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- Posted on Apr 17th 2008 5:00PM by Mike Spinella
Reis, calling himself Speedo once again these days, is a rock 'n' roll purist: Whether it's in a garage in San Diego or a nationwide tour with Rancid or the Foo Fighters, Reis always brings his A-game. His latest venture, Night Marchers, marks his triumphant return to the rock 'n' roll circuit and is no exception to the top-notch music resume Reis carries.
How would you describe the sound of the Night Marchers for people who haven't seen or heard you before?
Rock 'n' roll. It's rock 'n' roll music. Why elaborate on something that's not meant to really be put into words anyway?
Do you think the Night Marchers will appeal to your fans of your past work?
Some will, and some won't. It's not a replica of anything that's already happened, anything I've already done. At the same time, well, I think it is kind of like everything all rolled into one burrito. But some people just don't like burritos, for some f---ing reason.
Have you given yourself a new name while in this band? In the past you've gone by Speedo, Slasher and Swami.
You know, [Speedo is] the moniker that I'm going with in this band as my name. It's a return back to the confidence, the misguided bravado and the desire to kind of take over the world one decapitation at a time. It's a return back to that rock 'n' roll instinct that I've had in the past. It's a bit tempered, I've been a bit removed from the professional rock 'n' roll circuit for some time. So I'm very enthusiastic and agitated, I'm just really horny to get out there and start blasting. So right now, it's like I just want to be immersed in this new band, these new sounds and the collaboration with the other people that make up the Night Marchers.
In your time since Rocket From the Crypt played their last show, had you been working on Night Marchers in your downtime?
No. You know, Night Marchers only started in the last six months as far as practicing, recording, getting this record out and all that. So I haven't really been doing anything as far as playing music. I put all of the other bands to rest in order to hope that something new would germinate and blossom, and it's taken a while, but Night Marchers are kind of the culmination of everything I've been thinking about for the past couple years.
What do you miss most about Rocket from the Crypt?
It still feels very fresh to me, and since I'm still playing I don't really miss anything directly about it, other than the camaraderie of the people and spending time with the people that were involved. As far as playing those songs and everything, we've pretty much played them as many times as you'd probably want to play them.
Do you think if you had done anything differently the band would have been able to co-exist with other projects?
The thing about Rocket is that it was an all-or-nothing thing. That was what made us be able to attack what we do with such importance. So it couldn't exist on a lesser level. There was no such thing as ... we couldn't really bring the reins in and pull it back to a trot. That wasn't really the way the band could exist. It was just kind of all the way up or all the way off.
Over the years, your Rocket logo became really famous. A lot of people got tattoos of it to get into shows free. Do you have any plans to get the Night Marchers established in that way?
The Rocket tattoos were not born out of a marketing idea or any kind of way to promote the band. All it was is something that started from the people in the band and kind of rippled out to friends of the band and rippled out to people who were passionate about the noise we were making. It just unraveled and happened naturally. I know it seems unique and interesting, and that's why people tend to write about it. We just wanted to treat those that decide to get the rock 'n' roll birthmark on their body, treat that decision with respect. I don't think there'll be anything like that that would ever happen ever again.
Over the years, having seen you play through all the different bands, it seems the character of Speedo has attached himself to quite a backstory.
I really like to entertain people. I have fun doing it, and it comes naturally to me, and I have fun expressing myself in that way. Although it might not always be sincere in terms of, like, being based in reality, you know you got to make your own reality. So I think that's where my desire to kind of get out there and be a little bit more -- so eager to show people what I think is the righteous rock 'n' roll path. When I was getting into punk rock music, it was an alienating movement in the sense that it attracted people who didn't fit in, but being a part of this thing automatically made you not fit in, as well. So it kind of reinforced that. Nowadays punk rock has just become more or less a drumbeat and not really something that's synonymous with an ideology; just more of a fashion, a drumbeat, a stylistic nod to maybe a more rambunctious aesthetic, you know? I'm not of age where I was a part of the punk rock explosion in 1977. I wasn't there. I didn't get turned on to the music until there's older people than myself telling me that it was already dead and there's nothing good to be had. I found something good in it, and found a lot of inspiration, especially in regards to doing things yourself and believing in yourself and being resourceful in terms of taking your meager tools and trying to make something more out of that. And really not having any rules, too. Not having to abide to the convention.
What's happening in San Diego that you think more people need to know about?
People will find out about the Heartaches and the Muslims and the Sess, and people will continue to write about Pinback and Black Heart Procession, and people will find out about Earthless being one of the most exciting live bands on the planet. I don't think people need to, I think they just will, because it's good. San Diego feels the same as it always has to me, just a group of friends playing together, having fun, and still very incestuous, as it will always be. It's always been a city where you have to make your own fun, so maybe that's why there have been a lot of great bands that have come from here.
Are you ready for the release of the Night Marchers album next week?
Yeah, it's a hit record. We're destined for megastardom -- well, not megastardom but minor stardom, like B-list, I think.