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Group Members: Greg Cartwright
All Music Guide:
Founded by Memphis blues-punk legend Greg Cartwright -- a former member of the Oblivians, the Compulsive Gamblers, and '68 Comeback -- Reigning Sound fuse the hot-wired energy of garage rock with the deep emotional resonance of classic soul music in a manner that suggests a cross between the early Rolling Stones and the Sonics. Featuring Cartwright on vocals and guitar, Jeremy Scott on bass, Greg Roberson on drums, and Alex Greene on keyboards and guitar, Reigning Sound made their recorded debut with a three-song 7" in May of 2001; their first full-length album, Break Up Break Down, was released a month later on Sympathy for the Record Industry.
In August of 2002, the group upped the rock quotient on its second album (and first for In the Red), Time Bomb High School, and the group landed a high-profile gig opening for Swedish garage wunderkinds the Hives on their North American tour. Alex Greene dropped out as a full-time group member by the time 2004's Too Much Guitar was released, though he did appear on the disc as a guest musician, and the band followed its release with more touring, both as a headliner and once again as opener for the Hives. The band also gained another well-known champion in Little Steven Van Zandt, who gave the band frequent airplay on his syndicated radio show. In September 2005 Reigning Sound released Home for Orphans through Sympathy for the Record Industry. It featured reworked versions of Too Much Guitar material along with some unreleased tracks. They also recorded and released two live albums in 2005, Live at Maxwell's and Live at Goner Records. After a long break from recording under their own name (though Cartwright and the new lineup of bassist David Wayne Gay, drummer Lance Wille, and keyboardist Dave Amels backed ex-Shangri-La Mary Weiss on her 2007 album Dangerous Game), the band resurfaced in 2009 with a new studio record for In the Red, Love and Curses.
The Reigning Sound is an American garage punk band originally based out of Memphis, Tennessee, now located in Asheville, North Carolina. The band's current lineup includes former Oblivians and Compulsive Gamblers frontman Greg Cartwright on lead vocals and guitar, Benny Trokan (bass), Mike Catanese (guitar), Mikey Post (drums) and Dave Amels (keyboard).
The Reigning Sound was formed in 2001 by Memphis garage punk legend Greg Cartwright (vocals/guitar), who is also known for his previous bands Compulsive Gamblers and the Oblivians. Originally the band featured Cartwright, Jeremy Scott (bass), Greg Roberson (drums) and Alex Greene (keyboards and guitar.) However, after Cartwright re-located his family to Asheville, North Carolina in 2004, bassist David Wayne Gay, drummer Lance Wille and keyboardist Dave Amels joined Cartwright until October 2011.
The Reigning Sound’s debut was "Two Sides to Every Man," a three-song 7", released in May 2001. One month later came their first full-length album "Break Up, Break Down" (Sympathy for the Record Industry.) With its country-folk melodies, the first album was to be an early blueprint of where Cartwright’s songwriting was headed.
"Time Bomb High School", (In the Red) was released in August 2002, and is known for its polished sound, pop hooks and delicate balance of classic R&B and rock & roll. Aside from the originals on the album, Cartwright blended in cover songs like “Stormy Weather” and “Brown Paper Sack”, producing them in the same, recognizable sound the band had developed.
Reigning Sound’s third album “Too Much Guitar,” (In the Red) was released in May 2004 with recording help from fellow Memphians Jay Reatard and Alicja Trout from the Lost Sounds; with a noticeably louder and noisier sound than previous recordings. Songs laced with psych-pop, garage, soul, country and (of course) too-much guitar compete with Cartwright’s vocals at times in the loud fuzzy mix. An opening slot on a huge American tour with the Swedish garage band The Hives helped to promote the album shortly after its release. A misprint in the album credits gives the impression that founding member Alex Greene appeared on only one song. In fact, he played on half the album: "You Got Me Hummin'", "When You Touch Me," "Get It," "Drowning," "Uptight Tonight," "Let Yourself Go," and "Medication."
“The Reigning Sound: Live at Maxwell’s” (Telstar/Spoonful) was released in July 2005. The notorious end of the gig features Cartwright (with no back-up set) breaking all but three guitar strings but still finishing the show for the rowdy crowd. This rough-sounding live album is the only record featuring the Sam Cooke cover track “I Need You Now,” as a homage by Cartwright to one of his favorite singers.
