Founded in 1981 as The Sidewalks by founding members and college roommates Matt Piucci (guitar, vocals) and David Roback (guitar ,vocals) Rain Parade expanded to a quintet with the addition of Roback’s brother Steven (bass, vocals), Will Glenn (keys, violin) and then Eddie Kalwa (drums). And with the release of their debut single “What She’s Done to Your Mind” in 1982, the members of Rain Parade quickly established themselves within Los Angeles‘ Paisley Underground psych rock scene in the early 80s, a scene which also included The Bangles, one of the more famous and commercially successful bands of the entire scene.
Building on the attention they started to receive, the members of the quintet released their debut effort 1983’s Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, an album that renowned music critic Jim DeRogatis would later write in Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock that “Emergency Third Rail Power Trip is not only the best album from any of the Paisley Underground bands, it ranks with the best psychedelic rock efforts from any era,” as the band’s sound was largely inspired by The Byrds, early Pink Floyd, and others, but with dark and introspective themes.
Shortly after Rain Parade’s debut, David Roback left the band to form a new band Opal, and the band continued as a quartet, releasing 1984’s mini-LP Explosions in the Glass Palace, an album which NME would later praise for its “mind-meltingly beautiful guitar sounds, employed sparingly and dynamically amid dark, dizzy tales of murder, madness and drug paranoia.”
Eddie Kalwa left the band after the release of “You Are My Friend” and was repalced by Marc Marcum (drums) and John Thoman (guitar, vocals) was recruited to fill out the band’s second lineup, just as they were signed to Island Records. The reconstituted quintet released two more albums — Beyond The Sunset, a live album recorded in Japan and 1985’s Crashing Dream before breaking up. And unsurprisingly, the various members of the band went on to other creative pursuits with David Roback later forming Mazzy Star with Hope Sandoval.
In 2012, members of Rain Parade’s original lineup, Matt Piucci, Steven Roback and John Thoman, along with Mark Hanley, Alec Palao and Gil Ray, formerly of Game Theory played a reunion/comeback gig at Cafe Du Nord in San Francisco and that lineup played a number of live shows over the next two years, before Gil Ray’s departure due to cancer. Stephan Junca replaced Ray, who died earlier this year.
Almost 35 years after their initial releases, Real Gone Music will be re-issuing Rain Parade’s seminal and critically applauded first two efforts — Emergency Third Rail Power Trip and Explosions in the Glass Palace both digitally and on CD, with “Look Both Ways,” a track that was cut from the original Stateside release. Remastered by SonicVision’s Mike Milchner and approved by the band’s Matt Piucci and Steve Roback, the remastered re-issue is the first remastering of both efforts since they were initially released on CD back in the early 90s. And along with that the re-ssiue will include expanded liner notes from Paisley Underground critic and history Pat Thomas based on interviews and reminisces from the band’s founding members.
The re-issue’s first single is the jangling and anthemic “This Can’t Be Today,” a track that manages to be anachronistic — while we may know that the band was inspired by 60s psych rock, and it was released in the early 80s, it feels as though it could have been recently released by a contemporary act — i.e. Elephant Stone and others; however, its served with a sobering reminder of the fact that for every Susanna Hoff and The Bangles, there are countless bands, who receive some relative level of success before quickly disappearing. Should Rain Parade have been bigger? Perhaps but the re-issue is a key document of what was going on in the Paisley Underground scene.