...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead on medical research and classic records

Categories: Profiles

Courtney Chavanell
There are albums you love and albums that alter the way you listen to music. ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead's 2002 masterpiece, Source Tags & Codes, fits squarely in the latter category. Damn near everyone loved this thing; Source Tags was like a long-lost Led Zeppelin album, made thirty years in the future by black-shirted American boys.

"We were being ambitious, but not in the sense that we wanted to be famous," recalled drummer and co-frontman Jason Reece when we spoke with him at South by Southwest last month. "We weren't trying to be an arena-rock band. We just wanted to make something that would last and would be relevant."

They succeeded. Trail of Dead is currently on tour, performing Source Tags & Codes in its entirety. The tour started in Philadelphia and will finish up at Summit Music Hall on April 3.

When we spoke with Reece, he was acting as a stage hand, helping set up for a Future Islands show. The next day, he was supposed to work at the same stage, as Bob Mould's guitar tech. "It's an honor to be his guitar bitch," he noted.

Reece first landed in Texas in his early twenties, with just $30 to his name. He signed up for a medical-research study and spent two weeks in a facility, getting hourly blood draws and taking drugs that he knew nothing about. But it was for science, and the pay was good.

"It was funny -- I met people out of that who were musicians," he said. "We all got money to do our thing and buy equipment." One of his fellow guinea pigs was Trail of Dead singer Conrad Keely. "I guess I had him to pal around with. We were discussing music a lot, definitely," Reece remembered. "You can't go anywhere; you have no contact with the outside world."

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