Today Is The Day
[ This is an interview series highlighting musicians who go from being a band’s biggest fan to being in THAT band. The title is taken from the hardcore band Kill Your Idols. ]
Curran Reynolds is a musician, publicist and promoter. You may know him from his drumming in Wetnurse and Today is the Day, or from his show bookings at Lit Lounge (every Monday for 6.66 years), or from his magical pr powers. Curran is a tastemaker, a skilled drummer, a talented songwriter (do visit his solo project Body Stuff) and a great person to get advice from.
At what point in your life did you discover Today is the Day?
Curran Reynolds: I was 17 when my friend Johnny Dwyer told me about Today Is The Day. Johnny’s older brother worked at AmRep, TITD’s label at that time. I liked the band name. I hadn’t heard the music yet but the name stuck with me. Later that year I went exploring around California for a couple months. I was in a record store in Santa Cruz and I saw Willpower in there. I had the clerk put it on and it was instantly that feeling of “Yes, this is for me.”
What album drew you in?
CR: Willpower was the one.
How did affect you?
CR: Everything about that album was perfect to my ear. Fucked up sounds, from the heart, contrasts of loud and soft, mean and sad, complex and simple. It went beyond liking the music, it was a feeling of kinship with the people who made it, whoever they were. I knew nothing about them, all I had to go on was the one band photo, the lyrics, and the inscription: “For the pain of living”. That sort of mystery, which is impossible in today’s world, made it even better because it allowed the imagination to run wild. Up until I saw TITD live for the first time at Coney Island High in NYC, a year after buying Willpower, I thought the longhair dude in shades was the frontman.
When I met you, you had done a tour or two with Today is the Day, but your job was selling merch and not playing drums. How did you meet Steve and start doing merch for the band?
CR: After being a fan since the 90s, I first met Steve properly in 2006. I was building up my music PR business at that time and I’d heard Steve was starting his own label. I took a chance and reached out to him about working together. I drove up from NYC to his place in Massachusetts and we met and hit it off. For the next couple years I was his publicist, up through the release of TITD’s Axis of Eden album. We worked intensely through that whole period and he became like a big brother to me. I sold merch for the band on two of the Axis of Eden tours.
At what point did you join the band? Did you confront Steve like, ‘Hey I’m a BADASS MOTHAFUCKA, let me play drums’? Or it happen more organically than that?
CR: On the first Axis of Eden tour in 2007, Steve had his other band Taipan open each show. The Taipan drummer quit the tour after three days and I was a logical replacement since I was already out there with them selling merch. There was no rehearsal, I learned the set in the van on the way to my first show in Allentown, PA. I continued filling in for the rest of the tour, which was the whole US in five weeks. That’s how Steve and I first played together. A couple years later, he needed a drummer for TITD and he called me up and asked me to do it.
After being in the band and recording ‘Pain is a Warning’, what would you tell your teenage self about Today is the Day? What about making music as an adult?
CR: We recorded the Pain Is A Warning album with Kurt Ballou in 2011. That was an exciting time. I’m proud of that record. During my three years in the band we also did tours with bands like Unsane and Soilent Green, we played in almost every state in the US and 20 countries in Europe – I’ve played shows in Athens, Barcelona, Budapest, Oslo, Reykjavik, and so on. All of this is the stuff of dreams and my teenage self would be proud.
TITD had a total of six drummers before me, not including touring drummers. It’s a tall order to try and do justice to all those different styles, especially when some of those guys are considered the best in the world. I could never compete with Brad Elrod, for example, and I never intended to. He was first and his style defined the band’s sound. I was in the band to do a job. More of a laborer than an artist. My approach was to look at the big picture, not the micro details, and make those songs rock. To give Steve a solid foundation and put a lifetime of pain into every hit. Turn off the brain and let the heart do the work. This seemed appropriate, ya know, I think this is what TITD is about, being your own person and doing things from the heart. On that note, I left TITD after our US tour this spring. My heart wasn’t in it anymore. I think I felt I had done the job as best I could and that was that. I had made my contribution and it was time for other things. A more happy-go-lucky person might have stuck it out but for me this stuff is life-or-death. I can’t just go through the motions. So I left TITD in April, put out my first solo record in July, and played my first show as a frontman in October.
Words of wisdom to my younger self: Inspiration is a precious thing. Don’t question it. Run hard with it and follow it where it leads you.
Let’s say I’m 17 and I want to make unconventional, intense music, what advice would you give me? How do I join my idols?
CR: Be your own idol.
TITD live in Portugal, 2011:
Play this at his funeral: