Even though all 4 members of REEF have West Country connections, it wasn't until each individual had moved to London in 1993 that the band was born.
Gary Stringer, Jack Bessant, Kenwyn House and Dominic Greensmith ended up living together on the outskirts of West London. Using Gary's bedroom as their rehearsal room the four piece soon started touting for gigs.
Within 6 months the band had attracted interest from many major record labels and soon recorded some demos, which although financed by Sony offshoot S2, were released on 7 inch single using an independent mark during 1994. This single containing the songs 'Good Feeling' and 'Choose to live' was picked up on by Paul Weller, who offered the band a support slot on his 'Wild Wood' tour. REEF signed with Sony S2 later that year and were then flown out to New York to record a TV advert for the then-new technology of the Sony mini disc.
1995 saw REEF tour with Sound garden and, by invitation, with The Rolling Stones as the band built up a reputation as electric live performers. 'Good Feeling' was released again, (this time through S2) and scored as the bands first of their 9 top 40 singles, preceding their gold selling debut album 'Replenish' which peaked at *9 in the UK charts.
In 1996 the band were able to show off their football skills as they entered and won the 2nd SOCCER SIX CUP, seeing off competition from Blur and Oasis, before beating Apollo 440 (the previous years winners) in the final. Work also started on the follow up to 'Replenish' in the form of the 1997 release 'Glow'.
Produced by George Drakoulias, 'Glow' was recorded both at London's Abbey Road Studios and Sound City in Los Angeles. On the week of its release, 'Glow' went straight to number 1 in the UK album charts and spawned the band’s biggest hit 'Place Your Hands' along with 3 other top 40 singles . The album also provided a platform for the band to tour all over the world as well as here at home, with REEF headlining the other stage at Glastonbury festival alongside appearances at Glasgow's T in the park and both V festivals.
In early 1999 Reef released their third album 'Rides'. Recorded at Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles (The Beach Boys 'Pet Sounds' and Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' were also recorded here) and working again with 'Glow' producer George Drakoulias, the band set about making a more expansive sounding record,swapping instruments on some songs and adding new sounds on others (David Campbell, the father of the American artist Beck, for example, added the string arrangements for this work). The album reached *3 in the UK and contained the top 20 single 'I've Got Something To Say'.
The autumn of the year 2000 saw REEF release their fourth studio album 'Getaway' under the stewardship of a new producer, Al Clay (Pixies/Stereophonics). Although critically well received, this album didn't have the same commercial success as earlier REEF records but still made *15 in the album charts and included the upbeat hit 'Set The Record Straight'.
After successfully working 'Getaway' around the world for over a year REEF stepped off the touring circuit and disappeared to the West Country to concentrate on writing songs for a new record. Progress was leisurely, as REEF enforced their own pace on proceedings at arms length from the record label in London.
During the last months of 2002 and reunited with George Drakoulias in Ocean way studios,REEF recorded 5 of these songs to tape. Released in early 2003 alongside the previous 9 top 40 hits and a cover of the apt Kenny Roger's song 'Just Dropped In (to see what condition my condition was in)’ these recordings made up the final REEF album 'Together'.
Each member of the band has pursued their own musical path in various guises since 2003, (THEM IS ME/ BLACK SWAN EFFECT/ GOLDRAY/ STRINGERBESSANT) but after over 6 years without playing as REEF, 2010 saw the band reunite for a run of sell out shows throughout the UK as well as slots at Glastonbury and the Isle of Wight festivals. New shows were announced for 2011 due to popular demand, and talks of an all encompassing box set for possible future release through the Metropolis Group commenced. 2011 also saw REEF perform play before the Community Shield Final between Manchester City and Manchester United.
REEF, even after a few years away from the public eye, are still sought after to perform at high profile events. In May 2012, they played at Lakefield Festival and appeared at Triumph Live on the 31 August 2012.
Through their relationship with Metropolis Group the band created the REEF 93/03 Ultimate Collectors box set, containing everything the band had ever done (released and un-released) between 1993 and 2003. The set included CDs, DVDs, Vinyl, Posters, Tapes and a 64-page gloss booklet.During summer 2013 REEF are were back on the road playing a handful of festivals including Lusty Glaze, Car Fest (North & South) and The Galtres Parklands Festival. November will see the band head out on a 6 date headline tour to celebrate their 20th Anniversary year. Dates include shows at London Koko, Manchester Ritz and Glasgow o2 ABC. Through their Facebook page REEF are celebrating the 20th of every month with their fans by sharing new photos, holding giveaways and getting input into their tour later this year.
2013 is a milestone year for these West Country boys. What started as a bedroom project has already spanned a 20 year career and who knows, it could last another 20!