Music interview – Dan Reed Network: ‘It’s our goal to celebrate life with melody and passion’

Dan Reed Network. Picture: Adrian Hextall
Dan Reed Network. Picture: Adrian Hextall
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Funk rock band Dan Reed Network are special guests of Extreme on their winter UK tour. Ahead of the band’s show at O2 Academy Leeds singer Dan Reed spoke to the YEP.

You seem to have a busy year, lots of gigs and new music coming out. Are you getting break over the festive period? Will you get to be family Santa? What are your plans?

Being the father of a five-year-old son I make a point of making sure I am always home as much as possible and not be gone on the road for too long, and holidays are a must, so yes, this Christmas I will be there with bells on! However, because I’m on the road until December 21 this year it will be a mad rush to get gifts wrapped... And Santa isn’t as big of a tradition in Czech Republic where we live so no white beard this year!

You’re doing this tour with Extreme – how long have you known them for? What’s it like working with them?

I met the guys in the early 90s and had the pleasure to work with Nuno in the studio at that time doing a remake of a couple DRN songs ‘Long Way to Go’ and ‘Get to You’. My fondest memories of that time was witnessing Nuno just jamming on the guitar and being quite simply amazed at what a talent he was then and still is. He is one the best guitarists in the business... I rank him right up there with Prince, who in my opinion is one the greats as well on the guitar. True legends on the six string!

You played a really well received gig in Wakefield at the start of the year, and then you had a more intimate solo outing to Guiseley, playing at the theatre there. You should apply for a Yorkshire passport! What can we expect from your O2 gig with Extreme?

Dan Reed Network. Picture: Amanda Rose Medder

Dan Reed Network. Picture: Amanda Rose Medder

I enjoyed both of those shows immensely, and not a bad idea to move to the area. Like many Americans, I’ve always had the dream to live in a small cottage in the English countryside! I believe DRN opening for Extreme is going to be a full on bombastic soul funk experience that will alleviate everyone’s troubles for the evening! In these crazy times when we as a human race are divided on so many issues it’s always our goal to forget the noise and to celebrate this life with melody and passion, something I believe Extreme does so well in their shows too... So I think it’s going to be the perfect way to end 2017!

You seem to be a bit of a stranger to a set list these days. What do the rest of the guys in the band think to that? Are you just keeping them on their toes?

That’s funny because we were just talking about that as a band last evening Lisbon for our first show of the tour! Flying in new songs out of now there is a bit more challenging for a band than it is for me solo, but they guys are always up for giving it a shot. Sometimes I think the best moments in our shows is when we are trying to remember a song that’s been requested... Comedy usually ensues.

The quality and availability of new bits of music equipment improve by the month. How do find keeping up with all the new stuff there is available to make music with? Do you ever yearn for the days of plugging a guitar into an amp and just getting on with it?

I never stopped writing the old school way and find it’s the best way to get to the essence and intention of what I’m trying to say with a song. The new tech toys we bring in later when tracking for the final album, but they are tools to use to enhance the song, not as devices to find creativity so much. Composing on the piano or acoustic guitar is still my favourite way to write. I have friends who are gear heads who tout new pieces of software or hardware... But I would rather work with them and their expertise instead of me having to drive myself insane trying to keep up with most of those new inventions.

The Network are a really talented group of musicians and you seem to have a ball on stage together. What’s the secret?

Friendship and respect for each other’s talents. It all starts there. If you have that in a band then the sky’s the limit to what kind of energy you can create on stage and in the studio.

You’re living in Prague now – what do you think of the music scene in the Czech Republic?

To be honest I don’t get to check out much of the scene in Prague because I am on the road every weekend for 11 months out of the year. And when I am home during the week sometimes the last thing I want to do is go out clubbing, although I have a few friends that I adore musically who are expats from the west but it’s not Czech music. Recently I have done two music videos for my solo work with a Czech director who is also an amazing musician who has a band called Stroya and they may currently be my favorite rock band... You should keep an eye out for them!

Are there any artists we should be looking out for?

Stroya :)

Dan Reed Network and Extreme play at O2 Academy Leeds on Saturday December 16. www.danreed-network.com

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