It’s a familiar story—local band on the verge of going big time that never quite gets to that next level. Most versions end with the members going different ways, often down avenues that have little to do with music.
Columbia, South Carolina band Closer had its hand outstretched for that brass ring of success for a decade, in one form or another, but years of good reviews and crisp modern rock recordings couldn’t bridge those last few inches that might have made the difference. This month, Closer’s lead singer and principal songwriter David Reed begins a new career as a solo artist under the moniker The Private Life of David Reed with his new album Missteps & Miscommunications, released on indie label Chamberlain Records.
“My connection with Chamberlain was through Tomas Costanza, who produced Closer’s last album and my new album and is now A&R for Chamberlain,” Reed says. “They are small but supportive, and they told me up front that they are in for the long haul. They know that I am starting over, but they believe in me and they believe that with hard work we will be in a fantastic position down the road.” With a new label and a new album, Reed is starting over in more than one way, but he says it was something that he and the other members of Closer realized was the right thing to do.
“We always took it very seriously but were never able to gain momentum and ultimately that came to a head after we released our last CD,” Reed says of going the solo route. “It was basically a mutual decision. Our bass player, David Baker, wanted to get more involved in producing bands and my brother, Nathan Reed, wanted to get more into the behind-the- scenes aspect with helping Baker find bands. For me, I wanted to expand creatively.”
It was that creative stagnation that fueled Reed’s decision and made it a smooth transition, he says.
“Closer was always very formula oriented when it came to writing songs and I was ready for something a little more,” Reed says. “I still love the journey of writing a great pop song, but I wanted more freedom. In the end, it was an easy decision. We all are still close and Baker actually designed my artwork for the new album.”
On songs like “27” Reed can be heard actively exploring his new lack of boundaries. While the sound isn’t tremendously different than Closer’s powerful alt-rock, it does travel a much wider sonic palette, allowing him to paint with a broad brush while taking the time to fill in all the minute details. Ask Reed what the biggest difference between being a solo act and being in a band is, and the answer is quick and specific.
“The freedom,” Reed claims. “I always knew after I wrote the basis of a song that it was going to change–lyrically and musically. Now, there’s more finality to it. My producer could still rip it apart, but that would happen anyway.”
There are songs on the new album that would have easily fit on a Closer set, and indeed they were in the band’s live sets near the end of their run. “A Week and Seven Days” is a good example, with a driving, hard-edged sound that’s destined to make it a live favorite for Reed’s solo shows as well.
Reed has always been an internal songwriter, going for the kind of emotional exposure that makes great songs but sometimes gets lost in all the rock. With the instrumental latitude that comes with his newfound artistic freedom, Reed’s words are now as exposed as his emotions. “Misery Loves Company,” is perhaps the most non-rock song on the album, a departure that Reed says is one of his own personal favorites.
That song is so different from anything I have ever done,” Reed says. “It is not a rock song. Lyrically, it deals directly with being across the country and being in a relationship at the same time.” If Reed’s track record as a writer is any indication, chances are pretty good that he’s singing about subjects close to his own heart.
“Most of my music is personal in some way,” Reed admits. ”It doesn’t necessarily have to be an exact situation of mine, but there is a personal connection to most of it. Lyrically is where I spend hours for the perfect words–I admire people like Anthony Green of Circa Survive and Damien Rice, who say things in original ways; they inspire me to be better.”
I know you’re wondering the same thing I was when I first heard of Reed’s new musical beginning–Why the “Private Life Of David Reed” name instead of just being David Reed?
“As Closer came to an end, my producer actually came to me with the idea,” Reed explains. “As we were discussing signing to the label ,he came up with it–I loved it. It was different, and I think people can connect to it. With every song I open myself up a little bit, so I think it fits perfectly with me as an artist.”
David Reed will be hosting a CD release party at Locals in Columbia on Tuesday night, Spetember 2nd, at 9 pm. For more dates and to hear some songs from the new CD, check out his Myspace page via the link below.