In the 1990s many people had a casual relationship with Reef via TFI Friday or their cameo in an advert launching Minidisc. Others were loyal fans, notably Chris Martin who has invited the West Country band to support Coldplay at Wembley Stadium this summer. With the slots marking a new high in the band’s current revival, frontman Gary Stringer examines the ups and downs of life in a rock’n’roll band.
We’re in a dark corridor in the Cochrane theatre and the TFI theme tune starts playing. It feels like 1996. The woman in the pilot headset with the clipboard opens the door and now it’s super bright and hot. So we walk on and hand over ‘It’s Your Letters’ to Coldplay. In the green room earlier Chris Martin came over to say hello.
He came to see us play in the late 90s before Yellow broke. We talk about Point Dume and surfing in LA and West Country dress sense and the fact that he hasn’t seen us perform with our guitarist Jesse Wood (who joined in 2014) yet. This is however remedied, as we’re now supporting Coldplay at Wembley stadium on 18 and 19 June as part of their Head Full of Dreams tour.
Reef are currently riding a second wave of love that has seen us reunited with our producer George Drakoulias – who did Glow with us – both here in the UK with Live At St Ives album and in part Los Angeles, recording our take on the Clara Ward spiritual How I Got Over – It’s good gone nuts. We’ve just finished a run of 21 shows across the UK and Ireland watching people dance and smile. We can do that. We’re a rock’n’roll band.
Our single got played stacks on the radio and we have been on TV a few times, so that feels like the 90s a bit too. Although now you wouldn’t have to navigate bitter vitriol if your song was used as a soundtrack to advertise a new audio device – in our case the Minidisc. I could never see what all the fuss was about back then anyway. I mean, imagine you are signing on and the following month you get signed to a major and then are offered a trip to New York to record a TV advert. We got picked up in a limo and as we checked into our fancy hotel Christy Turlington was in the lobby. Now, if a band gets a song on the television in anyway it’s a big deal – amen.
I’ve always loved rock’n’roll and it feels like a party playing with Reef. With Jesse in the band the dynamic has changed and the energy has increased. This helps creatively.
We go back in the studio in May to record some more music and our summer is filled with festivals, so I’m ordering a diamante mankini and watching Freddie Mercury at Live Aid for tips.
Gary Stringer @mrgarystringer
For more head to Reefband.com