Interview: Bleeding Rainbow on playing in SF and unexpected influences (playing Great American, 4/28/13)
April 19, 2013
Written by Mike G.
In its relatively short existence, Philadelphia’s Bleeding Rainbow has gone through quite the evolution. Originally a duo named Reading Rainbow consisting of spouses Rob Garcia on vocals and guitar and Sarah Everton on vocals and drums, the band is now a full-fledged, hard rocking four-piece (legend has it that indie punk goddess Carrie Brownstein told them Reading Rainbow was a weak name—and when Carrie Brownstein says some shit like that, YOU CHANGE YOUR NAME).
The band released two albums as Reading Rainbow: 2010′s Prism Eyes, in which the duo explored pop song structures; and, prior to that, the self-released Mystical Participation, which is composed of more amorphous, droning numbers.
But now Sarah is out front, playing bass and properly showing off her vocal chops, while full-time drummer Greg Frantz and lead guitarist Al Creedon have been added to the lineup. With the new name and new personnel came a new album: January’s Yeah Right, which takes all of the lo-fi noise of Reading Rainbow’s first album and does a mighty fine job of amping it up before cramming it into the more pop-oriented song structures of Prism Eyes.
That isn’t to say Bleeding Rainbow is experimenting any less with its sound. Rolling Stone recently premiered Yeah Right cut “Oblivion”, and Everton told the magazine that the song was their attempt to incorporate Everly Brothers-style vocal harmonies into their music.
You can hear some of those harmonies at work in the video for “Waking Dream,” which Everton directed herself:
I recently spoke with singer/guitarist Rob Garcia about how Yeah Right is holding up on the road, what less-than-obvious influences (other than the Everly Brothers) went into the album, and what’s next for Bleeding Rainbow.
The Bay Bridged: How’s the tour going?
Rob Garcia: The tour is going great! We all love going out on tour. We start feeling really frantic if we are at home in Philly for too long. The current tour is extra special for us because it is the first national tour since our album came out.
TBB: How are the songs from Yeah Right being received in the live setting?
RG: The crowd response at each show has been awesome. When we play our new songs live, they become much more raw and noisy. I think for some people it’s a shock to see the transformation of our band over the years.
TBB: Have y’all played San Francisco much in the past? If so, how do you find SF crowds? Any favorite venues/memories of SF shows?
RG: This might be the 5th time we’ve played San Francisco actually. It seems like we always have our best shows in San Fran, LA, or Chicago for some reason, so we’re really excited to be back. The last time we passed through, we played at The Independent, things got really crazy during the show and a few guitars were broken. It was a blast!
TBB: Congrats on the Rolling Stone premiere for “Oblivion”! I saw the band mentioned in the print magazine too. Did y’all grow up reading RS? Was this in any way a dream-coming-true scenario?
RG: Oh yeah, it was definitely awesome to be featured in Rolling Stone. The magazine was a staple for each of our teen year obsessions. More than anything, it’s another sign for our parents to see that we’re doing well. The ultimate would be playing on Fallon or something. Hopefully soon!
TBB: It was interesting to read about the band wanting to emulate the Everly Brothers with your vocal harmonies, as that is not a band that would necessarily come to mind listening to your music. Any other influences make an impact on Yeah Right that might not be that obvious?
RG: We have a lot of different influences that may not be so obvious. While on tour we have a huge range of musical styles we get into. Everything from the Everly Brothers to Black Flag and the B-52s to Jesus Lizard. We love pop and we love dissonant heavy guitars.
TBB: Where else is the current tour taking you? Then what’s next for Bleeding Rainbow?
RG: This tour is one of our longest. It will be six weeks total and will take us on a big loop around the US. When we get back to Philly in May we’re going into the studio to record a new album and then hitting the road for another tour in late June. Gotta keep busy!
The Cave Singers, Bleeding Rainbow
Great American Music Hall
April 28, 2013