Composer | Multi-instrumentalist | Educator
“Funk.” For some people, it’s just another genre of music. It’s the theme song from a ‘70s cop show. It’s “that kind of music that sounds like Bruno Mars.” It’s a word thrown around the parking lot of jam band shows to describe last night’s second set. Chuck an E9 chord with a wah pedal, pop & slap a few octaves on a bass, crank up the snare drum, and voila—there you have it folks. Canned funk ready for the masses.
But for a rare few, it’s a way of life. These people hear it in car horns honking during rush hour. In chirping of crickets and frogs at night. In raindrops that pitter-patter on the gutter. In between every step they take before the other foot hits the sidewalk. Reid Muchow is one of those rare few.
Reid entered the world funky on July 18, 1985, in a small town called Chatham, IL. Born into a household full of jazz & soul records and tons of instruments, Reid has constantly been surrounded by music for as long as he can remember. His father was a mainstay in the local music scene in the ‘70s, even sitting in with Bobby McFerrin and other heavy hitters of the soul, rock, and funk ilk.
By age 9, Reid had constructed his first drum set out of cardboard boxes and duct tape before graduating to a real kit after his parents saw potential in his playing. From then on, he was destined to absorb everything rhythmic that crossed his path. With an open mind and open ears, he’d spend countless hours over the next decade with headphones on teaching himself how to drum every lick from ever record he could get his hands on.
As you’d expect from any other angsty Midwestern youth in the late ‘90s, Reid skinned his drumming teeth on the metal funk of Korn, Incubus, 311, and Deftones. But as he matured, so did his musical palate, and before too long, he was perfecting James Brown, Headhunters, Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express, Tower of Power, John Scofield, Phish, and Meters grooves with finesse and acuity.
Reminiscing on his childhood, “Over the years I have chosen instruments to express that urge to play and imitate sounds and rhythms just like an infant learns how to communicate by imitating parents talking. I don't why I wanted to begin playing drums. Why I wanted to play bass. Why I wanted to sing at the top of my lungs. It's just something that’s pretty much always has been a constant in my life. I think that it's deeply imbedded in all of us. Like in Brazil, where toddlers learn polyrhythms before they can even walk! It's culture. It's upbringing. It's environment. It's nurture. And it’s in its essence that there is a mystery that keeps me wanting to chase it all."
Reid began delving into the more melodic spectrum of his musicality with bass guitar and singing, as well as exploring new avenues of creativity. An adept skateboarder, he further developed a unique sense of rhythm moving his body through time and space, and this certainly transposed into his approach to drumming. Skateboarding also bridged Reid into another creative realm—cinematography. He developed a keen sense of modern, minimal aesthetics by exploring filmography and video editing, bringing his Sony VX1000 with him everywhere and creating artistic films of the local skateboard scene.
As he graduated high school, Reid knew headphones could only take him so far while he was looking for new ways to dig deeper into the heritage of funk and music at large. He decided to pursue his passion in an academic setting, first at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, IL, where he studied music theory with Jane Hartman, jazz guitar with Frank Houston, and percussion/jazz ensemble/improvisation with Dave Pruit. From then, he moved to Chicago to pursue a bachelor’s degree in jazz studies at Roosevelt University, graduating in 2011. It was there that he really feels he was able to hone his discipline and breakthrough as a lifer musician. He studied jazz drum set with Paul Wertico, jazz theory with Scott Mason, jazz composition and arranging with Tom Garling, and Latin percussion with Ruben Alvarez.
Soon thereafter, Reid joined Chicago R&B/soul staple, The O’My’s, and toured nationally as their drummer. During his tenure, The O’My’s had two stints at SXSW and hit the road with renowned hip hop duo, The Cool Kids—a highlight of the tour being a performance as the troupe’s backing band at Lollapalooza 2011. After the O’My’s recorded their “Potty Mouth” EP, they tracked the instrumental arrangement of ZZ Ward’s “Lil’ Darlin” featured on the album "’Til The Casket Drops." This album featured artists Kendrick Lamaar, Ali Shaheed Muhammed (Tribe Called Quest), and Freddie Gibbs, amongst others, and generated three singles topping the Billboard Adult Alternative Songs chart.
Reid also toured as drummer for Chicago funkers The Heard in 2012, supporting Slightly Stoopid. After touring, he began a period of self-exploration, landing him at the University of New Orleans in 2015 as he considered continuing his formal education. Realizing he was desiring more visceral music education, he left his studies and immersed himself in the local New Orleans music culture playing in clubs and busking on the streets.
It was also during this time that he decided to move on from lifestyle choices that were hindering his development as a professional musician. Returning back to his home state of Illinois, Reid began focusing on his health and how it could enhance his musicality. Abstaining from alcohol, quitting smoking, eating cleaner, and cardiovascular exercise all began to play an essential part into his musical discipline.
Once he felt like he was in peak performing shape again, he relocated back to Chicago and landed a position as the full-time drummer of nationally renowned blues guru Brandon Santini. From 2016 to 2019, Reid ran the blues circuit with Santini’s band, touring the world, playing the 2018 Ottawa Blues Fest featuring the Foo Fighters, Beck, and Dave Matthews Band, as well as performing on Santini’s album “The Longshot,” which debuted #7 on the Billboard Blues Chart.
Other artists Reid has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with include Chance The Rapper, Buddy Guy, Mayer Hawthorne, Cole Degenova, Neal Francis, Erick “Jesus” Coomes, and Blended Babies
Road weary and ready for new opportunities, Reid is now returning to music education, although this time as a teacher himself. While he’s been teaching professionally since 2009—starting at Music Therapy Connections in Springfield, IL—it’s now one of his primary musical passions. He’s teaching drums, guitar, piano, ukulele, and vocals to musicians of all ages at Travelling Music Lessons and The Peoples Music School in Chicago, IL. He also has his own teaching studio space where he’s always accepting new students.
And most excitingly, he is returning to the studio to pursue his own multi-instrumental recordings. "I’ve always been into listening to all the instruments in music. How can I get this Rhodes to sound like a Herbie Hancock recording? How is it all layered together with the synths and the bass drum and the clave, and why does it sound the way that it does? What are they doing to make it sound how it sounds?” As he continues learning about recording and engineering techniques, he’s also leaning into his friends for their expertise and opening up entirely new approaches to creating his patented brand of funk. Expect new solo and collaborative work in the very near future.
Biography written by Bossa IV