’70s shit that I love and grew up with, but I’m always listening to new bands and trying to absorb that like Radiohead and the Black Keys. I love the Deftones; Tool; I love all of those bands,” Reynolds said. “They all inspire me. I also go on tangents and pick out a year like ’70 or ’71 and listen to all the music from that year. It’s really fun. I do that almost every day. It’s kind of insane. It’s what I do to re-energize. It’s like the food of my soul to listen to music. Everything else is kind of biding down until I get to listen to music. It’s the most important thing to me. I get to play a gig, but afterward, I want to go to my room and listen to some music.”
As mentioned at the outset, Reynolds is a nominee for the class of 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees as a member of Dave Matthews Band. Reynolds and his bandmates will receive word on if they are in sometime in January.
“It feels really great. It’s an honor,” Reynolds said of the nomination. “I know different people have different reactions, so I just stay neutral for the moment and see what happens. I think it’s a big honor to even be nominated. Dave deserves it because he’s been working so hard and he has a big fanbase and has been around a long time. All the bands are awesome on that nomination. If they win and we don’t, that’s OK with me. I see Nine Inch Nails, T-Rex, all these other great bands… It’s great to see them get recognized.”