The Dan Reed Network is currently on an extensive European tour where they are retracing many of the steps they took whilst opening for the Rolling Stones back in 1990.
Following a new studio album and a successful UK headline tour earlier this year, the Dan Reed Network will hit the road as special guests to Extreme this week for what will be undoubtedly the funkiest rock show of 2017.
National Rock Review recently caught up with Dan Reed in Lisbon at the start of the band’s current European run to talk about Dan Reed Network’s forthcoming tour with Extreme, their latest album Fight Another Day as well as well both Dan and the group’s plans for 2018.
NRR: So you are going to be returning to the UK very soon to hit the road as special guests to Extreme, which is an incredible touring package. Back in the late 80’s/early 90’s did your paths cross very often?
Dan: I was more friends with Nuno, I didn’t know the rest of the band that much. We had crossed paths and met here and there, but Nuno got ahold of me through Steve Hoffman, which was the brother of Robbie Hoffman who is managing them now. Steve was kind of working with me on some side project with Adrenaline Sky a little bit, but more he just was a big fan of the Dan Reed Network. He said you and Nuno should get together, so Nuno and I got together in a studio on the East Coast and re-recorded “Long Way To Go”. I think we did a new version of “Get To You” as well. I don’t even know where that’s at, I have no idea where “Get To You” is at but I have heard the version of “Long Way To Go”.
Nuno and I met up at the NAMM show in Los Angeles and we played a couple of songs live at one of the get-togethers there. Then we didn’t touch base for a long time until just recently. So it’s been over 20 years, I think the NAMM show was 1994.
NRR: During the tour, you are also going to be performing in the North East of England again, with a show at the O2 Academy Newcastle on 13th December. I know you’ve been a regular visitor to our area over the years, I think you were recently here with solo shows at both The Cluny and Trimmers in South Shields. Do you enjoy performing in the Newcastle area?
Dan: I think for me Northern Ireland, Scotland and Northern England the people there just seem to be, I don’t know what it is, they give each other shit more. They have a great sense of humour, they don’t take themselves so seriously and they are just rock and rollers through and through, they are very vocal about it during the shows. They sing a lot, they are very boisterous but they also are big lyric and music fans. So it’s not like it’s a big meat market at the clubs, they are focused on the music, but they are also there to have a really good time and let loose of whatever tensions are going on in the world and that to me is the best kind of audience, especially for rock music.
When I’m doing acoustic shows I find that’s a different beast in different countries but it’s always very respectful and kind of quiet, which I enjoy. But Newcastle as far as England goes is probably one of the most partying towns music wise, they know how to celebrate and sing and clap and they always have great song suggestions when I’m doing my solo shows, because I don’t do set lists anymore, I do song requests so they are always trying to stump me. So that means they know the catalogue really well (laughing).
NRR: I have to say that the Dan Reed Network show at The Cluny in Newcastle earlier this year was one of my highlights of 2017. Obviously, this time around it will be a slightly shorter set, how do you go about picking a setlist for a show like this?
Dan: That’s a good question, we are picking two songs from each of the albums, so that’s 8 songs and then we pick like a couple more – I think we have 10 or 11 songs total. So we’ve picked another one from Slam, which is the album that sold the most. We did it mathematically you know, we made sure that every album was represented and some of the best songs that will kind of party, especially playing in front of such a great band as Extreme.
We want to play songs that celebrate life, be funky, no super ballads – we are playing like “Rainbow Child”, I think that’s the most mellow song. Also, stuff that – half the audience or maybe more will never have even heard of us or heard of us but don’t know our music that well, so we kind of wanted to give everybody a representation of what The Network’s all about from 1987 to now, so 30 years – Jesus.
NRR: Do you have a favourite track to perform live and if so which song and why?
Dan: My favourite Network song to play live is probably like “Get To You” because it’s kind of representative of that rock funk era thing when all of us were coming into being. I remember that genre if you want to call it that when Living Colour came out and Chili Peppers and Faith No More, Extreme, The Network – there were all of these bands that were doing kind of poppy metal. I don’t know what you would call it but it had a really deep funk to it. So “Get To You” to me is probably the song that represents at least for The Network’s contribution to that era, it represents it the best. It’s always fun to play that way and usually, we end our set with it because of those reasons.
