5 Questions with The Reparations

The Reparations began showing up on Little Rock stages in Jan. 2009. The lineup of Jonathan Wilkins, Will Boyd and Matt Floyd created a supergroup of the unexpected kind and it wasn’t long before The Arkansas Times raved “Jonathan Wilkins recruited the best rhythm section in town – Matt Floyd (bass) and Will Boyd (drums). They’re going by The Reparations now (great rock ‘n’ roll name) and playing with a practiced abandon that’s mesmerizing to watch. People, this is a band ready to blow up.”

For several years prior, St. Louis native Jonathan Wilkins steadily made a name for himself playing his unique brand of folk around Little Rock, AR. Not your typical folkie by anyone’s standards, Wilkins moved to Arkansas in 2001 to attend Hendrix College and began churning out solid solo acoustic records. 2002’s Minority Identity Development, Basement Contentment (2004) and the Boom!  EP (2006) blended blues, country, rock and punk with folk elements. Wilkins’ presence on the Little Rock scene led him to shows with Lucero, Cory Branan, the Pack A.D., Hayes Carll, and Kimya Dawson.

In 2008, Jonathan teamed up with multi-instrumentalist and producer Will Boyd of local heroes turned national touring act The American Princes, and formerly of international multiple Grammy winners Evanescence to record Highway Robbery, with the help of Todd Beene (Lucero, Glossary) and Isaac Alexander (The Easys, Big Silver). The record marked a departure for Wilkins, interpreting his songs in more of what he has called “an American Rock ‘n’ Roll format”. Wilkins and Boyd began playing live shows around town with Boyd’s “wild-eyed drumming” (Arkansas Times) the perfect counterpoint to Wilkins’ percussive style of playing.

Bassist Matt Floyd, infamous on the Little Rock music scene for his hard traveling as a member of Go Fast and Smoke Up Johnny (tour-mates of Green Day side-project Foxboro Hottub), joined the lineup in 2009 and The Reparations were born. The trio hit the ground running, placing 2nd in the Arkansas Times Musician’s Showcase and playing Little Rock’s biggest summer music festival Riverfest to an audience of 150,000 people. The band has continued playing steadily around Little Rock and beyond, sharing the stage with John Paul Keith and the 1,4,5’s, Graham Wilkinson, The Sideshow Tragedy, River City Tanlines, American Aquarium, American Princes, and Deer Tick.

The Reparations first full length LP Ride or Die will be released in March of 2011 with national tour dates supporting the release. According to Wilkins, the genre-bending energy of The Reparations’ live shows is all over the new disc. “There’s probably about 10 primal rhythms and chord progressions that are inherent in every style of music popular in the Western world, and it’s an analysis of those. Ultimately I write pop songs, hopefully in the best possible sense. “

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