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Reef’s Jesse Wood: “We worked in the way Keith Richards describes as ‘the ancient art of weaving’”

Reef’s Jesse Wood
(Image credit: C Brandon / Gettyq)

U.K. rockers Reef recently released Shoot Me Your Ace, their second album since they reformed in 2015 after a 12-year hiatus. Much like their last album, 2018’s Revelation, the band have channelled the influences of their heroes – acts like Humble Pie, Free and the Faces – to deliver a timeless, organic slice of modern classic rock. 

Perhaps the latter influence is no surprise, as the band features Jesse Wood, son of Ronnie Wood [Jeff Beck Group, the Creation, the Faces, the Rolling Stones, Ringo Starr’s Dead Giveway, etc.], on guitar.

The album was produced by Duran Duran’s Andy Taylor, who shared guitar duties with Wood. “We recorded the whole album over a weekend, which is pretty quick by anybody’s standards – six songs per day,” the younger Wood says. 

[“We worked in the way Keith Richards describes as ‘the ancient art of weaving.’ We’d trade solos and riffs; the whole idea is you end up with something that’s more than the sum of its parts. Andy has moved on to another project, so we’re debating whether we should get another guitarist in; it really is a two-guitar album, so we want to do it justice when we play live.”

Growing up, Wood didn’t get the benefit of having lessons from his father. “My parents split up when I was young and I lived with my mother. My dad did get a guitar made for me, though. It was called a Jessecaster, a tiny guitar with a [Seymour Duncan] Hot Rails pickup on it – I’ve still got it; it sounds great, raucous like Seasick Steve. My first acoustic was an old Gibson J-185 my dad gave me.”

My dad did get a guitar made for me. It was called a Jessecaster, a tiny guitar with a [Seymour Duncan] Hot Rails pickup on it – I’ve still got it; it sounds great

In terms of amps and guitars, Wood is a traditionalist. “I like the Epiphone Wilshire re-issues from about 2009,” he says. “I mainly use Vox amps; I have a deal with them, and they built me two 4x12 cabs in beige. I also use Hiwatt amps live. I just got a Plumes overdrive by EarthQuaker Devices. I use a Voodoo Lab Univibe, a [Dunlop] Slash wah and a lot of Strymon pedals.”

Prior to joining Reef, Wood was a huge fan of the band. He’d played in a number of his own bands and had also performed at various shows with his father.

“When Reef asked me to audition and I got the job, I was overjoyed. Everything just felt right. I remember when I was 13, I went to see the Stones on the Steel Wheels tour. I was standing at the back of the stage looking out onto the stadium. It was an amazing moment. I remember thinking I wouldn’t mind a bit of that. [Laughs] It started to resonate within my soul at that point.”

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Mark is a freelance writer with particular expertise in the fields of ‘70s glam, punk, rockabilly and classic ‘50s rock and roll. He sings and plays guitar in his own musical project, Star Studded Sham, which has been described as sounding like the hits of T. Rex and Slade as played by Johnny Thunders. He had several indie hits with his band, Private Sector and has worked with a host of UK punk luminaries. Mark also presents themed radio shows for Generating Steam Heat. He has just completed his first novel, The Bulletproof Truth, and is currently working on the sequel.