Terrorizing Music City USA one cowboy hat at a time, as excellent new career overview demonstrates…
By Blurt Staff
They were called Raging Fire, and they were a bright spot on the otherwise moribund Nashville rock scene in the ‘80s. As the saying goes, while likeminded Nashville insurgents Jason and the Scorchers merged the Sex Pistols with Hank Williams, Raging Fire merged the Clash with Tennessee Williams. Voted “one of America’s best unsigned bands” (along with the Pixies) in 1988 in the annual CMJ readers’ poll, they burned brightly, but by the end of the decade they were done. Now, though, the members have collaborated in order to release a 30th anniversary celebration, Everything Is Roses 1985-1989, and we are delighted to unveil the title track for all you good BLURTers—those of you with long memories will be have faith rewarded and newcomers to the cause will simply be floored.
Writes bandmember Mark Medley, “This muscular version of the song was recorded mostly live in May 1987 at a small house studio across the street from Nashville’s Centennial Park. Bassist John Reed swings as the guitar and drums attack the opening motif again and again. Meanwhile, the vocals suggest that all of us are roses.”
Due October 6, Everything Is Roses comprises 24 tracks, among them their first record, A Family Thing, along with sundry unreleased studio and live tracks. There will also be a limited edition 11-song vinyl album, and the group’s entire recorded output will be released to digital.
The backstory: Raging co-founder Les Shields was young person at a crossroads in the fall of 1985. He could continue playing bass in a promising band that was barely breaking even or as a recent M.B.A graduate he could pursue a lucrative career. It was during this time he expressed his mixed emotions by writing the lyrics to one of Raging Fire’s best songs, ‘Everything is Roses.’ By the time song was first recorded in December 1985 for the Vanderbilt WRVU radio compilation City Without a Subway, Les had made a difficult decision and given up his place in the band. Raging Fire carried on but always considered Les family.
Thirty years later he reflected, on the song, “’Everything Is Roses’ captures the spirit of pushing aside negative thoughts, putting on some rose colored glasses and seeing the world through the lens of positivity. It is like the serenity prayer, set to Michael Godsey’s guitar with Melora Zaner’s vocals giving life to a belief that happiness starts with one’s state of mind. The band faced a lot of challenges –we fought, we loved, we dreamed, and lived hard– usually it all ended up in our music.”
The original lineup of Raging Fire plays their first show in over 25 years in Nashville at Exit-In on October 3. Ticket info HERE, and the band’s website, which includes tons of info, press clips and audio, is HERE.