One person, for some of the early recordings I used to do, pointed out that I sounded like Roland Orzabal from Tears For Fears, which I thought was kinda cool. I think there's some Al Jarreau in what I do. People may not pick up on that, or maybe it's just something I think about while I'm singing. I can hear what some of the comparisons are, there's bits and pieces of it intertwined. It's the human voice, so it's inevitably going to sound like someone else's voice.

--Reggie Watts

Photo by W. Churgin

"We just really like slow, heavy stuff. Last album we did 'No Quarter,' and this album's equivalent is 'Nobody Loves You Like I Do.' We'll always be interested in that. I think all tempos are great, and if you can really play a ballad well, it's a really long-lasting piece of work that you can play anytime. Ballads are really the only kind of song you can play anytime, whereas high-energy songs have a particular time bracket."

Reggie Watts
Seattle was the birthplace of grunge rock, but there's also a genre-busting strain that surfaces in Maktub and kindred spirits Critters Buggin. When asked if there's something in the water that produces bands that recombine a lot of different elements, Watts thoughtfully offers, "One of the largest things about it is there's no music industry per se. No huge, monolithic record labels have their offices here. So when you play music, you're generally free to do what you want to do. That produces some interesting results."

"The weather is so rainy and cloudy a lot of the time that people are forced to be a little more introspective and think about things more thoroughly. As they practice in garages and grungy rehearsal spaces and it's raining outside, they're thinking about Iggy Pop and British ambient music and California ska. You end up putting these influences together because no one's telling you, 'That's not cool.' And there are a lot of great venues. There are at least 10-12 venues a new band can play in. It's a pretty small community, and people know each other and help each other out. You have the freedom and the bandwidth to do what you want without much judgment."

In addition to working on a solo follow-up to last year's '80s-tastic Simplified, Watts is exploring new spaces in a new project called Synth Club - live, improvised techno-house that includes Daniel from Maktub, Steve Scalfati, and laptop tweaker Nordic Soul. Still, his priority remains Maktub and their hopes for the new album and tour, which began in April.

"It's pretty simple in that we're all songwriters, we enjoy playing music, and we like playing music in this formation. And we keep working at it until it's done. Obviously we'd love to see it go as far as it can go. We'd love to win a Grammy or to play huge coliseums, but at the end of the day, it's more about how cool a song can be. The other stuff, like Grammys, are just nice goals. We'll just keep writing music because we enjoy it."

Dennis Cook
JamBase | Seattle
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[Published on: 5/5/05]

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G$Love starstarstarstarstar Fri 5/6/2005 09:02AM
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Great article Dennis! I just saw the band in Chicago and they were awesome. It was the 5th time I've seen them and they've really come into their own, they're a real rock band these days with Thaddeus laying down some of the finest guitar chops out there. More people need to hear this band!

bender69 starstarstarstarstar Sun 5/15/2005 05:49PM
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WORD!....because of this article i have just discovered my favorite band in the past 10 soooo hooked.
Thank you for introducing me to the now of music. Cheers!

Mr. Aaron starstarstar Mon 5/16/2005 09:31AM
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Mr. Aaron

This is a pretty good band. i saw them at the brandyhouse on Saturday night. They are very talented, not exaclty my thing though. Lead guitar is pretty weak. The whole thing has a "chick flick" feel to it. R&B love song type stuff.