The first interviewee in our People section is Charlie Reese. Hailing from Lakeland he plays guitar in Pilgrimage. Charlie is one of the people who started me on my journey of music photography. I’m very pleased he accepted this interview!
Hit play to listen to Charlie’s music while you read!
Anthony: When did you start playing music?
Charlie: I started taking piano lessons when I was about 7 or 8, but I really wanted to be in a rock band and didn’t think piano was very rock n roll, so when I was 12 or so I started playing my dads old acoustic guitar. He taught me the 6 chords he knew and from there I played around and learned chords off the internet and played guitar in the church band.
A: When did music become something serious in your life?
C: Music has always been a big part of my life. I always knew it would be something I would do. I guess I really remember listening to Third Eye Blind’s CD as a kid, singing along in my room and wanting to be a rock star. But more than that, when I started writing my own songs I really enjoyed the outlet and having something I created out of my head to share with people.
A: What was the first band you played in?
C: When I was a freshman in high school, my friend Justin (now of Dryspell) and I would write lyrics and pass them back and forth in class and we got our friends to start a band with us. We called ourselves Odie and played terrible pop punk music.
A: What were some major events that have made you the musician you are today?
C: I went to Columbia College in Chicago for a few years, very artsy hipster school, and there I really got to expand my musical taste. It changed the avenue of music I wanted to write. The second event would be a Lakeland band called Fire Spoken by the Buffalo. They got me going out to shows again and i wanted to be in that band so bad that eventually their guitarist left and i got the chance to play in my favorite band. That’s really when i thought i could actually be serious about being a musician.
A: Who are you top 5 central Florida bands?
A: Beer or Liquor?
C: I am not much of a beer or liquor guy, but if I was answering for the other guys in the band…Yes, please.
A: How did you meet the guys in Pilgrimage?
C: Matt (guitarist) was in Fire Spoken by the Buffalo which I joined toward the end of the band’s life. When that ended Matt and I wanted to keep making music. He had heard of Clint (drummer) through friends and so we brought him in. Clint was in bands with Jeremy for years and brought him in to play bass. We all got along swimmingly and it’s been great making music with those guys!
A: What’s next for Pilgrimage?
C: We have a number of new songs on deck, ready to be recorded, and so we’ll be starting to track those in the very near future and hopefully have something new for you to hear by the end of the year. Also planning on doing a couple 3 or 4 day runs out and keep playing shows around once we get the recording in full swing. I’m excited.
A: What is your favorite venue?
C: My favorite venues have been the house shows we’ve played. The Cloud House in Valrico and The School House in Orlando have been excellent environments and they’ve put on a number of successful shows.
A: What’s the craziest show you’ve played?
C: I think the craziest show we ever played was in our hometown at our (now closed) local venue Evolution Records. It was one of our first shows but immediately I could tell that the music we were making really intrigued people and even though they had never heard the songs before the crowd was into it. The energy in that room was crazy and it was just an overwhelming feeling of acceptance and community that live music allows you to experience. In those moments it doesn’t matter what band shirt you’re wearing or how cool your record collection is. It was one of those pure moments where there was only the music and the sense of community. Those are the moments I live for and why (I hope) people go to shows.
A: What does playing music mean to you?
C: The band Pilgrimage, for me, is a lot like how it sounds. I use writing and playing music as a sort of prayer or reflection. When I make music, I hope it takes me on a journey and makes me feel many different things, transforms my original state into something better. I think god is in the music and, for me, church is the gathering of people to experience that musical journey together. We aren’t a religious band, but I would say that we are spiritual and use this band a vessel for finding out the bigger picture, working things out and questioning the state of ourselves and the world around us so that we are always progressing