With the turn of a new chapter, Scott Reeder steps into a solitary venture, transitioning from his longstanding role as the drummer for FU MANCHU to explore a fresh musical avenue with JACKET THIEF. His debut album, “Lights Out bThe Shore,” slated for a September 29 release via his brainchild, TripKey Records, is a manifestation of an artist unshackled, exploring the boundless realms of musical expression.
The album is a product of meticulous craftsmanship, helmed by Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer Ryan Mall, whose Midas touch has graced the works of Dropkick Murphys, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Gaslight Anthem.
In this exploratory endeavor, Reeder dons multiple hats, breathing life into the album with his instrumental and vocal prowess, albeit with a sprinkle of guitar solos by FU MANCHU’s Bob Balch. What unfolds is a soul-stirring rock album, whose rhythmic waves carry the listeners through an undulating ride of emotions and reminisces.
The inception of “Lights Out On The Shore” can be traced back to a recurrent dream of a young Reeder— a dream where an endless ocean beckoned, its distant lights guiding him safely ashore. It was this very dream that birthed the album’s thematic essence, woven intricately through the acoustic strings and rhythmic beats of its opening track “Flying Too Low.” Reeder’s narrative encapsulates the quintessence of self-reliance and the relentless pursuit of one’s destiny, shaped by the guiding lights of personal experiences.
The album traverses through a symphonic narrative, each track painting a segment of life’s vast canvas. From the crashing crescendos of “Some Kind Of Murder” and “A Stitch In Time” to the tranquil drifts in “As She Drifts,” the album embodies a cinematic voyage through Reeder’s musical psyche. The title track, with its drop-tuned drone, embodies the serene yet ominous allure of a shore under the twilight, drawing parallels to Reeder’s venture into the melodic yet profound unknown.
The songs, carefully curated over thirteen “Saturday Sessions,” unfurled organically, each layer of rhythm, harmony, and lyrics, adding a new dimension to the album’s narrative. Reeder reminisces the organic and unhurried nature of these sessions as the cradle of the album’s soulful and authentic resonance. Each strum, beat, and lyric was a step towards painting a complete picture, “almost cinematic at some points,” as Reeder puts it.
Mitchell Townsend’s slide guitar, reminiscent of the Stephen Stills/Manassas era, melds seamlessly with Reeder’s rhythmic narrative, adding a vintage hue to the album’s modern soundscape. The camaraderie between Reeder and Bob Balch, transcending from FU MANCHU, brings forth a unique blend of rhythmic dialogues and guitar solos, enriching the album’s sonic palette.
“Lights Out On The Shore” is but a prologue to JACKET THIEF’s narrative. With more music brewing and collaborations on the horizon, Reeder envisions JACKET THIEF as an evolving project with no boundaries. The essence of the album resonates with Reeder’s vision, embodying a fluid, unbounded expression that transcends genres and resonates with a diverse audience.
As we await a special interaction where Reeder delves deeper into his evolution from FU MANCHU to JACKET THIEF, the waves of “Lights Out On The Shore” beckon, promising a serene yet exhilarating voyage through the ebbs and flows of life, music, and self-exploration.
Here’s our full interview with Scott:
From your time with FU MANCHU to your new solo project, how would you describe the evolution of your sound and songwriting over the years?
I’m really still learning to write songs so Im always listening to how its done..sometimes its a riff sometimes its a phrase but usually its its an idea that I like that gets it started..there doesnt seem to be one way to do it. So its pretty scatterbrained.
The title “Lights Out On The Shore” seems to hold deep personal significance, especially with the recurring dream you mentioned. Can you shed more light on the symbolism of the shore and the guiding light in your music and life?
I think its kind of just saying that you can rely on others only so much..if you want to get where you want to go, you have to do the work to get there. Thats pretty much the guide, at least for me.
Your partnership with Grammy-winning producer/engineer Ryan Mall has birthed a distinct sound for “Lights Out On The Shore”. Can you discuss the dynamics of this collaboration and how Ryan influenced the sonic direction of the album?
Ryans patience and guidance were extremely important. His sonic knowhow and his ability to get fun relaxed performances were key, especially vocally. Thats where he got me to do things i didnt know I could do.. I guess not being afraid to go places and emote vocally that I hadn’t planned on..so his imprint is all over the album
Your sessions of building songs, starting with drums and expanding from there – it sounds organic and unhurried. How crucial was this process in ensuring the album retained its authentic, soulful feel?
It was really the only way I could think to do it!! Thats how the demo process went so i figured I would just replicate what i was comfortable with. But had I gone in to do the record in one straight row of days it would have taken 14 days..but it was spread out over a year and a half.
Bob Balch’s contributions as a lead guitarist have been highlighted in the album. What, in your view, did he bring to the table, and how did it enhance the overall vibe?
Bob brought everything to the table, hes the most incredible guitar player and Im so lucky to know him as a friend and bandmate..this is the third project we have worked on together but it sounds different than everything. We would talk about a particular direction and he would just nail it
“Furs and Fires” stands out as your personal favorite. Beyond its studio evolution, is there a deeper emotional story or experience that inspired its creation?
I actually wrote the chorus of that song when I was still in Smile in the 90s..the rest of it just evolved into something I had not planned on..there is a bit of a story in there which may seem obvious…but I will leave it to the listner to attach their own meaning to it..
With “Lights Out On The Shore”, you’ve ventured into a melodic heavy sound, rich in harmony. Can you share some inspirations, both musical and personal, that contributed to this direction?
I’ve always been a fan of vocal blending and dense sounds..I love heavy and fast music but if you’ve ever stood in a room with 3 or 4 people that can harmonize its almost a spiritual thing..so everything from Van Halen to Bluegrass music is an inspiration. Being able to pull that off for real is something special…I still havent done it..only with myself haha
Mitchell Townsend brought the spirit of Stephen Stills/Manassas era into some of the songs. What drew you to that specific era and sound, and how do you think it complements the overall atmosphere of the album?
Well it may sound odd, but Ive always been drawn to guitar players. As a drummer thats what i play off of is their phrasing…I kind of have it backwards I suppose…but the Mannassas Album and Stephen Stills in general from that period and everyone who played on that record from Dallas Taylor, Joe LaLa, Chris Hillman…there are so many styles of music and they nail them all…I have probably listned to that record once a week for the past 3 years so its a big influence..and Mitchell can play anything better than anyone so hes an ace in my pocket.
The album seems to hold a cinematic quality to it, almost like a journey with a distinct narrative. Was this a deliberate approach, or did it evolve organically through the songwriting and recording process?
No it just evolved in the recording…the music kind of dictated it and I tried to get out of the way.
Having taken on multiple roles for this project, from songwriting to photography, what have been your biggest challenges and rewards in this holistic approach to music creation?
Really just getting it out and getting it heard by people..thats a harder thing to do now days. The rest of it is fun.
Can fans expect any live performances or tours where they can experience Jacket Thief’s captivating sound firsthand?
Not right now..Im focused on a new Fu Manchu album.. I would like to try and get more material together probably first.
Lastly, as “just the beginning for JACKET THIEF”, can you give us a glimpse of what’s on the horizon for this project?
Hopefully another album and some shows..Its more a vehicle for me to do styles of music that dont involve heavy drumming!
Not to say that it wouldnt involve more riff heavy music, but I would like there to be no boundaries with it… I have a few song demos
Already and a lot of ideas going forward that are all over the place..so again the music will be the guide.. Thanks!