Glastonbury quartet Reef rose to fame after their song, ‘Naked’ was featured in an advert for Sony MiniDisc in 1995.
They released five studio albums – Replenish (1995), Glow (1997), Rides (1999), Getaway (2000) and Together (2003) – before going on hiatus in 2003. They announced their reunion in 2009 and have toured regularly ever since.
So here then, in no particular order, are Gary’s top 10 Reef songs…
STONE FOR YOUR LOVE (Together, 2003) Gary: “This song is flammable, man! We were in Los Angeles working on a fifth record. Six or seven songs in, Dominic [Greensmith, drummer] left the band for a bit and we had no album to finish at that point. The label had to put something out quick, which was a mix of old songs, covers and new stuff – this was one of those songs.”
SUMMER’S IN BLOOM (Glow, 1997) “I’m not sure we’ve ever done a Reef show without playing this song. It is a true tale of being a youth in Somerset. It’s about having one or two ciders too many at Roger Wilkins’ cider farm and swimming in the river on the way home, then getting into hot water with your girlfriend after! If you visit Mudgley, say hello to Roger from me.”
NAKED (Replenish, 1995) “We wrote this in about eight minutes in my bedroom in Isleworth. Everything was OK after that. We knew we’d written a cracking song there; it was the one used on a Sony Mini-Disc advert. It wasn’t long after Stiltskin had done the Levi’s ad which made them – but they were all over in something like seven months. So both the band and the record company were wary about that. So we released Good Feeling first, to try and avoid that. But it was great for us, because six months previous to that, we were doing very little in Isleworth, but then we were suddenly flying first class to New York and staying in posh hotels. When people give us grief about doing the ad, I say, ‘Give us a break, that song changed everything for us’. The Melody Maker and the NME gave us a hard time, but so what? Nowadays, things are totally different and it’s one of the few ways you can actually get into people’s homes!”
STEAL AWAY (93-03: Ultimate Collectors Boxset, 2012) “It’s down and dirty Reef… it’s just got a really heavy feel to it. Steal Away was originally recorded as a B-side. It’s another one of those fan favourites too, which is why we love it and we still play it fairly often. We’re very proud of that box set; we got calls left right and centre about how well put together it was.”
SAY WHAT YOU WANT (93-03: Ultimate Collectors Boxset, 2012) “Say What You Want is another song from that abandoned fifth album session in California that I mentioned earlier. I just love how this just rocks out!”
UNDONE AND SOBER (Rides, 1999) “‘How will I pick myself up again, you’ve shat on my best feeling…’ That’s one of the best lyrics attributed to me! We recorded this song at Ocean Way in Los Angeles with producer George Drakoulias. I loved making this record.”
YER OLD (Glow, 1997) “Boom! ‘Don’t need me the paper to read me the news!’ I absolutely love this. It was the last single off Glow, which went to number 21. At the time, we wrote it about people who write about music being old and cynical, looking down their noses at the gig go-ers who are just loving it and totally in the moment. They were saying we were yesterday’s news.”
FUNNY FEELING (Rides, 1999) “I put this in the list because the string arrangement is just fantastic. David Campbell [Muse, Adele, Linkin Park] did a great job on that. I still love listening back to this song even though it’s pretty sombre. We were really stoked to have worked with David; it was a really good vibe. That was one of George’s [Drakoulias, producer] calls. That was the great thing about George, he had great production ideas.”
LUCKY NUMBER (Together, 2003) “This was another song from that session for the fifth album that didn’t happen. We all just really love this one.”
PLACE YOUR HANDS (Glow, 1997) “Obviously, this was our most successful song and it’s kept me from having to get a real job, so happy days. I love the way it was written. Jack (Bessant) came up with the bassline when we were at Abbey Road studios. Then Ken (House) came up with the riff. Originally, it had a really mellow vocal, but then Jack played the bass line slightly differently, more upbeat. Suddenly away we went, it sounded quite 60s because he was playing it on an old fashioned bass he was knocking about on at the time. We recorded it properly in America and everyone got involved, George [Drakoulias] and Muff (Winwood, A&R Manager at Sony). It’s quite a weird arrangement in a way, to go that bridge bit so early, but it just works…”
For up to date into on Reef, visit their official site.