We've been hearing about a certain band that has been creating some noise on stages across the States for the past year 1/2 and we decided to check them out. Meet nascent rockers Rains who have just kicked-off their first-ever headlining tour (US) also featuring 3 Pill Morning and Underride. After wrapping up a massive trek with Five Finger Death Punch, All That Remains and Hatebreed last year, and Black Stone Cherry and Cavo earlier this year, Rains is touring in support of their debut album, STORIES. The album contains the hit single, "Look In My Eyes" and is a rock solid offering overall. After a Top 50 debut at Active Rock, the track continues to climb the charts recently broke in to the Top 10 on Octane/Sirius/XM and iHeartRadio.
Hailing from a small town in northern Indiana, lead singer/guitarist/band namesake Jeff Rains and company are making a name for themselves the old-fashioned way, with hard work and determination, winning over supporters one at a time with their poignant, emotive, melodic hard rock sound. In true DIY fashion, with no support from a traditional record label, the first single from their self-released debut album STORIES, "Liar," cracked the Top 15 of Sirius/XM's Octane channel, causing hard rock music fans to take notice. Rains is Jeff Rains (lead vocals/guitar), Jason Anderson (guitar/backing vocals), Matt Hopkins (bass) and Joe Schultz (drums).
We had the chance to grab Jeff in between shows and ask him a few questions...and we learned that as far as good bands go, when it Rains...it pours...
|MM: So Jeff tell us about how you got started-you play guitar and sing lead for Rains- how did it come about for you to do double duty?|
Jeff Rains: Well, I was brought up on a lot of 60's 70's rock and roll and Country music. When I was younger, I started playing drums and my brother played guitar but we were both terrible at each instrument, so I switched to guitar. Then I got tired looking for singers...I could never find anyone who could commit or who was a good enough vocalist, so it turned out that I ended up having to be the singer as well, which I guess worked out. (laughing) Seeing bands like Green Day on MTV made me realize this is what I want to do with my life. So looking back I'm sure my exposure to Country music and the whole Seattle, Alice in Chains scene had its place as well and also combined to my songwriting too.
MM: Did you focus your entire career on the music scene or did you move in to it?
Jeff Rains: Yep, this has been pretty much it...I started Rains 12 years ago and have been at it ever since.
MM: Let's talk about the last couple of years which have been really crazy and active for the band—You've shared the stage with some heavy hitters, can you tell us more about that experience?
Jeff Rains: Well, it's been really interesting because we weren't signed to a record label and we still aren't so it's been a lot longer road for us than most bands. Just to be able to do these tours and getting airplay has been amazing and personally gratifying to me because we have done it without major label support. The Five Finger Tour is one where we were playing in front of 5-10,000 people a night, and it has been really incredible. The good thing about the Five Finger Death Punch (FFDP) tour was we got to play arenas and with the current tour we are playing smaller clubs but bringing that same arena show to those venues.
MM: It is really unusual for a band to have your success without label support...so what is this telling you and the rest of the band? Would you change it if you could, seeing how it seems to be working as is?
Jeff Rains: Well now, because of the exposure we've received, we are having a lot of labels approach us and we're not completely ruling it out. But having said that, it will have to be a pretty good deal for us to take it. Being independent means it takes longer, but now we have to decide what will be the best move for us. The good thing is that I think we've put ourselves in the position to negotiate the best deal, so if it goes that route that's great but if it doesn't, at least we know we can still play and tour with some of the best bands in the country.
MM: Tell us about the "ah hah" moment from the recent tour?
Jeff Rains: There have been two moments in the past tour. One was when we were in a completely sold out arena with FFDP, in fact they had to open the seats behind the stage – Jason from FFDP had set up a shoot with a professional photographer. He shot all of us in front of the drum kit with a crowd of 15,000 behind us and that was just incredible. That was one of the most incredible moments of my life...you know where you go "what in the hell just happened?" Then on the Black Stone Cherry tour we played all of these different venues and when you are on the road, you never really know sometimes where you will be big, where the fans are, you know? We were in Johnson City, Tennessee and we knew we were on radio stations there; but we didn't really know how many fans we had until it was the end of the show and we were playing our last song and the crowd was literally singer louder than the PA would go. We couldn't hear our instruments or anything. We all thought something was wrong with our ears! Then we connected the dots and realized what was actually happening. We just sat back in awe.
MM: Tell us about your song writing. "Look Into Your Eyes" is just one example of a well-penned tune in the Rains' arsenal.
"Some musicians or singers switch from one band to another over and over, they will try something for 6 months and then move on, and with the industry the way it is you have to stay consistent and stay on the path you believe in."
Jeff Rains: You know I know less about music than literally everyone else I have met! I don't even know what my guitar is tuned to...I don't know what keys songs are in or time signatures or any of that crap...but I know when it sounds good. I am not the type of person who sits down to write a song. I want 100% of everything to be in my head first, and I won't touch a guitar or anything until the whole song is finished in my head. If I hear it in my head and it sticks with me then I know it's worth working on.. I generally write lyrics and music at the same time. I don't know how other people write, but it just kind of happens in my head. I try not to rush anything, I take a lot of pride in my writing and I think people need strong, good songs now.
MM: So it really has been a non-traditional path for you. Would you advise others to follow in your footsteps and if so what would you tell them to do first?
Jeff Rains: Stay consistent. This is the only band I have ever been in, the logo has been the same since day one, I think it's paid off because when people see or hear about the same thing over and over again, they will eventually want to check it out. Some musicians or singers switch from one band to another over and over, they will try something for 6 months and then move on, and with the industry the way it is you have to stay consistent and stay on the path you believe in. We've had multiple bands open for us on tour and the amount of respect they have for the path I have taken has really been shocking to me. You always think no one's heard of you...but the fans have been going crazy and the reception has been great. Also, if I meet someone along the way and I can help save them 12 years of hell that's good too.. (laughing) I can tell them what steps to skip!
MM: What keeps you going and energized? There has to have been a moment in the past 12 years where you felt like throwing in the towel?
Jeff Rains: Yeah sure...it's been strange in a way, any time over the course of my career when I was unsure of the future, or what direction to take, the answer always seemed to present itself. I know you can't count on that but it's the way it's happened. I've always thought bottom line- good music is good music and it will work once people hear it. I feel like I wrote a good cd and people's reaction to it has been great. These are songs about my life but people are telling us how they can relate to what we are singing about which is great...Hatebreed has some of the angriest fans I have ever seen in my life! But having to work with them every night definitely toughened up our skin...it was like Alice in Chains opening for a death metal band...but it was fun to me to overcome those hurdles.
MM: If you did have the magic wand and could pick where Rains went next, what would be the next goal?
Jeff Rains: Well, I pretty much want to be the biggest band in the world.. not exactly a small goal to have. (laughing) I went to my manager the other day and told him that I wanted a Grammy and he was like " You just thought of that?" And I was like," Yes, why not" but shooting high always keeps you working hard.
MM: Well that's true. Most successful people in this business have always shot for the top-- not somewhere in the middle. Finally, what's next for the band?
Jeff Rains: Well we are touring now, and we are also looking at tour offers for the summer and deciding who we want to go on the road with and I might be in the studio again. So any time off may be spent at the control board.
MM: Well Jeff we wish you and Rains a great rest of the year, where can fans find all the latest info on you?
Jeff Rains: You can go to our website: www.rainsmusic.com, find us on FB at facebook.com/RainsMusic or Twitter: twitter.com/rainsband
MM: Great-Thanks Jeff!
Jeff: Thanks Kim!
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