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The Mavericks' Robert Reynolds 

For about five years in the mid-'90s, the Mavericks were one of the hottest bands in country music. Riding the wave of "country cool," the Mavericks brought a rebellious attitude from their home in Miami to the generally conservative Music City.

However, in spite of their commercial success, outspoken lead singer Raul Malo created too much controversy in the staid Nashville industry, and the band took one too many musical chances with their groundbreaking Trampoline album. In addition, the face of country music was changing, and the Mavericks were going in a different direction from the rest of the pack. The band eventually cut ties with MCA, and following a brief and unproductive stint with Mercury Records, they decided to take a break. In a recent phone interview, bassist Robert Reynolds reflects on the band's history and looks to the future.

Creative Loafing: What happened in the industry from the time you signed with MCA until the hiatus?

Robert Reynolds: A lot of the excitement from the early '90s had died off, and I guess things sort of ran their course. We were successful due to a combination of good music, good promotion and good timing. The labels also decided they want to repeat the formula that sells 3 million-4 million albums, not 500,000. Over time, it seemed like the Mavericks were more problematic than profitable. We were not comfortable with certain things in the industry, such as the "congeniality contest," where everyone is expected to say nice things about everyone else.

Why reform now?

Raul has been writing a lot of songs, and he feels that a lot of the new material fits the Mavericks' style more than his solo work. Also, there's an emotional aspect. We have been playing together for over 13 years, and we are a band that has experienced all the career ups and downs together. After taking some time off, we know now that it's not an exclusive situation, and that we can all do other things without being concerned with each other.

How did the time away affect the new music of the Mavericks?

We are going to start recording in May, so I'm not sure what all we will be doing. I know that Raul is getting back to writing more introspective material in his lyrics, so a lot of the new stuff may be a move away from the "good time" and lounge music. I like what I have heard so far. We hope to do what the Mavericks have always done -- blend popular styles and allow them to influence what we do.

The Mavericks play the Ford/Fox 5/WABE Stage Sat., May 3, at 8:45 p.m.

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