I saw The Reivers (then Zeitgeist) for the first and only time in October 1984 at an amazing Halloween bash at the Theatre Gallery in Dallas. We were totally enthralled, what a great band! I will never forget that magical night–it was an ultra cool scene. Unfortunately I was a broke art school drop out and didn’t get a chance to go down to Austin or catch up with them again, but sure wanted to.
– Tammy Guidry (July 28, 2008)
I was just browsing YouTube and found out the Reivers had had a reunion show, so I come late to all this. I saw them about 7 times over the years starting (1985?) with while they were still “Zeitgiest” at a little pub in San Antonio called “Tacoland”. I was still in college and I and my friends would drive down from San Marcos to eat Chinese food at “Hung Fong”. We were about the only ones at the bar, and were able to sit arounds and get to know the band for a while. They were fixing to start thier 1st tour. The band was very sharp and everyone (including us heheh) was dressed in black. Fast forward several years and I’m in Grad School at UTSA, as a sideline I did roadie and Lighting tech work for a band named “Innocent Bystander” in San Antonio. Often we would also do the lights and sound for other bands we were friends with like the “Bleeding Mummies” from Austin. The Reivers played on St. Mary’s strip at a club called “Wacky’s” several times and I always tried to be there. The club was usually packed wall to wall. On one occasion we were covering them on lights and sound. There was this drunk guy standing on top of a little round table next to the stage blocking the view from behind on the right side. He was totally oblivious to the people yelling at him from behind. He was yelling “Reev-ers Ree- vers” over and over. I was trying to watch Cindy on Bass who this guy was mostly blocking, and I noticed she was kind of “signaling” with the neck of her Bass towards this guy, and then pointing the neck towards the large “Mosh pit” in the center. I swear that she then mouthed the words “Get rid of him”. Being the obiediant soul that I was I observed that the table the guy was standing on was pretty unstable as it was and it was remarkable that he was able to stand on it at all as drunk as he was. I moved from the lights to the right of the little table and with a very little pressure was able to send “Ree-vers Ree-vers…. TIMBERRR. ..he fell smooth in the middle of the “Mosh pit” which instantly swallowed him up whole and I never saw him again. I turned and saw Cindy with the most evil laugh I ever saw her do. I didnt have a chance to ask her about that and didnt see her again for over a year. When I finally did have a chance to ask her about the event she reflected quietly and then told me she felt empowered by it, but that it was a perfect case of “absolute power
corrupting absolutly”. In any case I hope the guy survived and it was a very comic moment for all involved! 🙂
-shadow1773 (July 7, 2008)
my first zeitgeist song was “blue eyes”, on a db records compilation called “jericho go”. i think! that was in ’86. then i found the 7″ single “electra”,and realised that this band were real good!
i used to travel down to london to buy records, from my hometown of ipswich, in the county of suffolk, and in ’87 i managed to pick up a copy of “translate slowly”. i wasnt disappointed. i didnt expect to find anything else, so i was elated when, in the virgin megastore in londons oxford street, i picked up a copy of “saturday” by the reivers. i was looking for lps by rem at the time! i loved this lp, and hoped that the band would play some gigs in england. but alas,they never did. to my knowledge.
eventually i got the 3rd lp, which i thougt was better than the last one, and it wasnt until ’92, whilst visiting friends in brisbane, australia, that i heard the last album. they copied it onto a cassette! my mission, when i returned home, was to find “pop
beloved” on cd. but i never did.
the story ends, now in ’08, with me transferring all my vinyl onto cd/mp3, so i can now play these fine tunes all over the place! including our radio/internet show, every thursday 11.30 till 1pm on www.icrfm.co.uk.
-Mark Scott (May 27, 2008)
In 1986 I was living in Kansas City but anxious to make a move to another, more interesting, place. My choice was constrained by the profession for which I was trained, Water Resources Engineering, so it was pure serendipity when I received a job offer in Austin… for I had just read an article in Rolling Stone Magazine singing the praises of a college rock outfit called Zeitgeist. My first priority on arrival was seeing the band live, and this happened at the Continental Club, the “old version” of the club where the monstrous pool table sat right in front of the stage. I remember maneuvering continuously about that pool table trying to find the best spot from which to absorb the spectacle I was seeing and hearing. It’s an understatement to say I was blown away. The bold audacity… to play that loud yet remain that calm!
