All of your memories and experiences in your book are in such vivid detail. Did you keep a journal back then, or do you just have a really good memory?
I did not keep a journal. To be honest, I never imagined in a millions years I would ever write a book like that. In fact, the idea of writing the book in the first place didn’t even occur to me until five months after David died. I had been writing short stories, pretty much since the 7th grade—I even took creative writing in high school and as electives in college for my degree—but I had never attempted, or even desired, to write a full length 90K word book yet (although I had probably written well over 90K words in my short stories combined through the years). The problem was that I had so much grief about David’s death, that I didn’t know where to put it. I didn’t know where to put the emotions of his death and how it was affecting me. My roommate at the time suggested writing down my memories as a way to revisit what we had gone through together. I talked to my fiancé at the time (now my wife) about possibly writing a book about David’s band. More of a traditional biography than what the book eventually turned out to become. She encouraged me tremendously with sitting down and diving head first into writing something that would be much more than just a story. I decided that I should write it more as a memoir, or as a novel would read where the story itself is more important than the actual players. I knew that David still had thousands of fans all over the world, but I wanted to write something where the reader didn’t even need to know who David was to understand and enjoy the book. I mean, I’ve had reviewers state that this could have been a fictional story with a fictional band, and it would have been just as effective. So when I decided to commit it writing my first honest to God book, I knew that I was going to need some help remembering the tiny little details of those early days hanging out with David. I contacted most of the people that are in the book and we spent hours pooling our memories together so I would get all the details right. After I finished each chapter, I would email it off to the people who were also there during those specific times and ask if their memory remembered those times the same way. A few time I would get a reply from either Mike or Dann saying, “No, I remember that night and this part didn’t happen at the bar, it happened in the club.” And I would go, “Oh yeah, that’s right!” So it really was the work and help of a collective group of people to help me nail down those earlier days and all the minute details of conversations and places. But I think I was so in awe of David at the beginning too, that most of our time together stuck out so vividly because they were so important to me.
You have always been into a vast amount of bands, encompassing many genres. Why do you think God Lives Underwater stood out above all the rest?
God Lives Underwater encompasses everything I love about rock music and electronic music smooshed together. Sure there are many industrial-rock bands out there like Nine Inch Nails. But God Lives Underwater had this ability to write songs with so much melody and chorus hooks that it felt like they found a way to summon the pop side of bands like Electric Light Orchestra and The Beach Boys, and mash it together with the electronic integrity of artists like Depeche Mode and David Bowie, and sprinkle just enough distortion and alternative-rock guitars that sounded like Radiohead or The Smashing Pumpkins. Their songs are just like the perfect storm for me: pop-y, rock-y, and techno-y. So God Lives Underwater is the epitome of liking a band that encompasses many genres.
You have been in quite a few bands yourself. Did you you ever ask David for musical advice? Did you ever try to write songs together?
We never tried to write together. My band’s music was a little too harsh and abrasive for his taste. He supported me 100%, but I have always been in more metal bands that sound closer to Deftones or Ministry, where David preferred to listen to artists like Spiritualized, Cat Stevens, and Elbow. David was always giving me musical advice, whether I asked for it or not.
You created a website in memory of David as well. Tell me about it.
