Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Slideshow video for "The Dream"

The video is comprised of images which I consider to be "dreamlike" in one way or another. The dove image is from the Holy Spirit window in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. I've been there twice and can't wait to go back again. After I saw the window, I couldn't listen to the line "A dove born from the sky / bathed in Love's Pure Light" without recalling my pilgrimages there, especially with light pouring in from the nearby glass windows.

I hope this video is enjoyable to viewers. I feel that it is highly imperfect, a feeling which perhaps is manifested in all attempts to recall images which one has seen in a dream.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

CD Baby Gets a Facelift

CD Baby has a new and improved look; I like it. There are now "Artist Pages", so all our stuff is available here, whereas before it was on the seller-centric all page which is still available.

The CD Baby page is a little more up-to-date, but it has retained its homey cuteness, sporting a bubbly seventies font on the lowercase logo and a scribbled arrow pointing to the login link. If anything, the site has been simplified for customers and artists alike. To me, it's great to see the kind of concern for ease of use, up-keep and style which all serve to maintain viability for a company I've come to greatly admire and appreciate.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas! Some news....

I meant to post this earlier, but I discounted the prices on all three MP3-CDs for the holiday season. So if you need a last minute gift, consider some Stinging Rain MP3s. (Of course, you can get us on iTunes also, but not discounted....)

We continue to keep friend of the band, David Bailey, in our prayers. David survived brain cancer surgery again, and is recovering. Keep up with the news about David here.

Lastly, I signed the band up for a page on & put a few tunes out there, so maybe we'll get some new fans.

Merry Christmas & Happy 2009 from the band!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stinging Rain Wins Third Place with The Dream

Thanks to everyone who helped us win third place in the Top Ten Holy Spirit Songs contest sponsored by the Top Catholic Songs website. We received 11 votes altogether, and I counted 9 from the 25 people whom I emailed. That means we received 2 votes from new fans! So welcome and thanks for your vote. Here are the full results:

Basically I just submitted two links to the song, CD Baby and iTunes, then I wrote the following short reminiscence of when Nathan first brought the song to the band.

Dove born from the sky — I hope someday I can see You.

I remember the first rehearsal of this song. I was on the phone in the room adjacent to the practice area when it was introduced and guys start playing it. Jon was laying out a sparse beat with his snares off and Nate was playing slide on his acoustic. I knew what kind of bass line I would play, a very simple one to complement the understated beat.

Nate began singing dreamily, "Spirit, exalt yourself...." I knew at that moment that this song would become a favorite. His wife, Julie, played the violin on the recording. She also joined in with Nate, Brett and I in the whistling of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" at the end. Dave [Brown] might have been whistling, too — it was a long time ago.

Writing that short paragraph was illuminating to me since I barely remember details of working out any other tune. I guess it was just one of those illuminated memories, a definitive moment of sorts in my musical consciousness. That may sound deep, but it really feels natural and did so at the time. Like coming up out of the water and seeing the world glitter with the breath of wind and the light of sun.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Give it up, Moondog!

Rock and roll historians and those who live in the Cleveland area are well-schooled in the event known as the Moondog Coronation Ball. A celebration on March 21 every year commemorates Cleveland DJ and rock promoter Allan Freed's famous overbooked 1952 fiasco. Here's an excerpt from the Fifties-Web piece:

What was novel was the idea of people going to a big municipal hall to dance. The Globetrotters played there, not musicians you'd heard on the radio. Today the idea of a Rock concert being held in a huge facility is commonplace.

But this is where the dream and the reality collided. Even after the hall was full to capacity, those crowds were pushing and shoving. Doors crashed open, glass exploded. Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams was on stage when the first fight broke out. And still they poured into the Arena, just to be a part of it. Dancing, moving wildly, the crowd became more and more unruly.

Even the big glittery sign proudly announcing "Moondoggers" came tumbling down.

That's when the Fire Marshals came and shut it all down. Nobody else got to play, not the Dominoes, Tiny Grimes, or the Rockin' Highlanders. Not Danny Cobb or Varietta Dillard. This hugely famous concert and only one song was played.

Why do I bring this up? Well, there are definitely no rock and roll fans trampling each other to buy a Face of Stephen CD on eBay for $49.98, posted by a seller going by the name of Moondog. This has been up for months now. I emailed him, but he hasn't responded. I don't blame him; I made quite a bit of fun of his stupid auction in the email. And I'm really good at that, as many of you know.

Of course, all you "Raindoggers" know that if you want the tunes from Face of Stephen you can download them here for a fifth of the price of Mr. Lunar Canine's eBay listing. in this way you can also stop promoting the destruction of our planet with all that nasty plastic which they need to use to make a CD and still rock with some choice tuneage, Kimosabe.

So give it up, Moonie... Stingin' Rain is in da house, dog!

A Stinging Rain Reissue Promo Poster

I know I just said we weren't promoting the band anymore, but over the last few weeks I've produced a magazine-sized promo poster for some spurious marketing opportunities which might arise. It doesn't look half bad, if I may say so myself.

Here's what the text says:

In the summer of 1993, the indie rock foursome Stinging Rain ascended into a vacant third floor and recorded their masterpiece, Face of Stephen.

Shortly afterward they disbanded, and their rhythmic brand of hopeful, melodic rock seemed consigned to the twilight of silent memory.

Now — after being out of print for 15 years — their full catalog of original studio tracks is available again via digital download. Visit:

Not too "over the top", but still attention-getting, I hope. At the bottom of the page I included the phrase "Clear Tears of Light", a line from Grey Shapes, the first song on our first album, then across from it "One Eternal Flame", from Nothing Ever Changes, the last song on our last album. The large text bordering the picture is, of course, from a middle song on our middle album, On Eagle's Wings from the dream, but I didn't really plan that one as much. "Come with me, take this hand, we'll travel far across the sea and land" has always been one of my favorite lines from the pen and the mind of Nathan Depew.

Click on the picture, look at the large photo and tell me I don't look like Harry Potter with the messy hair and the glasses.

Full Catalog on iTunes

I posted them "backwards".

First Face of Stephen was out there on the internet's top download service, then the dream and finally Shadows of Reality is available on iTunes. I suppose in retrospect I could have submitted everything in the chronological order of the albums' release dates. But I wanted Face of Stephen out there in the worst way, and I figured that if I keeled over from a heart attack after the first one at least our favorite would be available.

The singular reason for getting our tunes out there is universal availability. We're obviously no longer gigging, touring or attempting to promote the band. But from time to time someone will call Nate requesting CDs. Well, CDs are about plumb run out, as they might say in certain regions, and the internet has become the never-ending storage place for the long-forgotten. We can now direct those several requestors to iTunes if they subscribe, or CD Baby, which I feel is a superior service.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Another Windfall Bonanza

Boy, oh boy... the hits just keep on coming, baby. April 2, 2008 marked the milestone of getting all 3 albums online. Shadows was posted early that morning and I did some work on the descriptions for the Stinging Rain group page. Then I sent out an email to about 130 folks who, as I put it, "who might care to learn that Stinging Rain's full catalog is now available for digital download via MP3."

Then yesterday I unearthed a treasure which had been sitting in a file cabinet for 14 years and through 5 moves. I had known there were a few old show posters somewhere along with Stinging Rain newsletters, mailers, etc. from "back in the day." But I had no idea how many. I found 2 manila folders stuffed inside a hanging folder for an alternative country rock band for which I used to run sound — the Blackwells* — in the mid-90s. This is way cool! There are clipped reviews, calendars with pay-dates, song lists from gigs (I'd clean forgotten that we used to cover "Nothing Is Alone" by Toad the Wet Sprocket) and notes I'd made which range from the enlightening to the humorous. For example, a note I'd scribbled on the back of a postcard states bluntly "Sent a tape to this a__hole".

In fact, the importance of this discovery could rival the sending of the aforementioned Brown Suitcase emails. I say this with great trembling, naturally.

But check it out. Here's a blurb written circa 1987 for the GCC Collegian by none other than Bill Deasy.

My favorite find has got to be the gig calendars. The hardest thing for me to remember is when things happened. Now I can meticulously put the pieces of the "what happened puzzle" together and possibly turn the collage into some type of historical account.