In September 2005 The Reigning Sound released a rarities comp Home For Orphans (Sympathy for the Record Industry.) The album features slower, moodier alternate versions of tunes from “Too Much Guitar” along with some other unreleased tracks.
Late in January 2006, Memphis based Goner Records released “The Reigning Sound: Live at Goner Records,” a daytime in-store performance recorded in June 2005. The album also hosts cover songs like “Black Sheep” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, “Tennessee” by Carl Perkins and “Do Something” by The Swingin' Yo-Yo's.
After spending a portion of 2005 recording an album for George Soule with legends Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, the band once again began recording with Mary Weiss, of the legendary 60s band The Shangri-Las, widely known for their hit “Leader of the Pack.” Reigning Sound was the backing band on the first new Mary Weiss album in over three decades. Cartwright also co-produced the album with Billy Miller and wrote nine of the 14 songs featured on the record. Norton Records released “Dangerous Game” in March 2007, receiving favorable reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone Magazine as well as performing with Weiss on NBC’s Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
The Reigning Sound released a new full length album, "Love & Curses," on In the Red Records in August 2009, featuring 14 songs including one cover, "Stick Over Me", originally recorded by a '60s band called The Glass Sun (interpreted on the album as "Stick Up For Me"). In September 2010 Reigning Sound's cover of "Mind Over Matter, '50s R&B cover, for the compilation Daddy Rockin Strong: A Tribute to Nolan Strong & The Diablos, which was an album of current garage-punk bands covering the late Nolan Strong.
In October 2011 Reigning Sound released a digital "mini-LP" called Abdication ... For Your Love on the Scion Audio Visual label. The eight-song collection was released as a free digital download, however some limited edition vinyl and promo CDs were also pressed . Five tracks from this EP was recorded and produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys.. While some of the songs featured Cartwright alongside drummer Lance Willie and bassist David Wayne Gay, this would be the last recordings the two would appear on - Wille and Gay would leave the band just before the release of Abdication. The new, current line-up includes Benny Trokan (bass), Mike Catanese (guitar), and Mikey Post (drums) - Dave Amels (keyboardist) also remains in the current line-up.
The band signed to Merge Records in September 2012.
Reigning Sound Discography 
Singles Here Without You 7" (Sympathy For The Record Industry, 2001, SFTRI 656)If Christmas Won't Bring You Home 7"(Norton Records, 2004, 45-121)I'll Cry 7" (Slovenly Recordings, 2005, 702-50)Don't Come Back 7" (Norton Records 2007)- Mary Weiss ft. Reigning Sound
Albums Break Up, Break Down LP/CD (Sympathy For The Record Industry, 2001, SFTRI 654)Time Bomb High School - Vinyl LP (In The Red, 2002, ITR 084) - sleeve is different from CDTime Bomb High School CD (In The Red, 2002, ITR 084)Too Much Guitar LP/CD (In The Red, 2004, ITR 107)Home For Orphans LP/CD (Sympathy For The Record Industry, 2005, SFTRI 736)Live At Maxwell's LP (Spoonful Records, 2005, LP-SR-005)Live At Maxwell's CD (Telstar Records, 2005, TR 049)LIVE AT GONER RECORDS CD (limited of 200)LIVE AT GONER RECORDS LP (21Gone)Dangerous Game LP & CD (Norton Records 2007)- Mary Weiss ft. Reigning SoundLove & Curses LP (ITR, 2009)
EPs Abdication ... For Your Love (Scion, 2011)
7" Vinyl Splits The Hentchmen / Reigning Sound "Rolling Stones Sereies" 45rpm(Norton Records, 2003, 9642)Reigning Sound / Last Year's Men "Scion A/V" 45rpm" (Scion A/V/Vice Records, 2011)
Compilations Root Damage 2xLP/2xCD (Sympathy For The Record Industry, 2003, SFTRI 713)
track: As Long As You Come HomeRevolver Sampler Winter 2003 CD (Revolver, 2003, cat.no.?)
track: Straight ShooterBroad Daylight Soundtrack CD (Guerrilla Monster Films, 2003, No. 12300)
track: MedicationSuperfuzz CD (Lowfly Records, 2005, LF 061)
track: I'll CryStatic Disaster The U.K.: In The Red Records Sampler CD (In The Red, 2005, ITR 1313)
track: DrowningDaddy Rockin Strong: A Tribute to Nolan Strong & The Diablos (The Wind / Norton Records, 2010, TWR002 LP)
track: Mind Over Matter