DAN REED NETWORK / The SLAM-Anniversary-revival-party – interview with Dan Reed about the new album, the history, Prague, and gettin lost in Cologne

Where have all the good times gone? 30 years … since Dan Reed Network released the famous album „SLAM“ and now it’s time for the album anniversary and the band is back to celebrate the album live on stage in Europe. After some successful shows the band showed up at Gebäude 9 in Cologne to play the entire album and additionally smash hits such as „Get to you“, before they are heading for the UK.

Before the show we met the sympathic and also charismatic Dan Reed in the outsourced back stage container – because Gebäude 9 currently is being renovated. We talked about the reunion, his private life in the Czech Republic and the new album that’s in progress …

Interview by Martin Hannig and Dennis Rowehl, pic by courtesy of Oktober Promotion, credit MCT

entertaim.net: We just remembered that tour back in 89, supporting Bon Jovi, in Oldenburg on stage your hair was burning….

Dan Reed: Yeah, they did this fireworks every night. And there was a couple of shows when that happened!

entertaim.net: But you acted just very cool. You know, when someone threw a beer can on stage that days everybody was freakin out. But here, your hair was burning, and you went: oh, okay, just fire, don’t mind, let’s play on …. impressing!

D.R.: …. I’m gonna shave my head next week anyway (laughs).

entertaim.net: After that you released the Rainbow Child video. And you cut your hair. …

D.R.: I shaved it off that morning of the video! It was in that hotel in San francisco at 4 in the morning. You know, with all the hippies there, it was always about having long hair. But it was called Rainbow Child… I wanna come out with my head shaved – I thought that was really fun. But the label said: no. You gotta put something on your head, we won’t make the video with your head shaved. So I figured out to do it with that bandana. That is the only reason we could do that video.

entertaim.net: Couple of years ago you released Fight Another Day, on Frontiers Records. But that wasn’t released on vinyl, right?

D.R.: Just CDs, yes. They didn’t do vinyl. I don’t know why. Frontiers is an interesting company. They’re giving you money to do the record and after that they don’t do anything for the record. No promoting, no pushing. I’ve heard that same complain from Steve Lukather, and many other artists.  They make money by bringing it out. They don’t care if it makes any more money for the band. And then they give you some money for one music video, about 3000 dollar. And for that money we gave them 3 videos! That was a great thing, cause our drummer is a filmmaker. So he brought all his friends in, pulled off a lot of tricks, and Frontiers didn’t care. They were like: ok, fine, 3 videos. (laughs) …. After that album I don’t work with them anymore.

entertaim.net: What brought you back on the scene a few years ago?

D.R.: It was on new years eve 2012. Soembody asked us, if we would like to get togeter and play a reunion show in Portland, our hometown. I never talked to our guitar player Brian for 25 years… I’d seen Melvin our bass player once in  a while, and the others, but we never made music. But when there was this new years eve show,  I contacted Brian:  we never talked to each other for 25 years, but we have an offer to do the show, it’s in our hometown, the money is really good…. Do you wanna do this one show to have fun? And he said: yeah let’s do it! Then we got together, rehearsed for a couple of days, it was so fun, we played the show, the audience loved it. On new years eve Brian and I at 3 in the morning, had a few drinks, sittin‘ on the balcony of the hotel, and we just said: man, let’s do this together again…. About 7 months later we were touring in the UK. And in 2014 we said, let’s start writing songs together. And that turned out to be Fight Another Day, than we did a second one, Origins, and now we go in the studio next month!

entertaim.net: Do  you have a new record deal?

D.R.: No, we actually gonna record it, then show it around and when nothing happens, we gonna release it by ourselves. But kind of cool thing is, we ALL feel this next record, the songs are probably our strongest stuff, compared to FAD or Origins, and even our earlier albums. I spent all the last year for this new record, stayed at home, and worked on the music. Brian and Melvin sent me stuff, and also Rob, our new keyboarder, and I was writing and just piecing things together. Writing lyrics. We have about 29 songs now, and pick 12 of them for the album. It’s funky and heavy. And it’s so much fun to listen to the music, that was the goal! Hopefully you’ll hear it next year.

entertaim.net: You are living in Prague since a while? What’s happened? How came this connection to the Czech Republic?

