Adam Reichmann | Life After Nadine

I realized I still really love doing this. I started to miss it more than I thought I would."

Photo: Jaimie Johnson
Adam Reichmann is an unassuming rock star. He’s sincere, he doesn’t brag easily or act entitled, and he doesn’t dwell too much on the days when he co-founded and fronted Nadine, one of the most critically acclaimed and successful St. Louis bands of the last decade. Today, Reichmann is just an amicable dude on one of the hottest days in August, sweating over a cold beer across from me at the Tin Can downtown on Locust Street, just a stone’s throw from the advertising agency where he spends his days as an associate creative director and video editor.
Reichmann is a rock star though; just ask his many fans across Europe and those who have been around the local scene for a number of years, all of whom have anxiously awaited his return. Lucky for them, he’s finally ready, and he is here to tell me about his comeback.
Reichmann took a long hiatus after Nadine disbanded following their final record, Strange Seasons, in 2003. “Every band gets to a point where the party’s kind of over,” he says. “I loved everybody and there was no particular problem, it was just like it had run its course. I was sort of looking forward to just being a normal dude, working a job. So I did that, and I moved away for a while. Then I did a solo tour in Europe in 2006, where I realized I still really love doing this. I started to miss it more than I thought I would.”
Reichmann returned to live performing earlier this year in a couple of small, intimate shows around town and began writing new songs and collaborating with old friends including Nadine’s Steve Rauner, his long-time songwriting partner.
“I’m working with him as a producer and a co-songwriter. I was always kind of writing, but it was just these fragments. There was no real reason to write songs because there wasn’t a band, so I just amassed all these little fragments over time. Then I worked with Steve to turn all the fragments into songs,” says Reichmann. “He has a great mind on how to make things simple and interesting and layer parts – he thinks out of left field. He’s a really important part of my creative group.”
When it came time to assemble a band, Reichmann wanted to go in a new direction. “I kind of thought about working with some people I worked with before, but then I thought it would also be fun to try working with all new people.”
Last week, he officially debuted his new band, Adam Reichmann and the Ghosts of Electricity (a nod to his favorite Bob Dylan song) at Off Broadway before an intimate crowd of fans, playing a mix of well-received new tunes and Nadine classics. The band will play its first “big” show this weekend when they appear at the inaugural LouFest in Forest Park.
Though the band’s name is new to fans (“They’ll have trouble fitting it on the poster,” says Reichmann), its members are all veterans of the local scene, including guitarist/keyboardist Jason Hutto (of Phonocaptors, Walkie Talkie U.S.A. and numerous other STL bands), bassist/vocalist Mike Apirion (former lead singer of The Unconscious) and drummer Steve Bunck (formerly of The Sun Sawed in ½). Reichmann appreciates each for what they bring to the table.
“Jason has kind of got that noisy/garage-y sound and has produced a lot of great bands. Mike isn’t really a bass player, but that’s what I like about him – he plays bass like a guitar player; and Steve is like a classic power pop drummer,” says Reichmann. “He’s actually my neighbor.”
Reichmann was out walking his dogs when “discovered” Bunck playing in his basement. “I heard him play and was I was like ‘you’re a drummer,’ and within a few minutes we were talking about how great the Beach Boys were and I said, ‘how would you feel about playing drums with me?’ We pretty much signed up together without even knowing much about each other’s music – we just really had a good vibe.”
As for the music they create, Reichmann says the entire band is very collaborative. “There’s a really strong focus on songs – everything is economical. It sounds a lot like power pop to me, but power pop joined up with some of those alt country things that are just really part of who I am and what my tastes are.”
A week after our interview, as I stood at the back of Off Broadway next to the soundboard during their debut show, I couldn’t help but think the band’s name was appropriate. Watching them took me back to my college days when Nadine’s predecessors Uncle Tupelo were regulars at Cicero’s basement bar in the Loop and the Blue Note in Columbia. I felt in Reichmann’s band the same raw energy – that electricity – of pure, American rock and roll that Tupelo had back in the day, before they were saddled with the weight of creating a genre. Whatever “it” is, Adam Reichmann and the Ghosts of Electricity definitely have it.
Seeing the band in its infancy, I can’t help but wonder how much longer Reichmann will need a day job. For now though, he’s content taking baby steps back into the scene. “I’d like to play very special shows, have a reason to write songs, have a reason to connect with a lot of the fans that I have built a relationship with over the years and just get out, have fun and not stress about it too much,” he says.
When fans can expect recordings of the band’s new songs remains to be seen. “I was in a hurry coming out of the shadows a bit earlier this year, going ‘I gotta do a record!’ So Steve and I laid down all these drum tracks before I had a chance to really get comfortable with the songs live, and now they’ve all changed,” Reichmann says.
He does hope to get into the studio with this band at some point though. “What we’re discovering in getting ready for these shows is that I think we have something really special in our chemistry, and I’d really like to capture that for a recording.”
Following their LouFest appearance on Saturday, Adam Reichmann and the Ghosts of Electricity will play a special KDHX benefit concert at Off Broadway, “September Gurls & Boys: A Ttribute to Alex Chilton and Big Star,” on September 24 along with 12 other local acts. Though this is the only other show on the books at the moment, I, along with many other local fans, am hoping that we’ll be hearing a lot more from Reichmann and his band in the coming year. Their sound is filled with the promise of what has been and continues to be a thriving local music scene built on a rich American musical history. We are lucky to have such a wealth of great musicians and songwriters in St. Louis and Reichmann has earned his place near the top of that list. | Amy Burger


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