For Scott Reynolds, the former singer of All and frontman of The Pavers and Goodbye Harry, he is now getting back into music full time, and all the more power to him. One such step is his opening slot on Anti-Flag’s forthcoming Australian tour in December, being Scott’s first Australian tour in almost 24 years. Whereas Anti-Flag will perform 2006’s ‘For Blood And Empire’ in full and then perform an all audience request set, Reynolds will be bringing just himself, his own pair of lungs and his nylon-string guitar to perform songs from all of his bands as well as a few covers for us all. Before that tour kicks off in a couple weeks, we shoot the shit with the Reynolds, about the US election, his Australian set, cover songs, getting back into music full time again, and his musical ethos of just playing wherever and whenever.
Okay, Scott, first question; how sick and tired are you of Australians asking you about the US election right now?
Well, I don’t talk to Australians very often, so not too bad! Plus, with what’s happened, I can take the opportunity to say that it sucks and that I didn’t vote for that idiot. And you do have to wonder about the ugly American caricature, as that’s what we elected and I think it’s embarrassing.
Yeah, these are strange and interesting times man. I actually have a mate studying music at Berkley College in Boston and as he’s Australian – not white, though – he got an email informing him and all of the college’s other International students that if you’re feeling upset, unwelcome or unsafe, or if you’re verbally or physically harassed, to inform the campus staff and that free counseling will be offered to you. So, basically saying, “Hey, we don’t hate you”, all because of who the US president is currently.
Yeah, that is kind of fucked up actually. But on the other hand, he didn’t win the popular vote, and when you get down to it, most Americans are for same-sex marriage, believe in climate change and so on. Yet all of these people who have been sitting on their laurels, myself included, thinking we’ll cruise along and be okay. It took electing this orange piece of shit to get us off our asses. But the fact that they sent that out to your friend is fucked up, but in another sense, is someone being proactive to say that that they won’t lay down. I guess its time to nut up and get tough.
For sure, and a couple weeks ago I was interviewing Justin Sane from Anti-Flag and he said that he’ll be needing a nice holiday in Australia, regardless of who won.
Oh, it will be. I’m sitting here and I’ll tell you, it comes in waves. I’ll go out and be ready to start a punk rock revolution and then other times I wake up and am scared as that idiot from The Apprentice is our president. So I wonder when I get down there to you guys if I can forget it all. But I love Australia and I haven’t been there in forever.
Well, that was an actually my next question, whether or not that this tour would be your own first tour in Australia?
[Laughs] you know, I think it was back in 1992 with All. It was a long time and it was one of my favourite tours too. My two favourite tours were All in Australia, and then Japan with The Pavers. Both for the same reasons, as I met many great people and had a stupid amount of fun.
Right on! Now, just to clarify with this tour, is it just a solo set you’re doing or will you have a full band with you?
No, just me and my nylon string, classical acoustic guitar. For me, I’m not a big acoustic, singer/songwriter guy. But I play these jazz, swinging songs and I opened up for Pennywise the other day and was really scared about it, but the audience attached to it really well. When I was asked to do this tour, I said ‘You do know what I do now, right?’ and they said that that was what they wanted. So I’m pretty excited. It’ll just be my guitar and me and I’m gonna bring it as hard as I can.
With the set you have on this tour, what can people expect song-wise: some All songs, some Goodbye Harry songs, some covers maybe?
Oh, for sure, it’ll be a bit everything; new stuff, covers, and songs from every band I’ve been in.
Cool! Well with the covers, knowing that you’re touring with a punk rock band, does that affect the covers you select?
No, not really. The songs I cover are covered my way, that swing-jazz sound. I’ll hear a song or I’ll just be playing something and realise it’s a melody from another song with slightly different chords, so the songs I cover are the ones that just kinda fell in my lap when I’m playing my guitar. I do one Misfits cover because I wanted to make a video about a situation with Glenn Danzig so I’ll cover one of their songs. Any others have just been songs I’ve noticed I was playing when I was screwing around on my guitar.
Which Misfits song are you covering by the way?
Oh, it’s Astro Zombies.
Ah, mad! I love that song, and that’s mainly because My Chemical Romance covered it like ten years ago.
Oh did they? I actually haven’t seen that. It works out for how I’m playing and the song suits itself well.
What’s your history with Anti-Flag, as I assume there’s some there due to your detailed time in the punk rock scene…?
I actually have no history with them at all. None at all. I’m pretty much going to meet them in Australia and say ‘How’s it going?’ and we’re gonna play. When I was telling people about South America on my Facebook, I got hit up and asked if I wanted to open for Anti-Flag. We had the conversation and I just said ‘Awesome!’.
[Laughs] so casual, I love it.
[Laughs] well I just wanna play, you know? If they had said ‘Do you wanna open for Britney Spears?’ I would’ve said yes too. My thing is just my thing, their thing is their thing, and I just come out and ask for the audience to take it or leave it.
I really dig that ethos man, of just wanting to play shows.
Well, my two kids are out of the house now, my wife and I have been divorced for a year or so now, I live in a small house, I sold or put must of my crap into storage to cut down on bills as I wanna be a musician full time again. I work in a bar and I don’t want to anymore. I don’t want to half-arse it anymore. I bought my mother’s car, put a bed in it, and now I just take my guitar and my Chihuahua and go play. So if someone says to me ‘Hey, do you wanna come play in Australia’, then, of course, I say ‘YEAH!’. That’s all I wanna do now, take my guitar and play.
That’s rad. And as you told me just now, it’s cool to see that you’ve made a lot of personal compromises or adjustments to focus on music so much more now, something that maybe some younger bands/artists wouldn’t compromise on.
In all fairness, when I first started doing that when I was young, it was easier to figure out what to do. The Descendents were a band that I really liked and I thought my stuff sounded like theirs, I saw a photo of them and they weren’t scary looking, and I had a place to go with small promoters everywhere. It was easier for me, and straight from college, I lived in my car and eventually was in the band. Many young kids these days maybe don’t do that as readily as it’s so much harder to make money, have a place to live, to put gas in the tank, and be on tour. With All we played almost 200 shows a year and we were everywhere we could be. I think many would do it if it were as possible as it was when I was younger.
Very good point you make there, Scott. In 2016, it really is a matter of being a small fish in a very big pond.
Yeah! Plus, the labels can’t do as much for you as they used to. You used to be able to make real money off your songs. Everybody’s got CD’s, you or your label don’t have to pay $25 per hour at a studio, most people have Garageband and Pro Tools, and you have all of these bands and no way to really find them. It used to be so easy to find your favourite band’s as you’d go to your favourite record store and look at your favourite label, but now you can’t tell who plays music anymore as you can’t see the forest through the trees. That’s why everyone hopes to get a viral video these days so people will notice them.
Well, there are digital avenues like YouTube and Spotify, but that viral video part is a good point and it can really work in some band’s favour. Scott, we’ve gone through all the questions I had for you, and I think that that last answer is a good place to leave it there. Thank you so much for your time today dude, really good to talk to you and honestly, I am very keen for this tour with you, your nylon-string and Anti-Flag!
Yeah, this was great, and no worries at all man. Thank you for your time and thank you for your interest!
You can catch Scott Reynolds opening up for Anti-Flag on their December headline tour. Dates below, tickets here.