After rocking Kitsap for more than 20 years, Mos Generator is heading back to its roots with upcoming performances.
The band's original lineup is playing its debut album at upcoming shows in Bremerton and Port Angeles.
The band’s vocalist and guitarist, Tony Reed, is the remaining member from the original three-piece lineup. The two other founding members, drummer Shawn Johnson and bassist Scooter Haslip, will be joining him for the upcoming shows.
The band formed in Port Orchard in 2000, inspired by hard rock bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Reed said the lineup changed in 2015 to facilitate a more active touring schedule. But he’s remained close friends with Johnson and Haslip, who he originally played with in a band called Twelve Thirty Dreamtime in the ‘90s.
“Sometimes we get back together and we do reunion shows” of Twelve Thirty Dreamtime, he said. “We haven’t totally dropped off of each other’s musical radar together. We still like to play music together.”
Having played together since they were teenagers, it comes naturally, he said.
“Over the years we could really read each other as musicians,” he said. “You know each other so well you can really do just about anything without thinking about it.”
Having been a part of it as long as he has, Reed said there’s something special about the music community in Kitsap.
“I’ve … had a recording studio in Kitsap since 1994,” he said. “I’ve recorded hundreds and hundreds of bands from around here. And I’ve always felt that the Kitsap music scene was unique and special — lots of great talent.”
It’s difficult to pin down exactly what makes the Kitsap music scene stand out, however, he added.
“It seems like this community is unique with the amount of talent and songwriters and of musicians,” he said. “And that’s been a mystery trying to figure out why this is happening. … It seems to be pretty tragically underrated, this area. … But I really don’t know what the key ingredient is to the weirdness of the musicians around here, because I’ve been around other small towns and I really don’t see this kind of thing happening regularly."
For Reed, COVID-19 didn’t have as big of an impact as it did on some musicians. The current Mos Generator lineup typically only plays in preparation for a tour, he said, and his studio work is largely done remotely anyway. “I didn’t lose clientele; people were still making records remotely, and they were sending me their stuff. So really it just didn’t change much for me.”
The glaring exception was not being able to play live shows. “Every musician wants to get out there and play their stuff,” Reed said. “But it was a nice break, because we had been working so much and it was time to maybe take a break. So I wrote some weird material during that time, which was cool. Because I had time to do it, to explore all that stuff.”
As the music industry has changed and streaming has become dominant, Reed said he's happy just to have people listen, even if the money isn't pouring in from notoriously stingy streaming royalties.
"I look at it as if someone’s willing to take the time to listen to some music I’ve got up on Spotify or whatever, I’m totally into that," he said. "People get pretty bummed about how much money you make off Spotify, but that doesn’t bother me. I would rather that people were paying attention to what I was doing or at least following it a little bit."
Even so, Reed said he's been able to make a comfortable living through his music. "Nothing great, but [I make] a steady income from making music," he said. "And if you live the right way, you can live just fine."
Reed said he does get frustrated by the shortened attention spans of the internet age, however.
"There’s so much shoved down your throat all the time, nobody’s attention span is long enough to even finish listening to a complete record when it comes out," he said. "So many records get overlooked because they’re just getting shoved through so quick. When I was a kid you’d just be waiting for months for a certain record to come out. There’d only be a few records a year you’d even want to listen to."
Reed said he's looking forward to the band's upcoming shows and seeing old friends.
"We're looking forward to having a really good time this weekend," he said. "We hope that our friends and fans from around the area will come out with us. Because it's been awhile since the three of us have played around here and it's also been awhile since everybody got to get together."
Catch Mos Generator's original lineup playing the band's debut album in its entirety at upcoming shows:
8 p.m., April 16 at the Manette Saloon in Bremerton. Cost is $10, 21+.
7 p.m., April 23 at Little Devil's Lunchbox in Port Angeles. Cost is $10, all ages.