Reggie and the Full Effect

By paul

This interview was conducted with James Dewees and Matt Pryor (of The Get Up Kids/New Amsterdams/Terrible Twos) before TGUK’s gig in Kingston in August 2009. This interview was conducted in two parts which I’ve mashed together…

Paul: So Reggie totally polarizes people. People either love Reggie or they hate Reggie.
James: That’s so true (laughs)
Paul: There’s absolutely no middle ground at all with Reggie.
Matt: There are no kids that are like ‘I kinda like Reggie’.
James: The whole point of making the songs like that was like trying to get more kids to like it. So there was a song for everybody. But it was completely the opposite.
Matt: The thing with Reggie is that it’s like the musical personification of this dude’s personality (looks at James). It’s really heavy and psuedo-serious as you can get and then really goofy and ridiculous at the same time.

Paul: But then you did go from the super serious, drawing from experiences in your life to the super ridiculous. They’re polar opposites.
James: (Laughs) Oh yeah.
Matt: I played it for Lily (his daughter), I played ‘Happy Chickens’ and they loved it. We said ‘why have we thought not to play Reggie songs for the kids’. It was funny as fuck. All the funny songs are right up their alley. People make fun of me for making a kids record but you made a kids record!
James: (Laughs) we should be a duo and make kids records!

Paul: While we’re talking Reggie what’s the plan? Is Reggie alive?
James: No.
Paul: No?
James: He’s dead. I mean anything I do is gonna sound like that if I’m the lead singer and it will have heavy songs and synthisers and it will sound like Reggie but as far as the name goes…it’s had it’s time. That was in my 20s and I’m now in my 30s. It’s like, OK, no more hotpants. And errr…
Matt: You’re a grown ass man.
James: (laughs) I need to stop covering myself in blood. I kinda enjoy it. But…
Matt: Can’t you just do that with My Chemical Romance?
James: They would probably let me! They would let me play covered in blood. They let me play in a bunny suit. (laughs) But, y’know, it was something i did. I was stoked it did as well as it did but it’s time to move on. It’s time for the next thing. It could be called Dougie and the Total Experience.
Matt: That would be funny.
James: It would be totally funny. He could be the alter ego of Reggie and the Full Effect. It would be the alter ego of me. I could have another psychotic side project.
Matt: Well you kinda had that with Fluxuation…
James: Yeah. I was supposed to do a Fluxuation full length record but it’s become a moot point because there are so many bands that sound like Fluxuation.
Paul: Yeah the joke’s been lost.
James: Seriously, synth pop…
Paul: The kids would not get the irony behind it.
James: No, not at all. The kids that were Reggie fans…I did a Fluxuation show in Australia while I was there with My Chem and I had Tucker the drummer from Thursday as my slave boy…

(at this point Matt bursts out laughing)

James:….he was dressed up in underwear with a tape round his neck and I was holding it up the whole time. And he was falling into the crowd and pouring liquor on his chest and letting the crowd lick it off. You don’t even get in trouble for that…in Australia, no way! We played in a neighbourhood where on one side of the street there are prostitutes and on the other side of the street there are prostitutes that just look like women and you have to know which side of the street you are on! However your nights roll! There are people there who were die hard Fluxuation fans and they were desperate for it.
Matt: It was billed as a Fluxuation show?
James: Yeah, yeah.
Matt: I didn’t even know you did that!
James: The promoter just asked if I would do a Reggie thing and I said I couldn’t but I could do Fluxuation as it was just my computer. We put it together and I got paid $700, got my wife some Ugg boots so it worked out kinda nice.

Paul: It was all about the stage show, right? As opposed to The Get Up Kids which was all about the music.
Matt: That was not so true early on actually…we were jumping around and shit. It was part of what we did.
James: I was the crazy keyboard player who stands on his keyboards…that cost me $12,000 in a year, I would stand on my broken keyboards and light them on fire.
Matt: If we were like that now people would be like….’old!’
James: Kids now would ask us and I’d say ‘dude, we’re like 40lbs heavier!’ I’ve slowed a little bit since then. I would like to focus more on sounding good. Matt, remember that tour in Germany?
Matt: You faked keyboards on the whole tour. You blew it. You plugged in with one keyboard and…how did you even do that?
James: I didn’t know there would be American power…that was without converters.
Matt: You blew the fuse. No-one had a regular fuse so you faked it. You pretended to play.
James: I would ask for more keyboard in my monitor. I was like ‘c’mon man…’ I was like the dude from the Bosstones who was just dancing.
Matt: Or Beau from Avail. That was 10 years ago, write after finishing the record. I have no idea why the fuck we did that tour. We missed the last Braid shows. It wasn’t even on a cycle. We just came back to Europe for no reason. We did a festival in Cologne. We went to see Hot Water Music play. We got a shitty deal.

Paul: So James, are you permanently doing My Chem now?
James: Not permanently…I’ve done it for three years now.
Paul: You did New Found Glory for a while too…
James: Yeah, but I quit them…
Paul: You quit?
James: Yeah. I love those guys. It’s just…I did that for two years and it was…that band needed a break. They were forcing themselves to stay out on the road.
Matt: It was just as we were.
James: I saw The Get Up Kids syndrome with New Found Glory! I was jumping that sinking ship (everyone laughs) They were on tour so much and the label for them was trying to get them back in the studio and they just needed a freakin’ break. They wanted to get married, they were trying to buy houses. They didn’t need a keyboard player anyways. I played on one song and because I was bored I said let’s make up parts for all the songs. I played on every song in the set.
Matt: That’s what you do for us!
James: I just followed the bassline.
Matt: It was well worth splitting it five ways instead of four.
James: Four and a half actually.
Matt: haha yeah, who said you were half a member of the band?!
James: Did you hear me complaining?
Matt: Yeah!
James: hey, it was better than Pizza Hut!

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]