NRR: With a 30-year career and a new album out this year do you find that you are welcoming new fans aboard; is there a new generation of Dan Reed Network fans nowadays?
Dan: Yeah, we meet people all of the time. I remember when we played Download a couple of years ago there were kids that were coming that were just 17/18 and they were going who are you guys? We saw your set and loved it, but had never heard of you before. So that to me is amazing.
Our manager, the guy that we are working with right now Dario Nikzad is a firm believer that there is a whole audience of his generation, he’s just turned 30 a couple of months ago, he says that people that have never heard of The Network that really would dig this music. So we are believing him for better and for worse.
NRR: To coincide with the Extreme tour you’ve also released a new video for the song “Infected”, which is from the Fight Another Day album. Could you tell us a little bit about that song and the inspiration behind it?
Dan: Yeah well, with The Network I’ve always thought of our band as trying to make some social commentary but at the same time, especially in the earlier days, it was more about relationships and social commentary together. Now that we are all older it seemed to be apropos to kind of make commentary just on what’s going on. There’s tension in the world, the division between left wing/right wing, nationalism. Open borders and terrorism vs kind of supporting non-intervention in other countries. So we are really divided on a number of different things.
Today I had a whole conversation with somebody about transgender issues because some people are just hardcore – you are a boy or a girl and that’s it and if you don’t agree with that you have no reason to be in this conversation type of thing. Then there are people that like to let people raise children neutrally, gender neutral and that’s the other end of the spectrum, don’t dress a boy as a boy and don’t dress a girl as a girl and that’s radical in one direction the other radical direction is just stating that it doesn’t exist, that these people are crazy type of thing.
So “Infected” is about that, this world is infected with division, it’s infected with righteousness, it’s infected with political superiority or religious superiority. So it’s just about why don’t we kind of check all of that at the door and realise that we are all human beings and we all kind of exist in the center and all of this radical stuff is just noise to divide us and make money off us, either starting wars or building walls, buying locks to our doors. The list goes on and on of how they are making money off of us, keeping everyone divided over this different stuff. So “Infected” is about that.
NRR: Obviously, we are fast approaching the end of the year with 2018 just around the corner. What are your plans going into the New Year?
Dan: Yeah, well I’m already pretty much booked the whole year. I’m going to be doing the Snakeoil and Harmony tour with Danny Vaughn the lead singer of Tyketto, that will start the middle of February through to the end of March. We start off in the UK and end in the UK at the end of March, but we are going to expand it out of the UK next year. We are playing in the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, and the UK. So that’s going to be a lot of fun, Danny and I love doing those shows where we share the stage and trade songs back and forth, play a few covers all that.
I’ve got a bunch of solo shows in April. Then in May, The Network goes to the States and we do these shows with the studio dates and we are going to do a few club shows as well. In June I’m back over here doing solo shows.
In July the Network returns back, we are going to do some shows with The Electric Boys in Sweden. We are going to do a studio date in Stockholm. We will do a few festival dates in the UK and then August/September another bunch of solo shows. Trio shows with my rock trio, I will be doing some dates in September in the UK and in Sweden.
October we are trying to do another tour like we are doing with Extreme, where we are going to be supporting another band or do a co-bill with another band all throughout October. Then November solo dates.
Then a New Years Eve show in Prague in December, so it’s all crazy booked up already (laughing). But it will be ten years then that I came back to doing music at the end of 2019. That’s why I’m thinking I’m going to take a year off and take my son over to America maybe to India, do more writing, more painting, just do more input instead of travelling a lot doing output. So I think in 2020 I will come back with some really strong music I hope.
The forthcoming Extreme UK tour with special guests Dan Reed Network will commence on Wednesday 13th December at the O2 Academy Newcastle and will run through until 20th December where it will culminate on 20th December at London’s O2 Academy Brixton.
PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS DAN REED NETWORK
DECEMBER 2017 UK TOUR
Newcastle O2 Academy – Wednesday 13th December
Glasgow O2 Academy – Thursday 14th December
Leeds O2 Academy – Saturday 16th December
Birmingham O2 Academy – Sunday 17th December
Bristol O2 Academy – Monday 18th December
London O2 Academy Brixton – Wednesday 20th December
Dan Reed Network
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Photo: © Amanda Rose