Reid ready to rock


It’s a homecoming of sorts this week for The Feelers frontman James Reid.

The accomplished Kiwi band – who play Queenstown’s Loco Cantina tomorrow night – are known for their Christchurch roots.

But, in fact, Reid’s father John was the original developer of Kelvin Heights – with no idea it was destined to become the country’s first million-dollar subdivision.

Reid junior recalls: “We spent a lot of time in Queenstown.

“We’d go down there skiing every year.”

He’s still got friends and family in the resort and says he tries to get down here from Auckland as much as he can.

But back to the music.

The Feelers’ last album was Hope Nature Forgives in 2011 and two years ago Reid released solo album Saint.

“Since then I’ve been working on two records – one for The Feelers and a follow-up to Saint,” he tells Mountain Scene.

The band’s been road-testing five new songs which Reid says have been well-received.

He describes the show as a “massive cross-section of everything” taking in the band’s five albums.

“It’s a decent-sized show – it’s about two hours or so.”

Reid and drummer Hamish Gee started the band in 1992 and their formidable back catalogue stretches back to their 1998 debut Supersystem.

They’ve sold more than a quarter of a million albums and boast seven number one singles.

The band – filled out by guitarist Andy Lynch and bassist Clint Harris, of OpShop fame – hung out regularly before the tour to polish their new material.

So where are they taking their music now?

“Back to its roots, I guess,” Reid muses.

“Punk rock, I guess; rock – getting in there and thrashing it out.”

Anything that doesn’t work he can syphon off for his “James Reid” project – which he describes as more “mellow” and “country”.

Reid writes prolifically. He always carries a journal and keeps an acoustic guitar handy.

The Feelers albums have no fillers, he declares.

Fifty songs were written for Hope Nature Forgives but only 13 made the cut – including the cover of Jesus Jones’ Right Here, Right Now that featured in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Reid doesn’t give much away. He’s non-committal about when his next album will be released – with the band or solo – and is even reluctant to name any new songs.

Without the prospect of studio time, what does the rest of the year hold?

Lots of touring, Reid says.

“We’re trying to organise Australia and get back over to the UK as well and a bit of Europe.

“We’re also planning a re-release of Supersystem.”

The Feelers play Loco Cantina tomorrow, 8pm, tickets $35