The 1980s are often seen as a musical sinkhole – a time when synthesizers, white suits and bad hair ruled. There is plenty of truth in that perception, at least in the mainstream, but for every Flock Of Seagulls there were loads of small bands around the world making real music that was challenging, exciting, and true to the rock and roll spirit. Believe it or not, even in the age of hair bands and glossy music videos there were tons of bands with a desire to jump in the van and play a gig at the nearest bar. One such band was the Nashville-based Raging Fire.
In the 80s Music City gained a reputation as the home base for groups like Jason & the Scorchers who smashed together elements of country and punk to make something totally original. Growing out of this scene but in a slightly different vein was Raging Fire. The group held onto their love of the cocksure mega rock bands like Led Zeppelin who had been so prevalent the previous decade, but added a defiant punk attitude and just a slight twang. Though today they would probably fall under the broad label of “indie rock”. Having a strong, charismatic female singer in Melora Zaner, who often focused lyrics on literate and Southern gothic themes, set Raging Fire apart from the herd and also gave the band a feminine edge. They were challenging and certainly different than everything else out there, yet they captured the attention of enough fans to play shows with other cult favorites of the time such as the Cramps and the Replacements. The group didn’t make it big and fell below the radar of many, but for those in the know they had an original sound that was unrivaled and damn good.
Eventually they called it quits in 1989, and though the members all moved on to successful careers outside of the music industry, they felt that it was time to bring Raging Fire’s music back for fans who never forgot them and those looking to discover one of the great under-the-radar bands of the 80s. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of their first EP, A Family Thing, Raging Fire is releasing its entire catalog – including previously unavailable studio recordings, alternate takes and live tracks – to digital platforms and on a 24-track compilation CD. The October 6th release date also includes the issuing of a limited-edition, 11-cut vinyl album of favorite tracks.
That is quite the package, and here at Glide we’re excited to offer an exclusive song stream of Raging Fire’s “Pain Of Loss Imagined”. According the drummer Mark Medley, the song “was recorded to 16 track analog tape in May 1989 at MTM studios in Nashville. It was produced and engineered by our friend Rick Will and was a demo eventually pitched to major labels. Unfortunately the band dissolved in the fall of ’89 perhaps before the song was fully disseminated. It has never been released to the public until now.”
Singer Melora Zaner-Godsey adds her own insight on the song and perhaps the magic of Raging Fire’s music as a whole, saying, “Many of my lyrics reflect on relationships – whether friends, lovers or family – as means of trying to understand my own humanity, sexuality, identity and place in this world. At the time I wrote this, I heard several stories of how men feel when their daughter’s are leaving home whether for school or marriage or to live on their own. I was curious by the pain in which they feel – as if they are losing something they might never experience again. This song is a story of such a moment when a daughter leaves her father to begin her life. Although this is not fully biographical, sometimes I would dedicate this song to my own father, whenever he was in the audience. Or to Michael’s father, Mike Godsey and his sister Cleo Godsey, as she was going growing up and going away to school soon at that time. It is named ‘Pain of Loss Imagined’ because in my heart I believe the love between a father and daughter survives no matter the pain felt at that moment. Michael and I wanted it to have an upbeat, slight country feel with folk undertones to infuse southern spirit into the tale.”
That may sound a bit heavy, but make no mistake about it, “Pain of Loss Imagined” is one rockin’ tune…
Raging Fire will reunite for a release party at Exit/In in Nashville on October 3rd. Tickets are on sale now.