D.R.: I do! But it wasn’t really a connection . I moved daway from the US in 2003, I wasn’t happy with our politics. George Bush bombing Iraq and Afghanistan, you know. These people had nothing to do wit 9/11. Maybe Osama bin Laden did, but he was saudi-arabian… and 14 of the hijackers that flew the planes were saudi-arabian… and yet we are in bed with Saudi Arabia because of their oil. And so I wanted to move away from my government, and I went to India, spent a year there, and then to Jerusalem, where I lived for 3 years. Built a recording studio there and started writing music again, for my solo stuff. And I moved to Paris, for 3 years. And than I moved to Prague. I just didn’t feel like going back to America. I was thinking about going to Berlin, or Glasgow, which is really cool there. But for some reason it was Prague. I was playin a show there, it was right at the end of my Paris time, 8 years ago,  I didn’t want to live there anymore. In Prague, I fell in love with the architecture.  I like how kind and tough the country is. Not like „Hiiii how ya doin“  (makes an arrogant gesture)…

entertaim.net: East europe is much different from that!

D.R.: Very  down to earth people! I like that. Then I met a woman there and fell in love and then we had a son. We got pregnant 9 month after knowing each other, and now we have a little 7 year old boy!

entertaim.net: He s a little czech boy….

D.R.: Ya, but he looks like philippino and czech together. (shows a pic from his cute boy). He’s the only boy in the Czech Republic with long hair (laughs). Everyody goes: what your daughter’s name? My daughter’s name is Joshua …. sometimes he feels bad when everybody calls him a girl. Then we say, do you wanna cut your hair? He says: no!

entertaim.net: The rest of the band is still in Portland?

D.R.: No, Melvin lives in L.A., Brian lives down in Honduras. He has a girlfriend in Sweden, so he spents half a year up in Sweden. Dan and Rob both live in Portland. And thats where we record the new album, in Robs studio.

entertaim.net: But when you go on tour, you have to come together to rehearse for a week ….

D.R.: Just for 2 days. Sometimes we are lucky to get 1 day. Last tour we didn’t rehearse at all, just went out ’n ‚play. This tour we play a lot of songs from Slam, we hadn’t played before since we recorded them. So we had to learn them.  We spent 2 days in Wetzlar here in Germany, and we will play there tomorrow night. Then we drop all the equipment off into the bus up to the UK.

entertaim.net: Talkin to you means a lot to us. We really loved these first 2 albums. We saw you one time with Bon Jovi, but I guess there was a second time….

D.R.: With The Rolling Stones we played in Berlin. It was right after the wall came down. And we stayed in East Berlin in a hotel. Everything was grey, all the buildings were grey…. I think the toilet was in the hotel room. No bathroom! (laughing all around)

entertaim.net: Interesting time back then! What is with the new stuff – is it more progressive or mixing it together with the 80ies sound?

D.R.: Hard to describe. To me it’s just very funky. A lot of great guitar work. In the back of my head it was like making a pop version of Rammstein, that was my goal. Whenever Melvin or Brian sent me stuff I was looking for the heaviest groove. Something that bam like Rammstein, and how do I make it accesible, like pop. Sounds like lot of anger. But I know Rammsteins lyrics are really great. I was thinking like: how can I do this style…. whether we suceeded or not, you’ll be the judge…

entertaim.net: Are you gonna play some new stuff tonight?

D.R.: No. We decided this is the 30 anniversary thing, let’s just revisit the past. People wanna come here and remember that  days in high school or college. So we play all Slam, in the order of the record, and then we’ll play a few songs from the first albums. We do this also in the UK next week, for 10 shows.

entertaim.net: The UK is still good for you?

D.R.: It’s great! The shows we doing up there will be between 700 and 1200 people. They still like rock‘ n‘ roll, very open minded.  Berlin last night was 50 people.

entertaim.net: Berlin probably is just good for electro and pop stuff.

D.R.:  Yeah, it’s not a good business there for us.  We should be playin Munich, we have a following there. I don’t know what it will be like tonight.

entertaim.net: It was quite hard to find the venue today. Even if we know this place – it’s all new around here. Must be hard to find the backstage area for you….

D.R.: (laughs) Yes. We woke up in the bus here today. I try to run every morning, to be in shape for the shows. So I ran out, and ended up in a construction area with big cranes, and it was like my shoes were fillin up with mud. Where the fuck am I? (laughing all around) Then I got back to the bus, and I went: hell, where’s the gig? Couldn’t find it, just went the wrong way. There are clubs on the other side of the river, I know. But our agency MCT just picked out this, I guess because they have a relationship with.

entertaim.net: Thank you very much, nice talking to you …

D.R.: My pleasure …