Only one group held the title of house band at the famed, erstwhile Jockey Club: the Reduced. Informal artists-in-residence from 1982 to 1988, the punk rockers—fronted by Bill Leist and a fluid list of bandmates—had a New York Dolls vibe and reputation for putting on quite the show. “We were a really good live band,” says drummer Jim Smith.
The group opened many a performance by carrying Leist to the mic in a casket. “Our bass player at the time lived above Radel Funeral Home,” remembers Smith. “We’d store the casket in my living room between gigs. It was a big hit every time.”
The Reduced hung around through the early 2000s, but made only one album, Drastically Reduced!, an eight-track recording in April 1986. Leist hated his vocals on tape, so it remained under wraps until he passed away in 2014, after which Smith and bassist Michael Gregory decided it was time for a revival. They had the album mixed at Group Effort Studio in Ft. Mitchell—where it was originally recorded—and mastered at Ultrasuede Studio. Shake It Records pressed 500 vinyl EPs for a Record Store Day release this past April. “That made it sound like it always did when we played it live, ya know?” says Smith. “It’s just beautiful.”
Drastically Reduced! is available at Shake It Records