I saw Zeitgeist/The Reivers maybe a dozen times over their short career, never tiring of nasally John and angelic Kim’s intriguing vocal
interplay, the jangly guitar lines, and the elliptical “why rhyme” songwriting. Shortly before “Saturday” was released, I was in a rental
car line at Mueller Airport and got to talking with a chap who had just flown in. It turned out he was a Capitol Records representative in town to deliver The Reivers first advance. He even opened the envelope and showed me the check!
A couple of years later, the record release for “End of the Day” was held in the parking lot of the old Waterloo Records on South Lamar. It was about 30 degrees that day, yet John sported nothing but his usual one-size too small short-sleeved shirt. The “single” off the record was “It’s About Time” and begins with John uttering “Well I” a cappella before the guitars join in. From his perch high on that raised stage, into the cold clean air, I can still hear that two-word vocal to this day.
The last Reivers show I saw was at, of all places, Pearl’s Oyster Bar on Research & Burnet shortly after “Pop Beloved” came out. I can’t remember if they had announced it was their swan song or not. If they had, I must have thought “what a shame.” If they hadn’t, well, I thought they sounded as tight as ever and material this good was bound to really launch them.
It’s my everlasting regret that we live in a society and under a system which exalts the latest nausea-inducing American Idol runner-up, but starves those like The Reivers. With nods to Willie and Stevie Ray, for my money the Reivers are Austin’s best act ever, and I miss them.
-Stu Wilson (Jan. 10, 2008)
Wow, can’t believe its been almost 23 years since I first heard the first notes of Zeitgeist. The first show I remember seeing them at wasn’t really a show but a house party on Avenue G in Hyde Park off 45th st. It was a hot summer 1983or 84 night and the music filled the air as I rode my bike by looking for some fun. I can’t remember if Kelly was playing bass or Cindy….I think it was like the first show with Cindy Toth…we had become friends earlier when she played violin with another more jazz funk quintet and they would walk across Airport to the convenience store I worked at to buy beer. I used to almost always have my camera with me and in 1984 I began working with John Croslin at the Half Price Books on Burnett Rd. He hooked me up with Michael Hall and together we got the first article published about Zeitgeist (he wrote the article and I provided the pix) in some short lived Dallas rag at the time I think named the Press, it was the first time I got published and PAID for my photos. The only other notariety I got for my photos was a few years later as I did the album cover photos for Randy “Biscuit” Turners then new band CARGO CULT. Anyway back on track….In 1985, I left UT and went to Minneapolis to go to school for a year. I remember Zeigeist was headlining at this little club in the basement of Prince’s First Avenue. Its the same place that the Butthole Surfers had played about a month before. Opening for Zeitgeist that night was a guy named MOJO NIXON and Cindy and I thought he was the funniest drunkest fool we had seen in some time. They went on to be pretty good friends on that tour, any way that what I always figured as it wasn’t long before Mojo moved to Austin. I also remember telling John the bad news that night in Mpls, that there was another band named Zeitgeist and they already had an album out. He frowned and said he had heard rumors. By time I got back home to Austin the first album was out and I remember going to Waterloo for the record release party, after I signed Cindy’s cast (broken leg) she signed my album. (That album has since been stolen twice by bad roomates and recovered each time….I track this precioius thing down!) But alas 4 years ago I had to move back to Houston from Austin…..While packing the truck and making trips to storage room all of my CD’s were stolen, more than 300, fifteen years of music, some irreplacable like my brother’s Dead Horse albums, or some of Poi Dog’s limited editions, or like 13 years of KLBJ LOCAL LICKS LIVE by LORIS LOWE. The Reivers were on more than one of those cd’s if I’m not mistaken. I felt like I had been raped. I was such a part of the 80’s and early 90’s Austin music scene and after losing so much music, I felt like a part of me died. Now it’s a perfect time for a Reivers Reunion! I’m so excited to find out before hand so that I can be there. I miss Austin very much……and I miss running into my old friends Cindy Toth and John Croslin. I can’t wait to see you, hear you, and hug you.
