Rain Parade performing in San Francisco, September 2013
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, US|
|Genres||Paisley Underground, psychedelic rock|
|1981-1986, 1988, 2012-present|
|Labels||Enigma, Zippo, Island|
|Rainy Day, Opal, Viva Saturn, Gone Fishin', Mazzy Star|
The band was founded by college roommates Matt Piucci (guitar, vocals) and David Roback (guitar, vocals) in 1981, originally as The Sidewalks. David's brother Steven Roback (bass, vocals) joined the band shortly thereafter. David and Steven had been in a band called The Unconscious with neighbor Susanna Hoffs (who went on to lead the most famous of the Paisley Underground bands, The Bangles.) The band soon added Will Glenn (keyboards and violin) and later Eddie Kalwa (drums). They self-released their debut single, "What She's Done to Your Mind" on their Llama label in 1982.
In 1983, they released their debut album, Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, on the Enigma/Zippo label. Critic Jim DeRogatis would later write in his book Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock (2003) 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", with uplifting melodies offset by themes that were "dark and introspective." According to DeRogatis, the album showcased "the Robacks' ethereal vocals, Eddie Kalwa's precise drumming, Will Glenn's colorful sitar, violin, and keyboard accents, and an intricate, chiming, but droney two-guitar attack that picks up where the Byrds left off with 'Eight Miles High.'"
After David Roback left to form a new band, Opal, the rest of the band continued to record as a four-piece, releasing the mini-LP Explosions in the Glass Palace in 1984.NME would later write, in praise of Explosions in the Glass Palace: "Sound cathedrals? We got 'em ... mind-meltingly beautiful guitar sounds, employed sparingly and dynamically amid dark, dizzy tales of murder, madness and drug paranoia." The song "No Easy Way Down" was cited as a "mantra for an altered state of mind, and testament to a band who, however fleetingly, made music that sounded like the best drugs ever."
After the release of a single, "You Are My Friend", drummer Eddie Kalwa left, his replacement being Mark Marcum, and John Thoman (guitar, vocals) was also added to the line-up. The band signed to Island Records, and a live album (Beyond The Sunset) recorded in Japan, and a third album, Crashing Dream, came out in 1985.
The band split in 1986, with Piucci going on to release the LP Can't Get Lost When You're Goin' Nowhere with Tim Lee under the band name Gone Fishin', and later joining Crazy Horse. The band reformed in 1988 to finish off a double album they had started, but it was never released. Steven Roback went on to form the band Viva Saturn whose releases appeared on the San Francisco label Heyday Records, which was run at the time by Pat Thomas, who made waves of his own in the Rochester, New York band Absolute Grey.
After making the album Rainy Day, featuring cover versions performed by various leading lights of the Paisley Underground, David Roback formed The Clay Allison Band and Opal with ex Dream Syndicate bassist Kendra Smith, and later formed Mazzy Star with Hope Sandoval.
The Rain Parade reformed in 2012, performing their comeback gig on December 20, 2012 at Cafe Du Nord in San Francisco on a sold out bill with Powder and The Bang Girl Group Revue. The Rain Parade lineup included original members Matt Piucci, Steven Roback and John Thoman, augmented by Mark Hanley, Alec Palao and former Game Theory drummer Gil Ray.
In December 2013, Rain Parade played two nights with three other reunited Paisley Underground bands -- The Bangles, The Dream Syndicate, and The Three O'Clock -- at The Fillmore in San Francisco (Dec. 5) and The Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles (Dec. 6 benefit concert).
In 2014, drummer Gil Ray gave up performing due to health concerns, and was replaced in the lineup by returning member Stephan Junca. Ray died of cancer in 2017.