Reed recorded his first single aged 18, Psykik Volts' Totally Useless // Horror Stories #5, which received heavy airplay from John Peel. The single featured on a 2006 list of "Rarest Punk Singles" in Record Collector Magazine, and has been re-issued several times since its original release.
Alongside vocalist Victor Vendetta, Reed was signed to Rockburgh Records in 1980/81. The pair released a single Wooden Heart // (Rise of the) Appliances, comprising re-recorded versions of Volts songs. The record was released under the name Pop-Tones (after the Public Image song).
Reed joined 1919 shortly after their inception, and quickly formed a strong writing partnership with guitarist Mark Tighe. Although the band were only active for three years, they were prolific, releasing Machine LP along with the singles Repulsion // Tear Down These Walls, Caged // After the Fall, Cry Wolf // Dream, and the unauthorised EP Earth Song. 1919 also recorded two Peel Sessions and featured on a number of compilations during this time, but in 1984 Reed's departure to form The Hive would signal the end of the band for three decades - his "tribal" drumming and partnership with Tighe having been fundamental to the 1919 sound. In 1985, The Hive released their only album Stream Of Consciousness, and the single Kingdom Rise Kingdom Fall before their departure.
Reed formed the neo-prog psychedelic band Ship of Fools alongside Guitarist Andy Banks, former 1919 synth player Sputnik (bass), and keyboardists Damien Clarke and Les Smith. Friendly with the heads of the Dreamtime label, an offshoot of heavy metal distributors Peaceville Records, the band eventually signed with them and became the premiere psychedelic eccentrics on the label. Offering two albums in their lifetime, 1993's Close Your Eyes, Forget the World and 1994's Out There Somewhere, the band was a highly experimental force of mind-altering music until they broke up in a haze of bad feelings and musical differences in 1996. Leaving behind a short but excellent catalog of material, Smith (who had gone on to join the decidedly un-psychedelic black metal phenomenon Cradle of Filth) compiled their music and in 2002 released Let's Get This Mother Outta Here, a farewell collection that summed up their career and paid a lasting tribute to their bizarre vision.
As well as contributing to a number of studio projects such as Nine Invisibles, and a quasi-active touring lineup of Ship of Fools (which would include eventual 1919 bassist Karl Donner), Reed focussed mainly on touring and session work during this period. Working with old friends in Anathema, Cradle of Filth, and Paradise Lost, Reed performed a number of roles from drum technician to live and studio sessions.
In 1996, Reed and Nine Invisibles provided music for the song Chip Away, which featured the voice of Labour Party MP Tony Benn. The song was recorded for Campaign For Free Education's fundraiser CD "No Compromize", which helped campaign against the introduction of tuition fees in the UK. Alongside Chip Away were tracks contributed from a host of big names, such as Suede, Chumbawumba, and New Model Army. In 1998, vocals for two tracks on Mandala's album Gurning the Midnight Oil, another project of Reed's, were provided by Howard Marks. The tracks were Grow It Everywhere and Loose In The Temple.
After guitarist Tighe had set about reforming the band with vocalist Rio Goldhammer, recording a demo for Revenge in the process, it was announced that Reed would be returning to the fold full-time, introducing Donner to complete the lineup. The reunion was confirmed on August 30th 2015, and the band wasted no time in getting started. By the end of October they had recorded 2015: "The Madness Continues" Sessions... and performed at La Nuit Fantasmagothic in Angoulême, France. In February 2016, 1919 released Death Note, their first EP in over 30 years, and announced plans for a full new album and tour to follow before the end of the year.