Reggie and the Full Effect combine infectious melodies, sappy love songs, good-natured yet offbeat slyness, and comic sensibility like virtually no other "band" before them. Reggie albums are full of skits, hooky pop songs, and chunky guitar playing that appeal to fans of punk rock, emo, and hardcore alike. There are two sides to the Reggie and the Full Effect story. One is fictitious and humorous -- the tale of a bluesman named Reggie who vanished at the height of his career, and whose lost "White Chocolate Studios" recordings were recently unearthed and dropped at the doorstep of a couple of independent record labels. The other is the real story. Reggie is actually the Get Up Kids' keyboard player and former Coalesce drummer James Dewees, making records on which he plays all of the instruments.
The project began during some downtime for Coalesce. Dewees recorded a batch of songs starting with the drums first, building them all the way up on his own. Occasionally, members of the Get Up Kids would drop by the Kansas City studio to participate, but for the most part, the songs contained on Reggie's albums are solely of Dewees' creation. Second Nature Recordings released the first album, playfully titled Greatest Hits 1984-1987, in 1998. After that, Dewees performed a handful of live shows with the Get Up Kids as his backing band. Shortly before Coalesce disbanded, Dewees joined up with the Get Up Kids full-time, not long before they signed with Vagrant for both themselves and Reggie and the Full Effect, inking a deal that also included the creation of their own Heroes and Villains imprint.
The second Reggie album, Promotional Copy, was conceived at Red House Studios together with producer Ed Rose, and surfaced in 2000. It was supported by a string of live dates utilizing members of Ultimate Fakebook. That same year, Reggie released a split 7" single with the band Koufax. In 2001, Reggie and the Full Effect toured on a leg of the Vagrant America package tour. Dewees rejoined a re-formed Coalesce in 2002, while continuing to work with the Get Up Kids and as Reggie. He also split his time recording another Reggie and the Full Effect album. Under the Tray, which highlighted some of the band's brightest work, arrived in February 2003. The more personal Songs Not to Get Married To was issued two years later, and included guest appearances from the likes of members of the Get Up Kids, Coalesce, and From Autumn to Ashes -- or as Dewees puts it, his "all-star friends." Last Stop: Crappy Town, the group's fifth long-player, arrived in 2008, followed by No Country for Old Musicians in 2013 and 41 in early 2018.