In-depth Biography A singer and songwriter with a rough, powerful voice that fuels his full-bodied fusion of blues and vintage rock & roll, Reid Paley was born in Brooklyn, New York, and began making a name for himself as a musician when he moved to Pittsburgh to attend college. In Pittsburgh, Paley teamed up with guitarist Tom Moran, bassist Dave Doremus, and drummer Brian Gillespie to form a band called the Five. Playing a rough-and-tumble mix of blues and punk, the Five earned a cult following in Pittsburgh and after cutting a pair of 7" releases, they moved to Boston in 1984 in search of a larger audience. In Boston, the Five often found themselves sharing stages with another scrappy young band, the Pixies, and Paley struck up a friendship with Charles Thompson, aka lead singer Black Francis. In 1987, the Five split up shortly after recording their first and only album (simply called The Five), and Paley moved to New York, where he worked in construction and built sets for music videos (you can see his handiwork in clips by INXS and Salt-N-Pepa). When an old friend landed a job at a recording studio as an engineer, Paley began dropping by to record demos of songs he'd been tinkering with, and after a few years he had a large backlog of material.
In 1996, Paley released a single through Sub Pop Records, "Time for You" b/w "Best of All," and in 1999, he put out his first solo album, Lucky's Tune, produced by his pal Thompson, now known as Frank Black. A second album, Revival, appeared in 2000, produced by Pixies associate Eric Drew Feldman, and he soon began work on his third LP, but progress was hampered by unsuccessful negotiations with record labels. Paley stayed busy playing live shows (often opening for Frank Black or the reunited Pixies) and writing songs; several collaborations with Black appeared on the latter's 2006 album Fast Man Raider Man. Paley's third album, Approximate Hellhound vs. the Monkey Demon, was finally released in 2007 on his own label, Metaphor Rhythms, featuring the Reid Paley Trio (Paley on guitar and vocals, Eric Eble on bass, and Jim Murray on drums). In 2010, Paley teamed up with Thompson again (now back to calling himself Black Francis), and the pair wrote ten new songs in three days while Francis was in New York playing solo shows. A few days later, the two repaired to Nashville (where the Pixies were playing a pair of concerts), and in two days they recorded all ten songs, with Paley and Francis backed by Southern soul legends Spooner Oldham (piano) and David Hood (bass). The album, simply called Paley & Francis, was released in October 2011. When not busy with music, Paley also enjoys a successful career as a voice-over artist and narrator of audio books. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi