Just before Britpop came along, a gaggle of Liverpool guitar bands swaggered out of the city and into the collective conscious of the music industry with the tunes and ‘tude the likes of Oasis would run away with just a short while later. These days the music game doesn’t have a collective conscious… but it does have room for the types of timeless melodies that said bands offered. And, thanks in part to the Internet, a few of them are back together and releasing new music. Reintroducing… Rain. By Alan O’Hare.
“People were getting in touch online and asking about the band, saying they wanted new tunes, old tunes and demos. We realised we still had a fan base out there… “. Colin Clarke, one of the great Liverpool singers, is talking about that spark you can’t start a fire without and the reunion of his band, Rain. But it’s the Internet, again, that plays the pivotal role in the reactivation of this rock ‘n’ roll band.
Some might say online activity has killed music… but it hasn’t, obviously. On the contrary, it’s given a rebirth to lots of bands like Rain – founded by Clarke and his fellow singing and songwriting cousin, Ned Murphy – who can now return to unfinished business. “You’re in direct contact with people who love your music,” declares Clarke. “That’s smart.” He’s not wrong. Why bother with the middle man? Clarke and Murphy, complete with a new rhythm section, have recorded their first album since Columbia Records released ‘A Taste Of Rain’ in the summer of 1991 and are launching it with a big gig at the brand new Hangar 34 this week.
The perfect time, then, for a chat about the making of the new album, how it feels to be playing live again and just how that second record came about after twenty five years…
‘Ten Belters & A Slow One’. What an album title!
It was a title we had for the first album and when we got the new one down to eleven songs, it just fit perfectly… so we recycled it!
The sound’s updated, though it’s still dominated by driving electric guitars. They sound great!
We were always a noisy, jangly and chiming guitar band. So, when we started putting the songs together, it felt natural to crank up the amps and go with it. When you plug those Telecasters in that feel is obvious and you just run with it.
Was that old Rain sound in your minds when you started recording?
Not really, it was very organic. We kicked around over thirty songs for this album and most are new tunes, with the odd exception which we had already, that we had a jam on and rearranged.
Come on, then, what got you and Ned back together playing again?
Songwriting. Every time we met, even in those days gone by when we were in different bands, we would show each other the new tune on the go and kick things around a bit. We always take ideas from each other and just buzz off it…
It’s a real partnership, isn’t it?
Being in the studio together was always my favourite thing to do – the creative process coming full circle from the idea of a tune, to the band sounding great playing something we’ve just written… it’s a smart feeling.
Tell us more about your creative life together…
We have three ways of writing: bring a tune in, almost fully formed, and kick it around with the band; a verse, chorus or chord sequence that we work on together to develop; and the riffs we jam that end up as tunes. What we give each other, though, is a kind of quality control – if one of us doesn’t like something, it won’t get played.
You funded the new album via Pledge. How did that go?
On the whole, good. If you can do it, I’d recommend it. It’s a great way to control everything and, like I said earlier, to stay in direct contact with those who love the music.
People responded and it was a success. Did it get you thinking about making up for lost time?
The next album is almost written and we’re looking at doing a good few gigs from now until the end of summer 2017. Then it’ll be back in the studio to record the next installment of craziness…
Speaking of which, your last headliner at The Magnet was ace. More of the same for the album launch?
Yes, it’s always a great night and the adrenaline rush is superb. Friday will be a cracker rock ‘n’ roll gig – with a few surprises…
Rain, ‘Ten Belters & A Slow One’, is out now and available from Probe Records
Friday, December 2nd 2016, 7.30pm
Hangar 34, Greenland Street, Liverpool
Get tickets (or £7 on the door)
Pic by John Johnson