Editor’s Note: It was a beautiful night of music at Spicoli’s Rockade in Waterloo, Iowa, and the audience was in for a treat as Never Say Die, VYCES, and Era 9 were prepared to rock the stage! Two of the members of Never Say Die were in My Darkest Days before Matt Walst left the band to perform with his brother in Three Days Grace. Never Say Die is currently touring in support of “Destroy + Rebuild”, which includes the single “Like A Nightmare”. In this interview, Reid Henry, who is the vocalist/guitarist for Never Say Die(and was one of the two members of My Darkest Days) discusses “Pornstar Dancing”, the album, and a ton of randomness! Special thanks to Shauna O’Donnell and Mike Langford, the drummer of Never Say Die for setting this up. Without delay, here is my conversation with Reid Henry of Never Say Die! You can also see the complete interview at www.muenmagazine.net
*hears squeals in the background of a couple of drunk girls*
M.T.C: I will make sure that this is an audio interview that way my listeners and readers will wonder what’s up. What’s going on tonight?
Reid: Oh, just playing a show! *laughs* In all seriousness, working with Shauna and this team has been incredible and helped us to get on to “Rock Into Spring” with Buckcherry and Alien Ant Farm.
M.T.C: How did that show go by the way, we’ll start off with that.
Reid: Rock Into Spring was incredible, we had a good time. It was a blast, we had to come from Denver, we did a solid 14 hour drive to come to the show, and any time you do that, you’re very, very grateful to play a show. I had a lot of fun, especially with a show like that that had such a high production value. It was incredible for us.
M.T.C.: Pretty good turnout?
Reid: For us, it was incredible!
M.T.C.: So, just tell me who you are, and what you do in the band, and from the research I did, it was a unique way to start up a band.
Reid: I’m Reid Henry, I sing, play guitar and keyboards in Never Say Die, myself and Brendon, the bass player were in a band called My Darkest Days, and our singer had an opportunity to join Three Days Grace with his brother, at that time, we were just super supportive of him, and we try not to focus on what we were going to do per say, we had to take some time to figure it out. We were able to sit under a rock for awhile and write some songs, and Mike Langford, and Dave Hartsell, the drummer and guitarist of our band now, Mike, who also produced the record, I showed him demos at the time, and he really, really liked it, and there was a lot of musical chemistry from there.
M.T.C.: What did Mike add to the dynamics of the band?
Reid: He got some Juno awards, which are the Canadian Grammys, and he had won a Juno for an album he produced a few years prior, and Mike has produced a lot of great rock bands, engineered the early Evans Blue stuff, I think the first two records, as well as Scarlet White, and produced them as well. He worked with a lot of bands prior to that. We had credited him and myself had spent a year, maybe a year and a half kind of writing and rewriting songs, trying to get stuff going, but it helps to have another set of ears like Mike’s to be able to help guide and to just take it home.
M.T.C.: Going back into your earlier career with “Pornstar Dancing”, what is your craziest Zakk Wylde story?
Reid: I never had any crazy Zakk Wylde stories, I know that there are some crazy Zakk Wylde stories, but at that time, I had the pleasure of working with him, he was still wild, but he is a little older, he was drinking, having his whiskey and beer or whatever and taking it easy, so we had the pleasure of playing with Black Label Society back in 2011 and 2010, that was pretty cool too. He was just taking it easy on the occasions that we had with him, man.
M.T.C.: “Destroy + Rebuild” is the latest Never Say Die record, just tell us the day in the life of the writing process for Never Say Die, who starts it off?
Reid: We are all writers for sure, but on the record “Destroy + Rebuild, some of them began as songs that came out of the writing sessions of the EP, which was a record that we were going to put out, just verses, choruses, that idea. That time, we spent months and months and months in a basement in Peterborough where we just stacked some of these ideas together. Some of these songs were really cool, but never had an opportunity to do anything, so I kind of flushed some of those that we had written, in also doing that, you also kind of get invigorated to come up with a lot of stuff really quickly, and that’s sort of all that came to be. Everybody has their inputs, but I’ve been a songwriter for a really long time, so for me this is an opportunity for me to challenge myself as an artist and for me and us to try to make something that’s world-class.
M.T.C,: From the first song that you have written until now, what is the main thing that you have learned in your songwriting?
Reid: To trust your gut and trust your feels, trust the goosebumps, follow that, look for moments like that and then extrapolate those moments and try to hold on to that. If you find that homerun moment, also serve the song is another way to say it. Always try to be true to what the song is about, and to find what that song is about, and make everything enhance that.
M.T.C.: Now that I’ve learned about your band, what can I do to be in your band?
Reid: Well we need a keyboard player, do you know how to play piano? *laughs*
Matty: I did piano recitals when I was in second grade.
Reid: You’re in! *laughs*
M.T.C.: Describe your career from My Darkest Days to Never Say Die based on a movie title or a tv show.
Reid: The Office! I’m kidding! *laughs* Maybe Cops! I don’t know, let’s come back to that one.
M.T.C.: Basically “Like A Nightmare”, its received some rave reviews, I’ve heard it on the local rock radio station, basically tell me about the single and what the song is talking about?
