I started listening to the Reivers after they came out with Translate Slowly; I think I have an original album with Zeitgeist on the label. I remember the John’s haunting, intoxicating guitar riffs, the lyrics that often made no sense, Kim’s voice, the organizing sounds of Mr. William’s drums, and the overall sound of the band. I was struck by how well all the sounds went together.
I first saw the band at the Cabaret Metro Club in Chicago about 1986 or 1987; I was blown away by their sound. I remember making a sign asking Kim to marry me, but her yelling (during the show!) that she was married (OK, kind of dumb, but I was a dumb kid at the time!). I also remember briefly talking with Cindy and thinking about how cute she was!
I remember rushing to the store whenever I heard that a new album was out. The Reivers got some airtime in Chicago on WXRT, but usually late at night (I was often up studying, so I was able to hear them). I had every album as soon as it came out. I even got an album that contained various artist performing Bruce Springstein songs; the Reivers covered Atlantic City.
I next and last saw them at the Cubby Bear Club in Chicago a year or so later. I remember they were in concert with a band called the Slugs (from Chicago) and for some reason they billed the concert as a “Tearful Reunion”; I just remember it as one of the best concerts I have ever seen.
It has been a little while since I have listened to that precious old gold that I know as Reivers music; writing this inspires me to dust off the old Albums and CD’s. I hope that, if the Reivers ever do reunite, that I am able to be there for the show. It would be worth traveling for it. Heck, I would pay for it if I was rich!
If any of the Reivers are reading this, know that you have been, and are still one of my favorite bands, and I think an undiscovered American musical treasure.
– Steve Spontak (Dec. 9, 2004)
Hey, thought I’d share a memory of the band from 1987 or 88. My band, called A. Plot, opened for them at a place called O.T. Price’s Music Hall in Santa Cruz, CA. I don’t think the place exists anymore. We were a good local band starting to create a buzz in the early days of Camper Van Beethoven (also from Santa Cruz) and the like, though we were nothing like Camper.
I remember being blown away by Kim’s voice, and to this day I have not heard another like it. (Well, I did hear a female voice that sounded very much like her on a children’s tape several years ago – could it have been her?) I was also impressed with John’s song-craft, general performance, and the tone of his Tele. I thought Cindy was cute as could be and loved her “look” – with her hair hanging down in her face as she played. I slyly tried to hook up with her (on a strictly bass player to bass player basis, of course) after the show, but she didn’t go for it!
We chatted with the entire band for quite a while after their set and I came away impressed in general and wanting to buy their material (I remember Cindy bubbling over as she told me “We’re on Capitol!”) and ended up with Saturday and End of the Day, both of which I still spin occasionally.
Many times since then, as I’ve worked on a musical project, I’ve thought “I sure wish I could get that Kim Longacre chick from the Reivers to do the vocal on this”, but never thought of how I might contact her. Does she still make music in the Austin area? Kim! Tell me you’re still singing!
If you guys happen to read this – my long overdue thanks from an old opening act from long ago – I never forgot you!
– Matt Lewis (Aug. 22, 2004)
I saw The Reivers two nights in a row at the Lounge Ax in Chicago…the place Jeff Tweedy’s wife owned and managed. It was 1991 I think. I went because a friend in New York told me the The Reivers were
great. The only song I had ever heard them do was “Atlantic City” on a Bruce Springsteen cover album called “Cover Me.” I immediately loved their music. I remember just digging the hell out of the show and in particular I remember the songs “Secretariat” and “Hill Country Theme” (the instrumental). I remember Kim and Cindy just really having fun with these synchronized guitar moves during Secretariat. After the show the band was out mingling in the audience and I Had Kim sign my Reivers shirt. A few years ago I found a used copy of Translate Slowly at a record store and used “Hill Country Theme” in a power
point presentation I did for work. I’ve seen the greatest show on earth (Bruce Springsteen) about 14 times, but my memories of those Reivers show are as vivid as any concert I’ve ever seen. Thanks to The Reivers for their music and their shows. How about a “Reunion Tour” just for the hell of it!
-Tom Carlton (July 18, 2004)
The first time I saw this band it was winter, about ’84 or ’85 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.I went with my
neighbor from my little gravel and rainwater neighborhood of shacks filled with starving students
to watch his “performance art” band, Bridge Troll, play with Zeitgeist at a little tiny place called
JC’s, which hosted many as yet unheard of indie bands that grew up to be legendary. Zeitgeist took the stage and I was struck by how relaxed and friendly they all looked. Quite in contrast to so many of the bands of the day, they had absolutely no pretense. Their music matched them perfectly – sparkling, honest, loaded with emotion, carefree, simple, and beautiful. Instantly I was in love with this band. Being far more into roots music I don’t usually appreciate pop, but these folks had all the basic elements by nature – rhythm, honesty, tone and, most of all, “the groove”. Despite a rough road trip on the long drive back from Atlanta where they lost a car and were down to riding cramped in one, they had one of the most energetic shows of the day. And they had nice shoes… all the bands from Texas had nice shoes. After the show all the roads were frozen in a big ice storm and the I-10 bridge over the Mississippi was closed so we stayed up all night at a friend’s house with the band. I now live in Texas and have nice shoes, and I still scan the horizon looking for another one of the Reivers’ show. I will never forget their smiles. Good luck to them in all that they do.
