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Part 2: James DeWees just wants to have fun

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2

Here is the second part of the interview with James DeWees of Reggie and the Full Effect...

Prefix Magazine:
Last time when you came around, Ultimate Fake Book was your back-up band.

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
Yeah, they were the back-up band and they were also on the tour.

 

PM:
How did that go?

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
It was awesome. Actually, I just saw those guys at Crazy Fest. They were playing the same day Reggie did. We hung out and they slept in my hotel room. [Laughs.]

 

PM:
So when you're on tour, does crazy stuff happen?

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
Not as crazy as people think. We pretty much get all the crazy out when we're on stage. I mean, there's still crazy stuff. Like this band A Static Lullaby was just with us. They and half of the Full Effect all bought these plastic pellet-shooting guns that looked totally fucking real and they would just have wars with each other as soon as we would load into the club. We would hide behind the gears out on the floor, hide behind shit on the stage. They would hide behind their girlfriends and stuff, and whoa, it hurts if you get hit with them. And they'd attack each other, and just run on the bus and start shooting at each other.

 

I was an innocent bystander and I got hit at least 10 times. Ryan got a big welt on his back and Corey had one on his face, and ... let's see. Um, I met some guy that said to me, "You sounded like Elvis." He was from New Orleans. And he was like, "Hey man, I reckon, uh, you could make it big!" It was just weird, because I had no idea who the hell this guy was, he was just following me around at the truck stop. Hmm, I don't know ... I always go to costume stores and wig shops and stuff like that when I'm on tour now. Instead of going record shopping, now I'm costume shopping. There are some pretty interesting people at those places, especially when you go to the S&M stores.

 

PM:
What about all the drunk people at Get Up Kids shows?

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
Oh, you know! There are always drunk people at every show. When we were at Crazy Fest, if you ever notice -- the next time you're at an outdoor festival they'll be some dude who's there at like noon, who's really old, probably like 20 or 30 years older than anybody else there, and he's wasted at like noon. And he'll be dancing around, rocking out to the band, drinking and starting a pit or something. He's usually with his shirt off, and by the end of the day, you'll see the same guy passed out at the very back of the place with his friends. I mean, it could be somebody's dad, who knows. And when we were at Crazy Fest I looked for him all day and at like five o'clock, I found him. Keith from Midtown and I were totally following him around to see what he was doing.

 

PM:
Are you good friends with Midtown?

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
Yeah, the Midtown guys are so much fun. We've known them for a long time through Get Up Kids and stuff. This tour is more like a vacation for everybody because it's not very much work. Everybody is such good friends, so any night we can, we just all hang out together. The guys in Midtown, they're all just super nice. Keith, the guitar player, is amazing. The guy tunes every guitar, changes all the strings and is so on top of his game. And then their tour manager, he's on top of it too. It's just really weird, a lot of people figure there isn't any work to be done when you're on tour, but man, there's tons of work to be done. Every single day there's shit loads of work, and those guys are just way on top of it. We're kind of on top of it, but we've got six people in the band and we get like a four-member band's work done with six people in a day. But we're getting there.

 

PM:
Yeah, and you've got a keyboardist with a nice butt.

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
Ha, that's her excuse from work though! [Laughs.]

 

PM:
Where did you get the idea for the video for "Congratulations Smack and Katy" [where a jar of peanut butter and jelly are star-crossed lovers]?

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
I don't know. I was just kind of driving in my car and came up with it. I obviously didn't really write the love story. [Laughs.] I just felt like, What if a big peanut butter fell in love with a big jelly and her parents were two pieces of bread? Then I called up the people at Vagrant who do videos and they thought it was hilarious. They helped me out a lot because I didn't have a lot of money to make it, so we made it really cheap. I think they did a great job.

 

PM:
Are you going to do another video?

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
We were going to do one with pizza deliveries because all the people back home have been pizza delivery boys at one time or another. Some of them still are now. I don't know if we're going to have time to make one, but I hope we do. That'd be awesome if they let me do another one. It seems like the first one did OK. As far as ideas for videos, I think since it's "multimedia," you should be able to take a song and add a completely different story into it. I'm not really into showcasing myself, and I don't really like watching myself, so I'd rather use other people instead of me. And if I can make up imaginary characters to do a video, then hell yeah.

 

PM:
How's the new Get Up Kids record coming along?

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
It's almost done. It's really, really close. We got like 20 songs done. It's like a combination of all three records before it. We did our experimental record [2002's On a Wire]. We've proven to ourselves now that we can write more than just stupid pop songs. But stupid pop songs can be some of the best songs. But this new one's kind of like some faster rock stuff, some slower heavy stuff. They let me do a lot more work on the keyboards on this record. I wrote a bunch of string parts on this one. That's what I went to college for, so it's about time I use my education. [Laughs.]

