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A Dirty Dozen with IKE REILLY – October 2021

| 20 October 2021 | Reply

Phot credit: Grant Herbek

According to a recent press release: “Libertyville, IL-based genre-bending singer-songwriter Ike Reilly is releasing his eighth studio album, Because the Angels, today (October 15, 2021), via Nashville-based label Rock Ridge Music. Recorded at Reilly’s own Diamond City Studio in Libertyville, Illinois and Fat Studio in Grayslake, Illinois, the album was produced by Reilly and Phil Karnats (Secret Machines, Polyphonic Spree) and was mixed in New York City by Mario McNulty (David Bowie, Prince, Julian Lennon). Since his explosive major label debut, Salesmen and Racists, Reilly has been creating rebellious punk/folk/country/blues-influenced rock ’n’ roll records that are poetic and cinematic. Critical praise for his work has been plentiful, and he has garnered a wildly loyal fan base — from faithful fans in the dirty bars and rock clubs in the middle of nowhere to legendary authors. Reilly’s songs have a unique universality that affects people. Author Stephen King wrote that Reilly’s travel band saga, “Boltcutter,” was “the best new song to come out of the Trump era.”  The New York Times called Reilly’s longtime band, The Assassination, one of the best live bands in America.” We get Ike to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

It’s an American record celebrating the new patriotism that’s sweeping the country. The nuggets in this material are not hidden — they stand out like raisins on rice.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I fell into it — I never thought about being a musician until I was one and found myself stuck with not being able to do anything else, no other skills. There are so many guitar players and singer-songwriters that I’m not sure it can even be called a skill. Hell, I’m told 10,000 songs a day get tossed up into the ether.  I never really realized I wanted to be a musician; I just was one and then I had to figure out how to get paid as the value for songs sunk lower and lower.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

My musical taste is driven only by authenticity — singular voices in any genre, unique lyrical viewpoints, original sonic approaches, and authentic and honest voices.  The honesty I’m talking about here isn’t real truth — I mean that whatever is being said, sung, or conveyed seems believable given its source. I find truth in a record called Rum, Sodomy & The Lash by the band The Pogues.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Peggy Lee. I love the darkness of her voice and songs. I would like to write one for her. I’m afraid she might be gone, though?

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

I don’t like to unwind. I like to stay wound up. I run a lot, and I stagger too. When I’m not on the road I like to find ways to get back on the road. I kill time in forest preserves and public libraries, and I volunteer at a bowling alley helping to train young pinsetters.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

The music we make is modern-popular using electric instruments from the 20th century.  After a show one night, a fan told me that we sounded like shit — I guess that’s a comparison? Yeah, we got compared to shit and that made me cringe. The same fan had a song lyric of mine tattooed on their back. That made me cringe, too.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Nobody ever cooks, and we all pitch in with the drinking. I crack out the guitar, and I hand it to Phil who hands it to Dave who sets it on his lap upside down and beats on it as we lean hard into our a cappella catalog.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

I was at a truck stop and I saw Carrot Top, the comedian.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part of being a musician is getting to hear your own voice over and over and over. If I had to choose a dream job it would be a crane operator.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I always wanted an interviewer to ask me, “Were you afraid when you risked your own well-being, your own life for the sake of the community?” I’m tired of being asked “When are you going to stop drinking?”

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I wish I had a do-over at a club in St. Joe’s, Missouri called The Bone? Yes, the name of that club inexplicably had a question mark attached to it on all the signage and printed material. That strange punctuation on the sign out front really got into my head — it threw me for a loop — and I took to drinking earlier than I had scheduled. My inebriation that evening set off a series of events that has yet to come to a halt.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle working in Capitol Studio A or Eminem and Dr. Dre making that Batman and Robin song. Sinatra is inspirational because of his pure talent as a song stylist and as an arranger, and Dre and Marshall in those costumes with those beats and rapid-fire-nursery-rhyme lyrical delivery really sends me.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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