RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles
Interview and Upcoming Show Schedule
Growing up the house was always filled with the music of the Beatles. For that matter, so was almost every car ride. As a young kid, I didn’t appreciate the talent behind this amazing group and yes at times wished my dad would play more ‘fun’ music. As I got into my teens, I did get that appreciation and miss hearing my father playing the drums right along with his CD’s.
Today I still will stop at a station when I hear one of their songs. Of course, now it’s to my daughter’s protests but I do believe in time she too will come to know and appreciate just how talented this group was and the impact they played on the music of today and will continue to serve into the future.
While the Beatles as a group are no longer hear, we can still enjoy the feeling of seeing them live! in tribute with the group RAIN.
Q an A with MARK LEWIS
How did you get the idea of RAIN?
Rain actually started as an ‘original band’. Our goal was to write and record our own music and to hopefully become a hit band doing our own songs. We happened to be huge Beatle fans, and, because we needed to work, and we didn’t want to play top 40 hits, we decided to put together a few sets of music that we really enjoyed playing. Of course, this included a lot of Beatles songs.
Rather than just including Beatle songs in the set we decided to separate it, and do some exclusively Beatles ‘sets’. Eventually, we separated it into an early Beatles set, Sgt. Pepper, and late Beatles segment. Mind you, at this time, there was no such thing as a ‘tribute’ band, nor had there been any other show such as ‘Beatlemania’ for us to copy.
At one point we just decided to approach a local club in LA to let us play what we would call a Beatles night on one of the clubs slower nights, eg. a Monday or Tuesday night, which are usually empty nights anyway. The club agreed and promoted it ‘in-house’, and we invited our friends because we wanted to be assured an audience to play for.
It turned out that the club was packed, the club owner was happy, and asked us to return, and eventually, we met agents that booked us as Rain (which was previously Reign) doing the tribute to the Beatles.
Explain the reason behind the name RAIN?
Reign was a name that we picked out because we liked the name. Try to get 5 guys together to agree
on a name. It’s not easy. “Rain” also happens to be the name of a Beatles song. As the band became a
popular Beatles show it was assumed that the name was taken from the Beatles song. It was so
common to see our name misspelled in ads and on marquee’s as “Rain” instead of “Reign” that we
eventually just gave in and left it as “Rain.”
What has been the most difficult part of gathering musicians that sound and look like The Beatles?
Everything about it is hard. First and foremost, you have to find great musicians. They have to play great and have the ability (in the case of John Lennon & Paul McCartney) to play multiple instruments, eg. bass, guitar, piano, and to play these instruments at a very high level of perfection. They have to have great ears to figure out the parts correctly, they have to be great singers that can sound like the voices of the Beatles rather than just sounding good, or unique. This in itself is a very specialized talent. They have to have a great ability to harmonize and blend well with other singers, they have to look somewhat like the characters they portray. They have to have the confidence to front a band, and with an English accent. You can go on and on. It’s an extremely difficult job for a musician, and to find people that can do this at the level of the guys in Rain was extremely demanding. Keep in mind this is the Beatles, if you don’t do it to perfection people will not only walk out on you, they will be angry at you, you will be laughed at. Remember, you don’t just want a great bass player, and you don’t just want a great bass player that can sing, you want a great bass player that can sing and sound like Paul McCartney, and play piano, and have his persona. Then you have to do it for the other 3 Beatles. This was not easy.
Are your audiences mostly old-school Beatles’ fans?
Our audiences are very diverse. We get a lot of ‘baby boomers’, ex-hippies, etc. BUT, we also get parents that love to bring their kids. A lot of teenagers and young children. I think parents take a certain pride in turning their children on to the music of the Beatles. They want their kids to ‘get’ the Beatles. And the kids do. They leave our show wanting to listen to more Beatles records, watch Beatles movies, play Beatles ‘Rockband’, etc.
What has been the biggest struggle in creating and producing RAIN?
First, it was convincing people to hire a band that just did Beatles music back in the 1970’s. This was the ‘Disco’ era.
Then once we started to gain some momentum, we had to separate ourselves from a lot of the other ‘inferior’ Beatles groups that undercut our price and put out an inferior product. They tried to copy what Rain did, only without the talent. It made it quite difficult once buyers bought an inferior Beatles show, and then would tell me that they ‘tried the Beatles thing, and it didn’t work’.
What was the moment that you knew you had created a hit?
I knew I had created something very unique and special from the very beginning. I also knew that Rain brought a lot of joy to a lot of people. So in that, I felt satisfied. But when did it become a ‘hit’? I had a lot of doubt as to where this was going until we started to pack major Broadway type theaters about 8 years ago. That was when we started to reap the reward of all of our hard work, and get some recognition for what we had created.
How has RAIN evolved over the years?
We’ve evolved on many levels. We’ve become better and better musically. Technology has allowed us to become much more authentic at duplicating the sound of The Beatles live. We’ve also evolved to be a much ‘bigger’ show production wise. Our success has allowed us to have the funds to reinvest in ourselves and bring to the show a lot of ‘bells & whistles’ that we used to only dream about. We’ve always prided ourselves on being a great concert, but now we are not just a concert, we’re more of an event. There’s a lot of great video, lighting, props, etc. that really bring the show to life.
What are some of the highlights of the show? (Your favorites, audience favorites)
There are a lot of highlights. The Beatles music/career had so much depth, as does our show. The Ed Sullivan era, Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road, etc. It was all a wonderful time in history, and I believe our show does a great job of capturing those times and bringing them to life on stage.
The show is performed like a concert but is everything scripted or do the performers improvise?
A little of both. With all of our lighting and production, you can’t just ‘wing it’ every night. It is scripted, but within that script, there is a certain amount of spontaneity. Songs can be pulled out of hat unexpectedly, and it is live, so anything can happen, and it often does.
What’s your favorite Beatle’s song and is it in the show?
I like the one that starts with ‘Please Please Me’ and ends with side 2 of Abbey Road. In other words, no favorites, I like them all.
Do audiences scream and yell as if they’re seeing a concert or do they react as if they’re seeing a Broadway show?
It usually starts like a Broadway show, and ends like a Rock concert with people standing, singing, and
swaying with the music.
Why did you choose the music of The Beatles to create a show around?
I chose the Beatles because of love for the music. The Beatles were in a class by themselves. They changed the world. I don’t really know if I chose the Beatles, or just followed my passion.
When Rain started in the mid-seventies I was just a musician that was playing music that I loved playing. It was fun. I really didn’t know where it was going. If you’re doing something that you love doing, and you’re fortunate enough to be able to make a living at it, and you happen to be good at it, what would be the reason to stop. Although I’ve been doing this for decades it seems as if just yesterday I was playing in bars in LA, then the next thing I know we’re starring on Broadway. Pretty amazing.
Has this experience inspired you to possibly create other shows based on other bands?
Only if another “Beatles” comes along. Until then Rain is it.
Describe the appeal of RAIN?
The appeal of Rain is the appeal of, in my opinion, the greatest music ever written and recorded, the greatest band in history, The Beatles.
RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles will be traveling on tour to numerous cities and both Atlanta and Boston will have a chance to check these amazing performers.
ATLANTA- Fox Theatre Feb 11th.
RAIN performs the full range of The Beatles’ discography live onstage, including the most complex and challenging songs that The Beatles themselves recorded in the studio but never performed for an audience. In addition to the updated sets that include brand new LED, High-Definition screens, and multimedia content, RAIN will bring the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album to life in its entirety with the launch of the 2018 Tour.
Sunday, Feb. 11 @ 5:00 p.m. Tickets: http://bit.ly/2wQxbut Prices: $35-$85
For Discount Tickets for Atlanta shows, visit Goldstar Prices: $30-$36.50
BOSTON-Boch Center Wang Theatre Feb 17th & 18th
No other rendition of The Beatles’ music comes close to this level of performance, which has taken years of mastery and attention to detail that is unmatched. From the early days of The Beatles’ appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964, through Shea Stadium, the Sgt. Pepper era and on to the Abbey Road years, the RAIN captures it all flawlessly.
Sat, Feb 17 @8:00 PM. Sun, Feb 18 @1:00 PM & 6:00 PM Tickets: http://bit.ly/2rA6Va5