-“Starvin” Marvin (May 14, 2004)
I first saw the Reivers at Fitzgerald’s in Houston. This gig was right after “End Of The Day” had come out and I parked myself right in front of where Cindy would be playing (call me strange, but I’ve always
had a thing for female bass players and Cindy is rather cute). John was introducing their new instrumental and I yelled out “Dude Man Hey”! John laughed and pointed at me like “Cool, you know the tune”, but it was Cindy that stole my heart – she leaned over, handed me a piece of bubble gum, and talked to me for a second. Very quickly, I told her that the song reminded me of “Wendy” by the Association. She nodded her head like “We’ll see” and the band ripped into the song. During the song, she whispered to John and Kim and pointed at me. Before the song was over, all of them were grinning at me and nodding as if
to say “You’re right, it does sound like ‘Wendy'”.
I saw the band several times over the years (all of those shows were at Fitzgerald’s) and I had a few other special moments with the band: Cindy wearing my Texas Rangers cap onstage (the band signed that
hat and I’d give anything to still have it – John drew a circle under bill and labeled it “Vaseline spot”) and talking to the band after the shows from the stage. One night, a few of my friends and I summoned up the courage to walk backstage and hang out with the band. Now sneaking backstage at Fitzgerald’s was not
hard to do, but we thought the staff or (heaven forbid) the band would tell us to leave. However, and this something I will always remember, the band welcomed us backstage, offered us beer, and just talked to
us about our lives – they were genuinely the nicest bunch of people, musicians or otherwise, that one could ever meet. I was finally getting a chance to talk with Cindy (we had a mutual friend in the Austin music) and John yelled over “Hey Bruiser, you wanna beer?” The band signed my “End Of The Day” poster before we left – because John and I both share an affinity for baseball, he signed the poster “Nolan Ryan”.
Times have changed a bit since those days – I’m teaching school in a small Texas town, married, and the father to two great little girls. I still joke with my wife and tell her that if we ever hit the lottery, I’ll pay the
Reivers to regroup and play a backyard BBQ (all of you other posters are invited!). Each night, when I check on my sleeping daughters, the final lines of “End Of The Day” run through my head: “I get up
and check the kids/I get up and bar the door”.
-Kevin Boone (April 27, 2004)
Where to begin? How about the end. I lived in Austin in the early 90s and was at that final Reivers gig. A very emotional night. John had a sore throat so Kim sang the lead on “It’s All One.” Bittersweet and
transcendent. I used to see John all the time following the band’s breakup while he was working as a manager at Half Price Books on Guadalupe. Every time I saw him there it stunned me. It was like seeing
Bruce Springsteen flipping burgers at Hut’s for six bucks an hour. It took me months to get the courage to tell him how much his music meant to me; not because John was unapproachable (he was as friendly and low-key as you could imagine), but because I thought he was as great a rock god as Buddy Holly. I still do.
Pop Beloved remains one of my top ten favorite albums of all time. My wife and I played it at our wedding reception in 1992. That beautiful record captures the spirit of a place and time like no other music I
know; it’s more like a novel in that respect. I listen to that album and I can feel the languid air, taste the licoricy-cold Shiner Bock, and hear Robert Pierson and Jason Phelps laughing on my back porch,
when you could rent a shack in Hyde Park for $300 a month. Sigh. Le temps perdu, with a Queen Bee sandwich as my madeleine.
And while Pop Beloved is evocative, it is by no means a prisoner to the fashions of its day. Partly because of John’s spare arrangements and gimmick-free production (a sound that comes across as pure
and timeless — how many other early 90s albums can you say that about?). But perhaps the album holds up as well as it does because of the songwriting. This has got to be one of the great adult relationship
rock albums of our time… Right up there with GbV’s Isolation Drills and Liz Phair’s Exile In Guyville.
On that note:
My Desert Island Discs
1. Interbabe Concern (Loud Family)
2. Bee Thousand (Guided By Voices)
3. Pleased To Meet Me (The Replacements)
4. Lolita Nation (Game Theory)
5. Mercury (American Music Club)
6. Reckoning (R.E.M)
7. Regatta de Blanc (The Police)
8. Pop Beloved (The Reivers)
9. East Side Story (Squeeze)
10. Last Splash (The Breeders)
-Mark Pierson (March 3, 2004)
I too fell in love with this band in the early – mid 1980s. I would see them whenever they played in
Austin and couldn’t get enough. After I graduated, I moved back to DC and would see them at the 930 club every time they were in town. I wanted nothing more in life than to promote this band, even knowing once a band became mainstream I usually lost interest. Not with them. I lost my copies of Saturday and End of the Day to my last relationship (bastard), so you can imagine how thrilled I was to find them recently on Amazon. I restocked for myself and have bought some for friends, still having the dream of promoting them. One last note, John, I have been waiting for twenty years…it’s about time.
-Kim Barrett (Jan. 19, 2004)