-Lorrie Price (Jan. 10, 2008)
[The following is from Kelly Bell, original bassist for Zeitgeist, who later went on to form Go Dog Go and The Shivers] :
I was introduced to John by his then-girlfriend Lucinda Scott (herself a musician) in early June of 1983, backstage at a show at Club Foot. John was forming a band and needed a bassist. We had our first rehearsal in the lobby of the State Theater very shortly thereafter. John already had lined up Kim and Joey Shuffield (later of Big Car and Fastball, and who had previously played in another band with John called The Make, from Dallas), so we were ready to go. Joey quit while still in rehearsals and was replaced by Garrett. We played our first show with our rehearsal-space-mates The Dharma Bums within a few weeks thereafter at a club on S. Congress (I’m drawing a blank on the club name, but they used to host, and had started, the annual Spam-O-Rama event for which it was locally famous). The two bands were each other’s enthusiastic audience, but it was a blast. I was 17 years old, having just graduated form high school, and was about to begin my first semester at UT, where all three other bandmates also attended. I played all the early shows with them at places like The Beach, The Continental Club, and various other bars around town, including an opening slot for Love Tractor, which garnered early industry interest in the form of Russell Carter Management (Atlanta, GA – the dBs, Indigo Girls, Love Tractor, etc.). We parted ways due to personal differences between John and myself in spring, 1984. We had, at that time, already gained a lot of local fans and interest from the local music press. The entire set were recorded during practice before we parted ways, (I assume with the intention of teaching my parts to Cindy, though whether that happened or not of course I can’t be sure). I can attest to the fact that in their first show with Cindy (Continental Club, but I don’t remember the date, sorry), the bass parts in all the songs were identical to mine, with one exception, the bass part of the verse sections of “Things Don’t Change” was played by me on the D and G strings low down the neck (on the second and third frets), and Cindy played it on the E and A strings high up the neck (not a musical-note difference, but a tonal choice which had been suggested by John but which I had elected not to follow, opting for the better tone and attack afforded by using the placement closer to the nut. I also used a pick – on that song only – and Cindy used her fingers. Again, a difference in tonal choices).
After living in Mpls, Portland, San Fransisco and New York I moved back to Austin in 2002. Kim’s eldest son, Max McDermott (with Joe McDermott, legendary children’s songwriter and performer, producer and ex-leader of Grains of Faith, with whom we played many a show), and my eldest, Gryphon Graham, went to school together at McCallum for a year, and sort of run in adjacent circles, which is no end of amusing to Kim and myself. Gryphon is an excellent musician (multi-instrumentalist), songwriter and recording engineer and producer (Tran Tram, Hey La La!, Yatsuzaki, Golden Triangles, Kosovo, etc.) – I think he passed me up in most ways at about 16 – and has a remix recently featured in Pitchfork, as well as an article in The Chronicle written by Margaret Moser (“These Kids Have Come for Your Gigs”). Max is an artist and filmmaker. He’s an awesome kid – really talented. Max is slightly older than Gryphon – Kim was the first of our circle to get knocked up <grin> and Gryphon just turned 20, so I bet Max is 20 or maybe just turned 21.
Since moving back to Austin I played briefly with Michael Dubose (with Gryphon on lead guitar) and recorded and performed with Spilltoy and with my son in his self-titled band, but have been mostly recording and writing new material for a project (I’m calling it Lotus Solus for now). Music is more than a vocation, hobby or pasttime. It is a way of living, one which never leaves us, as long as we don’t leave it. My kids were raised for many years on the road touring with my band, and while it’s not usual, they’ve always treasured that time (as have I), and it’s influenced their lives and points-of-view tremendously, in really positive ways. If I had it to do over, I wouldn’t change a thing.
-Kelly Bell (Jan. 5, 2008)