Well, the book originally came out in 2007. Then the publishing company I was on folded in 2012 and all their authors became homeless and their whole catalog went off the market. While searching for a new publishing company to re-release the book, I decided it was a good time to revise some of the stuff in the book that I was never really 100% happy with. So I hired editor Dan Ezra Golden (who happened to be a huge fan of David’s music and had read the book originally). We worked for about 10 months re-editing the book while I shopped publishing companies. This also allowed me to add an Epilogue into the book which wasn’t originally part of the 2007 release. I found a new publishing company and the book was released as a second edition in 2014. I realized that after David died, God Lives Underwater and David’s personal website was just left by the wayside. No one was keeping it updated and eventually they both expired and was taken down. I felt it was a disservice to David and to the rest of the guys in his band that the only information or website on this amazing band was a WiKi page. So I got permission from David’s sister to build and launch an official website that was both dedicated to God Lives Underwater and David’s solo albums. It was launched in April, 2014 just before the book was re-released. The website has every single God Lives Underwater song and music video and interview, plus every song David recorded as a solo artist after God Lives Underwater broke up in 2001. I use the Metrics app to gauge traffic to the website on a weekly basis, and the site has consistently never dropped below 100 visitors every single week. So obviously people are still searching out God Lives Underwater and David’s music. I have also received many emails from fans from all over the world thanking me for finally putting together a central “mecca” of David’s work all on one site. I actually had a fan from Russia, who also bought my book by finding out about it through the website, ask if he could Skype with me in person. I agreed and we talked on the phone for half an hour. A complete stranger from Russia! The site is www.DavidReillyGLU.com for anyone interested in checking it out.
Do you keep in touch with any of the other members of God Lives Underwater?
I am Facebook friends with Jeff Turzo (guitarist and keyboard player). We interact purely through posts; liking posts or commenting on posts, very superficial. Every once in a GREAT while, I’ll exchange an email with Drew McGee (guitarist) but that is so few and far between. I live in Japan and I found out that Scott Garett (drummer on the last 2 albums) was in Tokyo last year for a week on vacation and I tried to contact him to see if he would meet for a drink or something but he never replied. But back when I started writing the book in 2006, Adam Kary (drummer on the first 2 albums), spent a lot of time sending messages back and forth. I have been told, and this is just hearsay, that David’s drug addiction took such a toll on the rest of the guys in the band with just day to day band business, that they have a hard time even talking about him. So I think that has kept me away from REALLY trying to reconnect with these guys… guys that I spent a lot of time with in personal situations that I felt very close with for many years. But it is what it is.
Have you written any other books? Tell me about them.
Yes. Oddly, I joke that David dying was the best thing that ever happened to my writing career. Without this book, I never would have written a full length book, or got published, or had a career as an author in a commercial sense. My second novel, “Welcome to Parkview” came out in 2010. It’s a macabre-style cerebral horror novel about a town where nothing is what it seems, and there are fair amount of things that go bump in the night hiding out with everyday people. My third novel, “Yours Truly, 2095”, just came out last week! It’s a time travel semi-romance mystery story about a man from 1981 who wakes up in 2095, not knowing how he got there, and finds out that his wife from 1981 is also there too… but she’s not really how she originally appears—she really there to stop him from trying to get back to his time and to his real wife. All 3 novels are available in paperback, eBook, and audiobook. And they are available on all major online stores worldwide. There was even trailers made for my first 2 books. Here is a link for the trailer for “Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts” and the link for the trailer for “Welcome to Parkview”. The trailer for “Yours Truly, 2095” is in production right now. Also, Mike Turner (the guitarist for the band Our Lady Peace) wrote and recorded all the music for the audiobook and the trailer for “Yours Truly, 2095.”
Are you working on any new projects– books or music– now?
Well, the last album I released was from my band Transpose back in 2011 called “Retribution.” So it’s been 4 years since I have released any music and I wouldn’t be lying if I said the itch is there to create music again. I have teamed up with a producer and hip-hop composer from Florida named Darius Malloy. We have been writing together since last year and currently I have 12 songs finished; just the music, no vocals. These 12 songs are going to be the songs that make up my first solo album. The next step is to write the lyrics and then record the vocals. I’m hoping to release the album sometime in 2016. My next book project is going to be another non-fiction memoir-based book about the 8 months that my wife was deployed to Africa and I was at home in the states taking care of our 11 month old son and 2 year old daughter. The book is going to be my experience being a male military spouse with 2 toddlers for 8 months and all the chaos than ensued. I’m titling the book “Mr. Navy Wife” and I’m hoping to have that published late-2016 or early-2017.
Finally, I see that you are living in Japan these days. How did that come about?
My wife is an Officer in the Navy and they stationed us here back in 2011. However we are moving back to the states this year. Her time in Japan is coming to an end.