The result was Reis abandoning all of his usual ideas of layering and overdubs. "We just went in and did it live--we were all hanging out in the same room, the horns were there, the drums were there, the guitars were there," he says. "We were all just kind of looking at each other and playing it. We didn't spend any time on a drum sound or a guitar sound; we just kind of set up all our own equipment--we were just in this room playing, and we got great sounds."
In fact, it created a big, natural sound for a band whose recordings had consistently been criticized for not doing its live show justice. While no recording could quite capture the ferocity of a Rocket show, this is as good a representation as anyone could ask for.
"I think the one thing you'll find, whether it be the guitars, bass, drums, horns or the vocals, is that everybody has their finest moments on this record," Reis says. "No one has sounded better. You can finally almost tell that Atom hits his drums hard. It wasn't like there was any tricks or gimmicks or anything--we used all of our own stuff, and there's not a lot of effects on anything--there's not any effects on the drums, or guitars, and there's barely any on the vocals."
RFTC's wide-ranging diversity should not slap longtime Rocket fans in the collective face. "If you look back at what we've done in the past, you can see that there has been a logical kind of path that has led us to this record," Reis explains. "I think there are certain things that have influenced the band in the past, and I think they're just more realized on this record. Rocket From the Crypt is always about changing and evolving into the band that we want to be, although where we're going next is not always certain. It definitely isn't figured out."
But Reis is happy with where Rocket is right now. He says the new album is "the best one so far," but adds, "There will be others. It's not like this is our last one, so if people don't like it, that's too bad, but in no way is this the Rocket From the Crypt of the future--it's like this is the Rocket From the Crypt of today, and we'll see what it's going to be like tomorrow."
Rocket From the Crypt is scheduled to perform on Friday, June 5, at Jackson Hole, with Los Cincos. Showtime is 8 p.m.