Blaine L. Reininger, one of the most much appreciated artists in the underground and contemporary music industry – singer, songwriter, musician, multi-instrumentalist, composer, actor, writer – and one of the most significant figures of the world in new/dark wave, post-punk, new age scene, was kind enough to answer Malice F‘s questions for ElectroWelt OnLine Music Magazine.
1. EW: Hello Blaine! Its so nice to speak to you. Thank you so much for finding the time to do this short interview. We initially intended to do this interview back in March 2020, as you had a much-anticipated gig scheduled at Temple Club, but the pandemic had other plans. Was this time creative for you, did you write music or was isolation extremely difficult for you?
BR: The pandemic suited my solitary style of composition. I wrote a lot of music during that period, as did many composers. The results can be heard on my new album and the ones to come. I must have written 50 songs.
2. EW: So, you are in the middle of a tour, the Ocean Planet tour with your frequent collaborator Georgio Valentino, abroad as well here in Greece. How is it so far? Did you miss performing, getting in touch with fans and see their reactions to your music?
BR: Touring with George has been a lot of fun. I like to meet the fans and talk with them, but the work of touring is not getting any easier. I will be 70 next month.
3. EW: You started creating and experimenting with electronic sounds more than 40 years ago! with Tuxedomoon in San Francisco. It seems your chemistry was so magical and so natural at the same time. Was it in fact as easy as we experienced it or were there tensions and artistical differences that were nervous breaking?
BR: Tuxedomoon, though very creative and innovative was a psychotherapist’s nightmare. Everyone in the group had their own demons to deal with and we frequently took out our problems on each other. As my late wife J.J. said “You guys are amazing. You don’t even LIKE each other.”
4. EW: In the early days Tuxedomoon performed with The Residents, Devo. Is it true that Devo chose Tuxedomoon to open for them in concerts? With the Residents the resemblance is more obvious, but with Devo it seems a little bit bizarre. At the same time, you had common ground with them, the theatrical performance and innovative new wave sound. How was your collaboration and what is your take on their music? They were big back then
BR: Having us open for Devo at the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco was not really their idea. It was proposed by Dirk Dirksen, the famous impresario behind that legendary venue. At the time we were a lot more Dada and theatrical than we later became, closer in style to Devo. The Residents watched us in secret for a while, coming incognito to our shows. They were adding acts to their label at the time and were looking for San Francisco groups that had their own momentum. They called me one day and proposed that we work together.
5. EW: Discussing with friends and festival goers abroad, during your concerts, many tend to compare your voice to Tom Waits or sometimes David Bowie. Do you see these similarities too? Do you like their music?
BR: I have been compared to Bowie pretty often and I admit that the younger Blaine was a notorious Bowie imitator. Now, mature, I have found my own voice. I could never sing like Tom Waits, too hard on the throat. Even he had to give it up.
6. EW: What do you listen to nowadays? Are there any new bands or projects that you like and find promising?
BR: I listen to a lot of atmospheric music, especially in the mornings when I do yoga. I like Stars of the Lid, Arvo Part, Eno, Roedelius, that kind of stuff and a lot of classical, especially impressionists like Satie, Debussy and Ravel. I have my Spotify playlist called “Good Stuff” that I listen to while travelling on the bus or metro or airplane, old standbys. I like St. Vincent, Porcupine Tree, Radiohead, lots and lots of stuff.
7. EW: Blaine, you lived in the USA, later on in Brussels and other cities in Europe, and for many years you are based here in Athens. Things seemed to change in great speed for you. Were all these life changes something you aimed or they just happened and you followed?
BR: I have gone with the flow, letting my karma unfold, often surprising me, delighting me, horrifying me.
8. EW: Will you consider performing as Tuxedomoon again or you all have ruled it out, after the passing of Tuxedomoon’s bassist Peter Principle and Bruce Geduldig too?
BR: I am sad to say that Tuxedomoon pretty much died with Peter.
9. EW: I vividly remember that Tuxedomoon didn’t like to perform “Tears” during your live shows. One particular Tuxedomoon gig from the 90s comes to mind in Thessaloniki, my home town, at Mylos venue, where young goth fans wanted to hear it live and I remember the band’s reaction, it was intense, as you were somehow offended. Is it true and why you felt this way?
BR: It was Steven Brown who never wanted to perform “No Tears”. He thought that trying to please an audience with familiar songs was selling out. I play that song all the time now in my solo show.
10. EW: Blaine, you have a loving relationship with movie and theatre performances. Me and George came to see the play “The Misunderstanding” by Albert Camus. It was exquisite, your music and presence complemented the play, the theatre was sold out. It was a hit. Could you please share with us how this collaboration happened?
BR: Yannis Houvardas had tried several times before to work with me, but something always got in the way. This time the circumstances were just right.
11. EW: Will you continue performing with “The Misunderstanding” the following season or do you have any further theatre or perhaps cinema plans you would like to share with us?
BR: Nothing coming up yet. There are still more dates for my show with Georgio, though.
12. EW: After Wounds and Blessings with 28 songs that was released in 2021, you have a new album out since March 2023 with 12 new songs, Ocean Planet, with a very aethereal and inspired artwork, it’s wonderful, as is your music. More classical in genre and style. Please tell us about your inspiration behind it.
BR: The songs you hear on both of these albums are the result of my musical practice and my obligations to provide at least 3 new songs a month for my Patreon subscribers. Since I started working with Patreon, I must have written 200 songs. There is a lot of unreleased stuff from all sorts of genres, more rocky, louder, funnier. Who knows what will become of all of it?
13. EW: Any further new projects or participation in festivals, you would like to share with Electrowelt readers? Thank you again for your time and we can’t wait to see you live, as always…
BR: George and I have dates in July 2023 in Holland and Germany, later on back to Italy and in October in Czechia. Check Facebook for the latest news.
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