Garrett Williams Interview

(Done for this website, September 1999. All copyright laws apply.) What were some of the musical influences on the Reivers? And on yourself?

Garrett: Musical influences are a hard thing to express. Most that influence you, you don’t even notice, so it’s very hard to pinpoint. Really, any music that you’ve ever heard is going to influence you in one way or another. Every member of the band would answer this question differently. In general, musical backgrounds and influences of the band were quite broad. Both Kim and Cindy had some classical training (voice and violin, respectively). I was in band and jazz band in high school. I think John was also in his high school jazz band. Individual musical influences ranged from classical to jazz to show tunes to country to Rock ‘n Roll. Myself, when I was learning to play, I was very into Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, bands with a harder edge. By the time the band got together, I was into the jangly REM-type thing going on (what a shock!). Were there any other names considered besides “Reivers” when you had to change the name?

Garrett: We had a couple of notebook pages full of names, and I really can’t remember any of them. What was your favorite Reivers gig that you remember? The worst?

Garrett: There were a lot of local gigs that I remember having a great time, so it’s hard to remember one as a favorite. On the road, I think the first time we played at Cubby Bear in Chicago stands out as one of my favorites. Right up there would also have to be at Maxwell’s in Hoboken. Worst – Playing in front of one person at the Antennae(?) in Memphis on our very first tour was kind of a drag. Rumors are that there was going to be a follow-up to Pop Beloved, and even that it was recorded. Any truth to this?

Garrett: Nope. Do you think the Reivers could/would have continued after 1991 if DB Records hadn’t folded?

Garrett: Did DB fold? DB had nothing to do with our decision. We broke up because we felt like the thing had run its course. We were having to work at it instead of just going out and having fun. Any good road stories?

Garrett: We had a Dodge Van with a standard three on the tree transmission. On a particular trip to NYC, it got towed. Something about unpaid parking tickets from a previous trip. I think around $400 worth. Paid the tickets and got it back. The next morning we were to leave for DC. We awoke to find it towed again. Seems we had not been cleared from the computer, so the driver towed us again. Once again we paid a ticket and got it from the impound. John and I are driving back from the impound to the hotel to pick everyone up and get the hell out New York. We’re on 42nd, right in front of the Port Authority, and the accelerator quits working. We coast to the side of the road. John pulls off the engine cover. On a van there is that cover that is between the driver and the passenger front seats, and you can remove it. He discovers that a little piece of metal that links the foot pedal to the mechanism on the engine that regulates that gas flow, is broken. John drives the van back to the hotel by pushing the engine mechanism with his hand. Keep in mind that this is a standard transmission. He is driving by steering, shifting, and controlling the throttle with his hands. If you’ve driven a standard, think of the coordination you have to have between engaging the clutch while giving the vehicle gas. Then consider having to transfer that function to your hands…while steering…while shifting…in NYC traffic…while breathing noxious fumes from the engine (remember, the engine cover is off). Oh yeah, it was hot, too. Once back at the hotel, we had to figure out how we were going to make it to DC. We ended up tying a small rope to the throttle. we cut a hole in the engine cover and ran the line through. We attached the other end to a drumstick. To accelerate, you pulled on the drumstick! We drove to DC that way. We found a replacement part in a junkyard the next day. I loved that van! What have you been doing musically since the breakup of the band?

Garrett: Mainly, just listening to it. And, what would be your top 10 favorite albums- your “desert island discs”?

Garrett: In no particular order…
London Calling, The Clash
Led Zeppelin III
Stardust Memories, Willie Nelson
Up On The Sun, Meat Puppets
Trace, Son Volt
Let It Be, The Replacements
Murmur, REM
How Will the Wolf Survive, Los Lobos
Darkness On the Edge of Town, Bruce Springsteen
Armed Forces, Elvis Costello