By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A force on the Northwestern heavy music scene since the late ’80s, veteran multi-instrumentalist Tony Reed brings his band Mos Generator back to San Francisco Friday night, topping a solid four-band bill at Thee Parkside.
Though focused on music from an early age, Reed didn’t start playing music and recording his own songs until his early teens growing up in Port Arthur, WA. An omnivorous taste in a wide variety of sounds found him absorbing everything from ’70s classic rock and prog to more modern metal and punk, all of which combined to inform his early band projects, leading up to his first long-term group, Twelve Thirty Dreamtime.
Twisting together strands of SST-informed punk and melodic alternative rock, Reed and a rhythm section made up of Scooter Haslip on bass and Shawn Johnson on drums would build a loyal local cult of fans over the course of a decade, even though they only managed to release a single studio album in 1998. During their existence, Reed also participated in other bands, playing drums and bass in Doug Martsch’s pre-Built To Spill band Treepeople in the early ’90s and drums in the pop-punk band Goodbye Harry a few years later.
After the demise of Twelve Thirty Dreamtime, Reed and his old rhythm section began to get together to play music steeped more in a ’70s hard-rock vein heavily indebted to Black Sabbath. The trio eventually emerged as Mos Generator in 2000, recording a steady output of albums, EPs and split releases that showcased Reed’s knack for catchy yet pulverizing tunes while avoiding the common stoner-rock pitfall of simply recycling Tony Iommi’s riffs. Over the course of the next decade plus, Reed would also found like-minded heavy rock outfit Stone Axe and collaborate on Saint Vitus drummer Henry Valdez’s side project Blood on the Sun, earning him more accolades for his songwriting acumen and ferocious guitar playing.
While Mos Generator would go on hiatus for a few years, the band resurfaced with Reed supported by a new rhythm section featuring bassist Sean Booth and drummer Jono Garrett for the 2014 release Electric Mountain Majesty. Since then, Reed has if anything ramped up his already prolific output, issuing a slew of releases with the band in addition to an impressive string of cover songs with the band paying tribute to well-known inspirations (King Crimson, Van Halen and Kiss) as well as solo recordings of tunes by more obscure touchstones like Boomerang, Highway Robbery and Necromandus featured on his acclaimed collection The Lost Chronicles of Heavy Rock, Vol. 1 that the musician offered up for free download.
A passionate player who literally wears his influences on his sleeves (one arm is inked with the cover of Black Sabbath’s debut album, the other with the cover of In the Court of the Crimson King), the self-professed studio rat has also been recognized for his keen ear and hired for mixing and mastering duties by the likes of doom icons Saint Vitus and rising heavy rock crews including Gozu, Mothership, Red Wizard and Alunah. Returning to the Bay Area for the first time since a successful tour with Fu Manchu last fall, Mos Generator comes to San Francisco to headline Thee Parkside Friday night on its way to meet up with Scott Hill and company for another round dates across the U.S. ahead of the trio’s forthcoming new album Shadowlands set for release next month on European label Listenable Music.
For the SF show, Mos Generator will be joined by three fellow heavyweight acts: Zeppelin-esque Visalia, CA-based boogie rockers Slow Season, San Francisco’s own monolithic psychedelic metal combo Lowcaster and bluesy South Bay doom upstarts Kook, whose members helped organize last fall’s marathon Epicenter 2017 festival in San Jose that featured Oakland legends High on Fire anchoring a massive nine-band bill. DJ Rob Metal selects tunes before and between bands.
Friday, April 27 9 p.m., $10