Interview: James Dewees (Reggie and the Full Effect)

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, February 7th, 2018 at 6:00 PM
Interview: James Dewees (Reggie and the Full Effect) by Dakota Palmer
Contributed Photo

Lead singer of punk rock band Reggie and the Full Effect (RATFE), James Dewees, is well known for his unconventional and refreshing twist on punk music. Dewees, of the Get Up Kids and formerly My Chemical Romance, has honest and sometimes atypical lyrics that are part of his success, and his upcoming studio album, “41,” will be no exception.

On the “41” cover sits Dewees, his long hair floating in the breeze while his hand props up his head. His eyes closed peacefully, the black and white cover resembles…Adele’s “21”? Genius.

“41” is set to release on Feb. 23, with RATFE touring in support of Senses Fail and with Have Mercy and Household beginning on Feb. 27. 

Q: Did you start working on “41” immediately after “No Country for Old Musicians,” or was there a break?”

James Dewees: There was kind of a break, because writing RATFE songs — there isn’t really a set time for it; they just kind of come when they come.

Q: How long did you work on “41” for?

JD: About a year. And then recording it was a couple months.

Q: Did the Adele concept come naturally, or was that something that just happened?

JD: I was listening to Adele and was like, “Oh, I should rip this off.”

Q: How is this album different from your previous albums?

JD: I’d say it’s different because a lot of the songs are a little more serious because the record tone has a lot to do with my mom passing away.

Q: How did Ray Toro (My Chemical Romance), Jarrod Alexander (Death by Stereo, My Chemical Romance) and Jerry Pauly (Pentimento) contribute to the album? What did they add?

JD: Ray and I’ve been talking about doing a record together since My Chemical Romance was still going on. When the band (MCR) stopped playing, Ray ended up taking some of the studio stuff to his house and setting up a home studio. He worked on his solo record, and then when he was finished with that, I liked the sound of his solo record so much that I said, ‘Hey, if you want to do this, let’s get together and work on the Reggie songs.’ So, we decided to do it. Jarrod’s just been a good friend; he’s a really, really good drummer, and so doing some of the basic recording stuff was just getting the drum tracks done, and Jarrod was solid enough to get them all done in one day. And then Jerry’s been singing back-ups for Reggie now for like three years, so I felt like it was time that Jerry needed to be on a record.

Q: What new music are you listening to?

JD: Right now, I haven’t been listening to any music. I started playing keyboards in that Buffalo thing with Keith (Buckley) and Steve (Micciche) called Soul Patch (‘90s alternative cover band) and so I’ve been listening to a lot of ‘90s music trying to learn the songs.

Q: Do you listen to your own music?

JD: Only at first when I get the things to listen to [for] different flaws and things like that, but usually when it comes out I won’t really listen to it again for a long time.

Q: If someone who has never heard RATFE before could only listen to one song from “41,” what should it be and why?

JD: I’d say “Maggie” just because…it’s like an old Reggie song, but a new Reggie song at the same time.

Dakota Palmer is the executive editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

 

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