* - There are/were at least three groups named the Blackwells, but I'm talking about the Pittsburgh-based Blackwells. Their lead singer, Marc Nelson, is in another band now and you can hear one of their old songs, "Ashtray", if you visit their myspace page.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Dream is now available on iTunes

Click the image to go to iTunes page for the dream. I am sure that at some point this will get old and I will no longer be impressed by seeing our tunes available for download. And without promotion it's not like anything will be "flying off the shelves."

Of course, those quote marks show the beauty of it. There are no shelves, dude. There's no big decision about whether to add anything to inventory or give a no-name band a break. There's just a bunch of servers and surfers. And inventory will never, ever run out or get stale. That means that hey, given enough time and a modicum of interest we might yet sell a million downloads. Who knows?

And thanks again to Derek Sivers for making CD Baby, his dream, a reality. Thou art the man.


All Lyrics Posted

You can see them all here at Leo's Lyrics. I've noticed that these lyrics sites steal from, borrow from or contribute to each other, so soon the lyrics to all Stinging Rain's recorded tunes will be all over cyberspace in various collections.

I'm not sure where this great action photo was shot. Maybe Graffiti? Whoever snapped it had developed it backwards so Nate looked like a lefty. We liked the shot, but we didn't want to have it redeveloped. Needless to say, I corrected it with two or three mouse clicks. Computers make short work of things that used to be big problems.

Monday, March 31, 2008

We can't live with or without Bono

If I'm a sucker for anything besides rock and roll, it's got to be deprecatory comedy writing. And I agree with most if not all of this piece even though I remain a hardcore fan of pre-Achtung U2 and Bono, who is probably one of the nicest multi-millionaires out there, albeit not the sharpest crayon in the box. Excerpt:

The wordless, wailing refrain of "With or Without You" still sends shivers down your spine, but Bono is lucky he's such a nice guy and he's even luckier that he makes such an enigmatic frontman because he's one of the sloppiest, wackiest lyricists in the game. Because the tunes are so indebted to that most cliché-ridden of genres (the blues), because his range is truly impressive, and because nobody can mic impassioned, British Isle hollering quite like Eno (just ask David Bowie), Bono gets away with a lot that a lesser man would not. The tropes are inoffensive, since even Dylan rhymes "fire" and "desire," and the clichés are forgivable, since rain and tears are pretty similar, I guess (though he does sing about rain an awful lot for a record that's named after a desert), but two decades on, can someone finally acknowledge how dumb these similes are? The guy clearly never met a mixed metaphor he didn't like: How exactly can "stinging rain" drive nails into "souls on a tree of pain," and since when do bullets "rape the night," even figuratively? Every now and then, though, Bono drops a gem: Has romantic anxiety ever been captured more accurately and succinctly than in the refrain, "I can't live with or without you"?

As for his politics, Bono is often accused of being sanctimonious, but on Joshua Tree he actually sounds detached. There's the blossoming of Bono's liberal outrage in "Bullet the Blue Sky" and "Mothers of the Disappeared," which were inspired by a trip to South America but which are so mired in hammy imagery and Jim Morrison-posturing ("So how does it feel to see the sky ripped open?/To see the rain through a gaping wound/Pelting the women and children/Who run into the arms of America?") that he completely misses the polemical power of addressing actual pain in actual countries with actual people. It's not a criticism you can level at, say, "Sunday Bloody Sunday."

Still, there's something charming, even refreshing, about the way Bono's lyrics try so hard. It's difficult to remember, but there was a time when Europeans didn't hate America (de Toqueville! The Statue of Liberty!), and aside from the sorta-enraged "Bullet the Blue Sky" and "Mothers of the Disappeared," Bono sounds legitimately in awe of our nation's people and topography; depending on where you look, it sure can feel like "God's country." Beautiful sights will bring out the cornball in most anyone, and Bono's earnestness is perfectly supported by Eno's extraordinary production work; rarely has a work of art been so majestic and yet so stupid.

The truth is that Newlin is right about the opening song of the album, "Where the streets have no name" being an awesome feat of rock producing and possibly one of the greatest songs of all time. I mean, the first time I heard it I was blown away, and I suppose at that moment became unconsciously ready to forgive Bono and crew of every cliché and overwrought political commentary on the rest of the album.