 

PM:
You majored in music at a school in Missouri?

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
Yeah, I went to University of Missouri Conservatory.

 

[To wife] Yeah, well, maybe. I got it a goth store. It's neat though, isn't it?

 

I'm sorry, what was that? My wife is seeing some of the costumes for the first time because we had a bunch of them get stolen in Dallas.

 

PM:
How did that happen?

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
Well, there wasn't a backstage at this theater so we lined up all the costumes because we have changes. So we have to run off stage, change clothes, run back on stage really fast. So they were laid out in the back and they stole all my Common Denominator stuff, my Fluxuation stuff, they even stole the tube makeup. But then they left one wig. They left it like it was a clue, like "find me!" It was so bizarre. So the next day we had to go out and buy all new stuff. But it was amazing. I went to this store in Austin and they had the exact same Fluxuation costume that I was wearing.

 

PM:
Maybe they stole it and sold it back to you.

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
[Laughs.] Nah, they had like eight of them. Yeah, it was great though. I was like wow, that's fantastic!

 

PM:
That sucks that you lost your stuff but at least you got to go shopping.

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
Oh yeah. I love going shopping. Especially when I go to costume stores. Like I went to the costume store today here and my wife's like, "You've been gone for three hours." And I'm like, "But honey, they had so much cool stuff."

 

PM:
So what do you do for Halloween if you guys dress up all the time?

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
Oh, Halloween, we go off even worse.

 

PM:
What did you do last Halloween?

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
Last Halloween I wanted to go as a lobster, and I ordered this giant lobster costume. But then the day before Halloween, they sent me an e-mail that said it was on backorder. Like how many fucking people order lobster costumes? They probably didn't have it. They probably didn't think anybody was going to ever order it. And then I did. I paid for it and everything, so they had to mail me my money back and stuff. It was like three hundred and fifty bucks.

 

PM:
That sucks.

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
Yeah, it was a badass elaborate lobster costume too. So I boycotted Halloween last year. I didn't go as anything.

 

PM:
So with all the touring, when is the Get Up Kids album going to come out?

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
The Get Up Kids record comes out in February. And [Vagrant's] re-releasing the Greatest Hits 1984-1987, the first Reggie record. That'll be out in December.

 

PM:
Would you ever think about signing to a major label?

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
I'm happy being solely a Vagrant artist and being solely independent with myself. It's the way I've always done it. The more people that get involved the less creative I think it gets. Because a lot of times, a lot of those people don't really think the same way that I do. So when they start coming up with creative ideas, I don't want to be a dick, but some stuff isn't funny to me. It's just not. Like, "What if peanut butter wears the red funny hat?" I don't need the peanut butter to wear a red funny hat! How about the lid of the jar? That's a hat in itself. What about the top of his head? Why are we talking about this?

 

Everything I do for Reggie I've managed to do for a bargain cost. Because basically all the label does is they give you money and then you have to pay it back. So the label's more like a bank. If they give you $5,000 to record a record, you have pay back $5,000 to them before you can make any money. I hate owing people money. I owe credit cards. Actually, right before you called, a credit card company that I owe some money to just called me. I thought maybe it was you, so I answered and she was like "James?" and I was like "Yeah?" And she was like "Hi! I'm calling about your Capital One accoun" and I was like, "Oh fuck. Damnit, you're not from the magazine!" I was like, "I promise I'll call you back," and she was like "No you won't" and I was like "Yes I will!" But no I won't. I have to go to Red Lobster, lady! You don't understand!

 

PM:
So I guess you're not making the big bucks from Reggie and the Get Up Kids.

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
Yeah, it's so funny, because people assume that we're really loaded. When you're independent and the IRS gets involved, you have to really start paying your taxes. That's the thing that sucks about being a musician is that your taxes can bite you in the butt unless you save every receipt possible. And I'm not good at saving anything so I get bit in the ass more. [Laughs.]

 

PM:
Save that Red Lobster receipt tonight and say that you had dinner with a music journalist.

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
Yeah! I could save the receipt and say it was a business dinner.

 

PM:
I'll vouch for you.

 

Reggie and the Full Effect: Part 2:
But I feel cheesy saying I was at Red Lobster. Like, "Oh why'd you go to Red Lobster to have a business dinner? That's not a very business dinner environment." But it's like, yeah it is! Anywhere is a business dinner environment as long as you get a booth! [Laughs.]

 

Reggie and the Full Effect - James DeWees just wants to have fun Greg Dulli St. Gregory returns as the 'Belle' of the ball
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