Reid: “Like A Nightmare” to me, well I’ve heard songs and artists say that sometimes they leave it to different interpretations of the song, I don’t know that it’s a great song or not, I hope that it’s well received, and I hope that everyone can derive their own meaning without us necessarily spoiling it for them. But to me, “Like A Nightmare” is sort of about, it’s hard to explain, but celebrating your demons.
“Like A Nightmare” by Never Say Die music video here
M.T.C.: Kind of like, celebrating your trails and appreciating your obstacles before you get to that next step.
Reid: Exactly! It’s also a song that people that have substance abuse problems have come up to us and said, “that song really helps me out a lot”, and also people suffering through post-traumatic stress disorder, have come up to us and said that this song has helped me get through what I have to get through, I think that’s very inspiring for us, and we’re very grateful.
M.T.C.: When a fan comes up to you and says stuff like that, how do you react?
Reid: We’re all very, very grateful for anybody caring about what we’re doing and listening to our music, so we try to receive everyone with open arms, we’re very grateful!
M.T.C.: Kind of like Creed right?
Reid: *laughs* kind of! For sure, with arms wide open, exactly!
M.T.C.: Speaking of “Like A Nightmare”, what’s the worst or strangest nightmare that you have had?
Reid: Definitely, when you’re falling, and you’re about to smack the ground, and you wake up and wonder what would’ve happened if I would’ve just kept sleeping. The worst nightmare that you can have is when all of your teeth are coming out, and you’re like, “ahh, what is happening” in real time, like you’re experiencing it, or getting your teeth knocked out in a dream.
M.T.C.: I read about that when I was reading about dream interpretations.
Reid: Yeah, it’s talking about the fear of losing your youth, maybe I have a complex! *laughs*
M.T.C.: Weirdest moment on stage with a fan while performing?
Reid: Definitely back in the day when My Darkest Days would perform “Pornstar Dancing”, we would invite all the female audience to come up on stage to dance and have a good time, there were definitely some times when I was playing guitar and otherwise occupied with my hands, and just things happened to me as I waded through the sea of humans. I don’t know if I can fully remember, but there were maybe some hands that went into some places. I don’t know if that was the weirdest moment, I can’t even tell you, you would get up and stop talking to me if I told you about the weirdest moments that I’ve had up on stage. Just the craziest stuff.
M.T.C.: I suppose it comes with the territory of that song. Do you all still play that as Never Say Die?
Reid: Yeah, I guess you could say it was culturally significant. It was a big song, anything to help this band move forward, and also there’s people out there that want to hear it, and our fans want to hear it. It’s our pleasure to be able to play My Darkest Days songs, I’m grateful that there are still people out there that still love it.
“Pornstar Dancing” by My Darkest Days (featuring Zakk Wylde, Chad Kroeger of Nickelback, and Ludacris) music video here
Matty: I just thought of this question, let’s say Never Say Die has five albums out, do you still put it on the setlist or do you just focus on Never Say Die material?
Reid: Oh yeah, we would still play it. Somebody’s gotta play it. So we might as well. I don’t know if I would close the set with it, especially with five records, cause you’re hoping that after five records, you have a bigger song than that one. Maybe as time passes on we will let that song go, but there are a lot of songs on that record that I love, time will tell I guess.
M.T.C.: Where do you see Never Say Die five years from now?
Reid: Six records done.
M.T.C.: I suppose writing as you’re touring.
Reid: Mike as a producer can record anywhere, and I have a rig and Brendan has portals, so we all write together all of the time. We got a cool body of work developing ten songs. I have had influence on them. I micromanage, I’d like to put out a record, but we’re obviously not in a hurry to put out a record, but after that I’d like to challenge the industry to put out a double-disc or to put out two records simultaneously, we’re not afraid to take risks, and I think the content is in this day and age, content is number one. We want to try and challenge ourselves in terms of visual and graphic and stuff to do as much as we possibly can to have a compelling narrative.
M.T.C.: Do you think with today’s day and age, continuously putting out content is a challenge?
Reid: It’s always a challenge to put out original content, but hasn’t it always been that way, I think that the creative mind will always find a way to create something new and something fresh, but to me, more important than being fresh and new is being timeless and provocative, and having something that is authentic. If you’re writing from a place of authenticity or a place of feeling, you’ll do well, and if you have someone that can play guitar, bass, and drums, and vocals, and songs that make people feel things.
M.T.C.: I know that you have a show to get ready for, is there anything else you would like to add?
Reid: Yes, thank you so much for talking with me and you can check us out at www.neversaydie.ca and find us on Facebook because we want to be your friend.
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Check out Never Say Die on tour:
Friday, June 30th- The Ridglea Room in Fort Worth, Texas (w/Message From Sylvia)
Saturday, July 1st – 18th St. Pier in San Leon, Texas(w/Message From Sylvia)
Friday, July 7th- L’Treyn’s in Keokuk, Iowa(w/Message From Sylvia)
Saturday, July 8th- County Fair in Nellsville, Wisconsin(w/Message From Sylvia)
Friday, August 4th- Megs County Rockin’ Rally in Langsville, Ohio(w/City Of The Weak and We Are Funhouse)
Saturday, August 5th- Megs County Rockin’ Rally in Langsville, Ohio(w/Shallow Side, Seasons After, Another Lost Year, Screaming For Silence, and Zero Dark Thirty)