The Los Angeles music scene in the early 1980's was a place of diametric opposites in the early 1980's; the punk scene had become a form of conformity with cartoonish thugs churning out loud for the sake of being loud and held tightly to fashion while the last gasp of the bloated, cocaine driven superstar acts were still massive commercially but beginning to suffer a massive comedown culminating in a crash 'n' burn thanks to the visual media of MTV.
The Rain Parade were formed in 1981 by a pair of roomates- one California native (Steven Roback) and a transplant from Minneapolis (Matt Piucci). The pair were devouring music of the '60's, and found their creative calling within the sound of their The Byrds, The Doors and Love; bands that are the spiritual and geographical older brothers of The Rain Parade. The band drew inspiration from those groups and added the lilting drone of The Velvet Underground to the mix and created something that was entirely out of step with the rest of the L.A scene. The band was rounded out by Steven's brother David, Will Glenn, and
Michael Murphy and within their first year together self released the
incredible single you're about to enjoy. In a recent interview with The Austin Chronicle, Matt Piucci said of the times "When we started playing in Los Angeles, if you weren’t sweating like a
pig in a ripped T-shirt and screaming at the top of your lungs, then you
weren’t cool. It wasn’t valid. And we thought that was bullshit. We
thought it was very punk of us to play waltz tempos slowly with acoustic
guitars at punk clubs. We thought that was punk because nobody else was
I had the pleasure of asking Matt the other day if he had any special memories of the record, and he says
"It sure was a trip seeing that thing
spin around for the first time. Recorded 8 track at Radio Tokyo n Venice
with the late Ethan James. It was a tiny house that had been converted. I remember going in thinking I am putting a sitar in this no matter
Weird coincidence, I later learned that right before Ethan got it (the house that the studio was built in), my wife (who I was yet to meet) had lived there. Good karma"
Much has been made of the so-called 'Paisley Underground", and while the other bands associated with that scene drew on some obvious '60's influences, none matched the sheer blissed-out visionary droning brilliance of The Rain Parade. At this time, the only other band that was even performing were the still developing Bangles, who were known earlier as The Colors, then The Bangs, then by their more famous name. Bangles leader Susannah Hoffs was a neighbor of the Robacks and they all attended Pacific Palisades high school.
Matt's sitar is heard in all its glory on the b-side, the lysergic sugar cube bomb that is "Kaleidoscope".
The Rain Parade went on to release a 5 star LP in 1983 (Emergency Third Rail Power Trip), and a 5 star EP in '84 (Explosions In The Glass Palace), as well as a live album and another studio effort. David Roback left the band after Emergency and formed (the also brilliant) groups Clay Allison (which became Opal), and eventually Opal morphed into Mazzy Star. Steven Roback formed Viva Saturn, and Matt Piucci Gone Fishin' and also played in the (Neil Young less) Crazy Horse.
One of the thrills of my life as a musician was sharing the stage (my band played on the same bill) with the recently reformed Rain Parade, last December at Cafe Du Nord in San Francisco. I stood in awe listening to these magical sounds which I never thought I'd be able to hear live. Several times I had to politely ask people "please talk to me later, as this is a big deal for me to LISTEN to this set!!!" I watched in awe as Matt laid out the same whammy bar moves on the same Gretsch Tennessean as on the videos I've seen of the group back in the early '80's. Check out these two performances of "No Easy Way Down"; the first from 1983, the other 2012. -Derek See
It's the age-old question: "The Beatles or The Stones?". A lot of people like 'em both, but most everybody who's a fan of 1960s Pop-Rock music seems to have a preference for one or the other.
Music Video collector Spike Priggen (of the Scopitones.com & Bedazzled.tv blogs) will present a program of musical films by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones that compare and contrast their musical, song-writing and sartorial styles, year-by-year, trend-by-trend, from "mop-tops" to psychedelia.
The show will be a mix of live concert & television footage, mimed promotional clips, TV specials & promos, starting with some of their earliest known TV & newsreel appearances and taking them right up to the end of the 60s. Ocean County Library, Tom's River Branch, 101 Washington St. Toms River, NJ 08753 7pm on Monday May 6th 2013.
"Here's MC5 filmed live on the campus of Wayne State University in Michigan and aired on hometown TV show "Detroit Tubeworks" in 1970 doing their biggest hit "Kick Out The Jams." We found the master tapes of over 11 hours from this legendary show which had been stored in a basement in Michigan. Other great guests we found on this underground show from 1968-1973 include MC5, Ted Nugent, Phil Ochs, Commander Cody, Captain Beefheart, Earth, Wind & Fire, Humble Pie, Fleetwood Mac featuring Peter Green and Joe Cocker. Also part of this archive is a 45-minute unseen concert of the Rolling Stones filmed at Olympia Stadium in Detroit on their 1969 tour."
"This clip is a fully edited composite of very rare footage of the Hollies recording "On A Carousel" in the legendary Abbey Road Studios in 1967. This was cut from a 20-minute piece which features each of the band members recording their individual parts on that historic day, when in the next studio the Beatles were recording pieces of "Penny Lane"."