Body Stuff is the duo of vocalist/songwriter Curran Reynolds and producer Ryan Jones. Prior to launching the project in 2013, the two friends served together as the rhythm section for cult hero Steve Austin’s band, Today Is The Day, playing on the Kurt Ballou-produced Pain Is A Warning album and touring the world in support of it. Even earlier still, they were both members of Wetnurse, the left-field metal outfit whose acclaimed vocalist, Gene Fowler, died of unknown causes last year.
Across three EPs – Body Stuff (2013), Body Stuff 2 (2016), and Body Stuff 3 (2020) – a singular sound was established. Passionate vocals and wistful hooks, nodding to the songs that filled late-‘80s Top 40 charts, were bolstered by a bellicose drum machine and thick guitars conjuring industrial-metal power, while a ghostly fog blanketed the whole affair. On June 2nd they will release their first full-length, Body Stuff 4, which include guest appearances by Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart and pop icon Tiffany.
We asked Curran to talk to us about 3 releases that have influenced his musical career…
Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s Shocking
Tracing the line of music that rocked me, from age 1 to 11, in chronological order, it is something like this: marching band drums; Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with the real cannons at the end; various disco and funk vibes from Sesame Street and The Electric Company; Michael Jackson’s Thriller, containing the most electrifying song I had ever heard up to that point, ‘Beat It’; various synth-pop of the mid ‘80s, especially ‘Axel F’, ‘Take On Me’, and ‘Rock Me Amadeus’; various music I heard in films, especially Chariots of Fire and Also Sprach Zarathustra; various hair metal of the mid ‘80s, especially Bon Jovi, Europe, and Mötley Crüe; my first live concert –– Tina Turner on the Break Every Rule tour, with the sax player from the film, The Lost Boys, in her band; a subscription to Rolling Stone and a deepening obsession with big rock bands of past and present –– Pink Floyd, The Who, U2, R.E.M.; a craving for heavier and heavier sounds, leading to Appetite for Destruction, followed by …And Justice for All. Then, June 1989, my 12th birthday, my sister gave me a tape of Jane’s Addiction’s Nothing’s Shocking. This was the album that tied it all together for me. The drama, the funk, the hooks, the danger, the mystery, the poetry, the rage, that were scattered amongst all the aforementioned artists –– Jane’s Addiction had it all under one roof. Nothing rocked my gut and excited my mind as hard as Nothing’s Shocking, and to this day it is my favorite album.
Quicksand – Manic Compression
Shortly after Nothing’s Shocking, I found Pixies, Sonic Youth, Faith No More, and so on. Around my 18th birthday, I landed on Quicksand’s Manic Compression and, sort of how Nothing’s Shocking tied together all that had come before it, Manic Compression tied things together and set a new standard. It was my new favorite album, right away. It had the metallic vibe and the heartbreak vibe, in perfect harmony. In hindsight, maybe Slip is the stronger album? But Manic Compression is the one I heard first and hence it is the one. I discovered Manic Compression during my first year away from home, living in the vicinity of NYC, and it tied in with that experience. It was very much a NYC record. East 3rd St was a familiar street to me by the time I heard ‘East 3rd St’. I got to see the band live in the fall of 1995 at a venue near Times Square called The Academy. Onward from Quicksand, I went harder and heavier. The second half of the ‘90s, I was into stuff like Converge, Coalesce, Acme… and Today Is The Day, a band I wound up joining at a much later date.
Olivia Neutron-John – Olivia Neutron-John
While it is fun to reminisce about youth and talk about the impact of those classic albums on the impressionable young soul, it is also worth acknowledging more recent finds. Every now and again, something comes along, out of the blue, and hits me so hard, it brings joy and hope and inspiration, just like the old days. Olivia Neutron-John, who now makes music under the name Anno, was one such artist. Devastating vocals over raw beats. Dream state vibes. One of my favorite voices.