Any musician or band will tell you that you must pay your dues if you want to play the game. Be it the tedious rehearsals, the nightmare of booking and touring, inner band turmoil or any number of hardships that plague musicians, it is true that you have to jump over more than a few hurdles if you want to take your music anywhere outside of the garage. However, sometimes the road doesn’t begin to get bumpy until things are already in full swing. Then there are the acts that are born out of adversity.
Rainey’s Revenge is definitely a band that has had to stare adversity in the face and scream back, literally. The newest addition to the underground metal scene in Pensacola came together at a time when it looked like everything might be a lost cause. In the fall of 2010, RR drummer and founder Michael Turpin was in the midst of recording the first full-length album for the very popular Pillar of Autumn while at the same time vocalist John Schreiber was giving up his position at the front of local favorites Drayton Sawyer to pursue a project with a talented Pensacola guitarist and producer, and things were looking great. But just as everything was moving in the right direction, fate stepped in and put up a few roadblocks.
“It’s very crazy how this all started,” says Schreiber. “I had just made a bold move by leaving Drayton Sawyer at the height of our popularity, and when things were about to take off big time. A lot of people thought that was a wild decision, which it was, but the thing is I was going in a different musical direction than they were, and I had an awesome project already lined up, so I left DS to do something more my style.” With a new venture on the horizon that seemed promising, Schreiber was excited about the future, but things were not meant to be, and it all took a drastic turn in one night.
“Right after we had recorded some rough demos for this new project, I got a call one night and was hit with some heavy news,” the singer recalls. “Turns out, the main force behind this new band had a little too much to drink on this particular night and was involved in a hit-and-run accident. Needless to say, that pretty much put an abrupt stop to everything. I have been in a lot of bands over the years, and I’m not getting any younger, so I was starting to come to the realization that I may not ever have a career in music again. That’s when Turpin and I began talking about jamming on something he was working on.”
While Schreiber was dealing with his own obstacles, Turpin saw things going south in Pillar of Autumn, which would eventually fall apart suddenly. With all his hard work wasted, Turpin was determined to get things off the ground with the “side jam” he was working on. As it turned out, Turpin worked with Schreiber at Logan’s Roadhouse, and the two began to talk about doing something together since both of them had just acquired some free time.
But again, just as things began to look up again, the cosmos had other plans. In a tragic turn of events, Michael Turpin lost his son. That alone is enough to put a man down for the count, but Turpin was not about to let himself slip down that slope. Instead, he took all that rage, anger and unimaginable sadness, and along with Schreiber, Chris Johns (guitar), and Mike “Dingo” Burns (bass), began to rededicate himself to music.
“I really have to hand it to Turpin,” Schreiber says. “I can’t imagine going through what he has, but he’s a tough son of a bitch. We told him that we could put the band on hold for as long as he needed, but he said he needed to play this music and get this band going. I can’t tell you how much respect I have for that man as a musician and human being.”
Rainey’s Revenge isn’t your typical “scene band,” the likes of which crawl out of the woodwork every day. Schreiber explains, “We don’t want to be lumped in with all of the other metal bands in the area. Yes, we are an aggressive band with heavy music, but we throw a lot of different styles into our music to keep things interesting. We even have little jazz interludes and wacky tangents that we go on. It’s fun to not have to stick to any predetermined program and just let loose.” This new style has also gotten Schreiber to have a new outlook on gigging.
“Before, when I was in this or that band, we always had to play shows with bands that sounded like us.” He continues, “Even now, if you look around the scene, hardcore bands play with hardcore bands. Punk bands play with punk bands, and so on. I know Rainey’s Revenge is a metal band, but we want to gain the respect of the music community as a whole and prove that we are worthy of being here. I’d like to play with some of the local punk bands, or acts like Unnatural Soundz, because mixed bill shows are so much fun and people get a little bit of everything at a show like that. Those are the types of shows we want to play. There are a lot of people interested in seeing and hearing us play based on our old bands, but we guarantee that there has never been a band that sounded like this from Pensacola.”
Although life has a way of beating us down, the members of Rainey’s Revenge refuse to go down quietly. With the lineup secure and loads of impressive new material, the guys will get their first chance to show their stuff with Wretched at the Handlebar. After that, the band has big shows lined up with Poisonwood in July and Suicide Silence in August. Some walls were meant to be torn down. Kudos to Rainey’s Revenge for breaking through, despite the size of the wall that was set before them.
WHAT: Poisonwood, For Shame, Rainey’s Revenge, Still Reign
WHEN: 9 p.m. Friday, July 22
WHERE: Big Easy Tavern, 710 N. Palafox
COST: 21+ free
DETAILS: Find and “Like” Rainey’s Revenge on Facebook