But for the fourth full-length Reggie release, Songs Not to Get Married To, Dewees took a slightly surprising turn down a more introspective path. There are fewer character sketches, drunken sound clips, and songs by fake metal bands here--and a lot more honesty in their place.
"That was kind of the point, to not be a character on this record and just be myself," says Dewees. "I'm still a fucking weird person, I guess, but at the same time I'm also a human being. I do have emotions and things can bother me the way they bother everybody else. It's not like I live in a 24-hour carnival."
During the recording of Songs, Dewees' life was far from a carnival. His other band, the Get Up Kids (he plays keyboard), announced their breakup and he was also getting divorced. With all of that on his mind, he decided to make a record. "I didn't have a choice," Dewees says with a laugh.
"I just finished the Get Up Kids tour and I was soon leaving to go out with New Found Glory on the Warped Tour. I had three weeks to do the record and that was also the three weeks I was going to be in town to handle all the divorce stuff."
So instead of trying to escape into a silly Reggieland, Dewees recorded a different side of himself--a side that doesn't include wigs and fake accents. (Okay, there are still a few fake accents.)
"I wanted to keep the record separate from what was going on in my personal life and just do a Reggie record," says Dewees, "but then I found out about the Get Up Kids and it was like, 'Wow, double whammy.'"
Listening to Songs, you hear everything that went through Dewees' head--from anger to confusion to acceptance--being delivered in a wide range of genres. The songs touch on everything from metal to power pop to melancholy ballads. The standout track is "Get Well Soon," a crunchy pop song laced with Reggie's signature catchy keyboards and a chorus where Dewees repeatedly asks, "Is it getting better? Is it getting worse?"
He never gets too heartbroken to laugh, though; there are a few funny surprises in the mix too.
With all the drama hopefully behind him, Dewees is moving on to the next step--Reggie and the Full Effect's world domination.
"I've had Reggie for a long time and it does pretty well," he says. "Now I can actually put more effort into it and make it more of a real band and tour, which is something I haven't really been able to do with it in the past."