WRITTEN BY BY REBECCA TEAGARDEN
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BARRY WONG
Reggie Watts | Stage presence
The singer-dancer-actor-comedian extraordinaire for Maktub, a band purposely hard to describe, Reggie Watts also has a recent solo CD. Let's just say there's something for everyone from Reggie and the quintet: jazz, fusion, rock, R&B, soul, hip-hop, comedy and more. Maktub rings in 2005 as the New Year's Eve headliner at Experience Music Project and just wrapped up its latest album, "Say What You Mean," due out in spring. Reggie heads to Europe in January for a month-long stand-up comedy gig.
Q: Were you the one who was always putting on shows as a kid?
A: I used to do a lot of shows for my parents. But my first official show of sorts was in elementary school, I think it was fourth grade. I wrote an anti-drug show. I played a cop and a friend of mine played a druggie. I got a bag of parsley for marijuana and a big bag of flour for cocaine-looking stuff. I wasn't anti-drug at all. I just figured it was the best way to get them to let me put on a show. Chief Joseph Elementary in Great Falls, Mont.
Q: Anybody else in your family got the urge to entertain?
A: There's nobody on either side of my family who does any art as a profession, except for a cousin of mine, Alice Walker, the writer. She's a second cousin.
Q: Reginald Lucien Frank Roger Watts: That's a lot of name. What's that about?
A: My mother's French. It's a European thing to have three middle names.
Q: OK, world's longest question: You've been compared to Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Bryan Ferry, Isaac Hayes, Chris Cornell, Robert Plant. You've styled songs on your 2004 solo album "Simplified" in the vein of Hall and Oates, Depeche Mode and Joe Jackson. You sing soul, pop, hip-hop, jazz, rock, electronica, funk, R&B. You dance, sing, perform and do stand-up. Aren't you really, really tired?
A: Yes and no. If there was a cartoon of me being dragged on the ground by an arm, if you pulled back the camera, you'd see it was my own arm. I'm exhausted, but I'm addicted to doing these things.
Q: How old were you when you moved to Seattle to study jazz at Cornish College of the Arts?
Q: What's a bad habit you'd love to break?
A: My bad relationship with food. I set these standards for myself, and I always break them. Growing up in Montana, you eat the worst food always processed.
Q: Do you ever go back to Great Falls?
A: I do. Maybe once a year. Both of my parents are still there, together. It's odd, but all of Maktub's parents are still together.
Q: What was your favorite toy as a kid?
A: G.I. Joe. The big G.I. Joe. He had fuzzy hair. It was a really cool doll, I mean action figure.
Q: There are spells when you spend months and months on the road. What's your best travel tip?
A: Never check bags, no matter where you go. You don't need as much as you think. Go to the laundromat. I take one bag with toiletries and garments, one bag with electronics and a Tempur-Pedic travel pillow. Gotta have the pillow.
Q: What's your favorite and then least favorite thing about Seattle?
A: The rain, for both. I like the rain to create. I wish I had it on demand.
Q: What's your favorite thing to do with a day off?
A: I like to go to the beach; Magnuson, Denny-Blaine and Madison. And I love going to the movies. I'm a movieaholic. And Frisbee.
Q: What is one thing you can't live without?
Rebecca Teagarden is assistant editor of Pacific Northwest magazine. Barry Wong is a magazine staff photographer.
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