As far as politics goes, Bono has never been far left like a lot of recording artists. His criticisms of America have always been couched in terms of the United States not living up to her own high standards and don't bear much resemblance to the patchouli-drenched boomers marching around Berkeley every full moon chanting "America is evil and must be destroyed!" At least from the criticisms I've heard, his views are somewhere to Bruce Springsteen's right. He even met with Bush, a meeting from which a slightly awkward photo exists. Let's just say it was not an "Elvis-meets-Nixon" moment.

Later on I guess I was less ready to forgive U2 for Achtung Baby which I never got, though I tried with all my might. I know that I'm in the minority among U2 fans for this opinion. I guess lines like "Well you lied to me 'cause I asked you to / Baby, can we still be friends?" made me want to hear about bullets, fighter planes, $100 bills and third world people living in mud huts again.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

News, Digital Update & Other Coolness

I forgot to mention it, but I ended up figuring out how to burn an exact duplicate of Shadows of Reality with CDA tracks and everything, so I was able to send that in without sacrificing my final copy. It's being processed currently. The Dream is in the queue at iTunes and although it's not available yet, I expect it to be available there any day.

Here's a shot of the boys in action at Bethany. Circa 19??

My Face of Stephen google searches are starting to turn up more relevant stuff, e.g., we're on the PayPlay site now. I did a few promotional forum posts and they're starting to show up too, so good. So we're slowly pushing down some of the static in the searches. I also added the CD Baby pages to technorati so I can track links. When I finally get all 25 titles -- MWA-HA-HA -- available via iTunes I'm going to do a big "spam" email to a whole pile of fans and aquaintances, just to get the word out.

And here's a last but not least a bit of coolness supremo: I set up a page on! It's kind of a respectable version of myspace for bands, indie mostly. I put a non-downloadable sample MP3 from each CD and a bunch of photos on there as well. We'll see what happens. So far I'm only out of pocket on this for a net of $140.00 and way too many hours, but I'm having fun.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Dream now available from CD Baby

Click here, or use the link in the right side bar to purchase the MP3 version of The Dream.

I'm doing a lot more development on the Wiki and I added a bunch of new lyrics. All lyrics from The Dream are up now and linked on the page for our 1991 EP. Do people call short CDs "EPs" anymore?

Here's a photo from the brown suitcase: Nate recording an acoustic track at Alphastar.

Well, this shot was probably from "The Dream Sessions", but who knows. It's a little irritating that I don't know the dates to a lot of these shots. It's very intriguing to me how much I forget. I remember all the inside jokes, though, which isn't surprising since I originated most of them and was the inspiration and subject matter for the rest.

The Dream isn't available on iTunes or the other big services yet, I expect it should be within a week. That's about how long it took last time for Face of Stephen.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The "Suitcase" Photos

All right! Brett just sent me 31 scanned images of the photos which all ended up in one of the famous Brown Suitcases circa 1993. The collection consists of concert footage, shots of recording sessions, posed shots and photos of "life on the road".

Wow, I have hair in these photos. That's really nostalgic.

I'll be pasting these up from time to time; here's a great one to start off with. An "action shot" during the "Face of Stephen" sessions on the 3rd Floor in 1993. I call it the Famous Ladder Picture.

That's me on the left, Nathan's in the background on the right. He's got his mouth on the mike and he's playing an acoustic, so my guess is that we're doing a rehearsal of either Quiet Celebration or Minstrel's Song.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Latest Update and Dilemma

My latest dilemma in the drama of digital distribution for Stinging Rain is that I possess only one copy of the Shadows of Reality CD, and I need to send a non-returnable copy in to CD Baby. I sort of feel attached to it; this is the end product of my first studio recording experience. Nate doesn't know where any extra copies are currently. But on the other hand, I'd really like to see this up on CD Baby, especially since The Dream should be available soon. (Keep checking our "all" page.)

In the end, I'll probably just "cast my bread upon the waters" and send it in. I know there are other extant copies of it in this world, possibly ones in even better shape. Once we have all 26 recordings available* I'll feel more like telling the world "Hey! We're online!" So my "sacrifice" will be worth it.

As always, I cannot praise CD Baby enough for the yeoman's work they do for small musicians.

* - Of course, I'm including both versions of music of my world. The count is 25 by the official BMI list.