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"The Cutest Kid On The Block"

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This is the story about Rainface.

RAINFACE 1970-1972

RAINFACE was a band formed in Boston in 1970 by David-Allen Ryan, Danny McBride, Bobby “Jesse” Henderson and Glenn Jordan. The first three had been members of a disintegrating Boston Super Group called THE RAMRODS, originally called THE ROCKIN’ RAMRODS, a band that had had great success in the 1960s. But in the early summer of 1970 THE RAMRODS experienced a blow from which they never recovered.- - they were fired from a gig at Preston’s Airport Lounge on Nantucket, the only place on the island with a live band and about the only time they had ever dealt with such a negative reaction. Leader Vinnie Campisi, a founding member of the band, said he’d had enough. He was married now and had a gig with Warner Brothers Records in the Boston office and decided he would devote his career to the business side of music. Danny took a gig as a radio DJ on WAAF, and Bobby devoted more of his time to being a recording engineer at Angus Studios where he eventually became one of New England’s premiere recording engineers. David hung out on the island of Nantucket for a couple of months. During that time he met Alice Pitcher, a beautiful scion of an old Nantucket family dating back to the whaling days of yesteryear. His love of music and his fondness for Alice helped him develop a plan. He would form a new band to play at Preston’s, initially anyway, before going out to conquer the great wide world. He called Danny and Bobby and told them that we should continue playing, using an acquaintance, Glenn Jordan, from Canterbury, New Hampshire to take Vinnie’s place. It would be a great band- -four great singers and players capable of all kinds of music from light country rock to heavier hard rock. They really only rehearsed once because Bobby had decided to stay with his studio gig and not travel anymore. So David went about finding a drummer to take Bobby’s place. He found Stew Kassner from Mattapan, a section of suburban Boston. Stewie proved to be the “Ringo” of the band, totally obsessed with music, and bringing a sense of humor to the group that infected everything they did. So in the winter of 1970-71 they began rehearsals at Stew’s parents’ house, which had a finished basement- family room perfect for a four piece band- -David and Danny, Glenn and Stew- -bass, two guitars and drums.

Their first gig was actually at The Summit Club in Peabody, Massachusetts on Route #1. Club owner “Marion” hired them on for several weeks playing Wednesday thru Saturday nights. During this time another member emerged- -a manager named Arthur “Scotty” Scott, who promised to get some great gigs and supply some equipment. When the springtime came and the snow melted, the band headed out to Nantucket to Preston’s. They lived there and gigged there for several months- -David and Alice in one room, and Danny, Glenn and Stew in the other room. Scotty came to see them occasionally and never seemed to have found another gig. The band had gotten Preston’s on their own, although Scotty took a commission anyway. During band meetings with Scotty it was often mentioned that he didn’t seem to be doing anything for his commission. Eventually this came to a head and RAINFACE was replaced at Preston’s Airport Lounge by another of his bands, JUSTIN TYME, featuring future AEROSMITH guitarist Brad Whitford. This started a feud with Scotty that left him fired and out of the financial equation. It was now late spring and there were no gigs until Ed Malhoit decided to take the band on. He already had several popular bands throughout New England, including the newly formed AEROSMITH, and he plugged RAINFACE into his Northern New England resort circuit. They played The Blue Tooth, The Red Barn, Ladd’s and a dozen more of the happening venues at the time. They worked every week.

They developed a following. Then they scored the summer gig at The Mill Hill Club in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. Seven nights a week opening for the headliners, which for July was a barrel-house act called BOB EMMA’S RAGTIME REVIEW which was a musical comedy act that filled the place with college kids. In August the act was THE HAPPENINGS, New Jersey’s great FOUR SEASONS-ESQUE singing group that had had several hits in the 1960s. RAINFACE played every night as opening act. This was a good billing as the two acts were very complimentary in that they really related to an audience, so much so, that when THE HAPPENINGS played in Boston at King’s Row, a very fashionable club at the time, they invited RAINFACE to open. Unfortunately, RAINFACE did not dress in snappy uniforms, or matching outfits, but in jeans and sneakers, and had long hair and looked more like THE GRATEFUL DEAD than grateful to be in one of Boston’s most upscale clubs where there was a dress code to get in that the RAINFACE band couldn’t pass. The clientele liked them anyway, but the management never had them back. The following winter they headed north again to ski country and played a number of the fashionable ski lodges in Vermont and New Hampshire and also in Maine and Quebec. All went well until late winter when Bob Emma needed a bass player and David accepted the gig- -it was more money. His gig with Bob Emma lasted about six months until THE HAPPENINGS needed a bass player, which was more money and better music. He stayed with THE HAPPENINGS until SHA NA NA needed a bass player and he took that gig and played with them for the rest of his career until his death in 1998. Glenn Jordan picked Jeff Licht to take David’s place and as a good a bass player as he was, he was not the stage personality David had been. RAINFACE continued with Jeff instead of David for about six months, but Glenn wanted to do other things- -he came to Hollywood and eventually got music scoring gigs, most notably PEE WEE’S PLAYHOUSE. Jeff went back to school and got his doctorate and is on the frontlines of the greening of America, designing green buildings and eco-systems that will self-sustain. Stew played with some other local Boston bands, got married and moved to Florida. Danny joined David in SHA NA NA for a few years, especially during GREASE and THE SHA NA NA TV SHOW as “Dirty Dan” and now has his own geezer rock band based in Los Angeles.

RAINFACE was as good as EAGLES in those days. Too bad not much exists that they recorded, although there is some out there. They also were more fun than just about any other band around. Vinnie Campisi has retired after a career with Warner Brothers and Bobby Henderson is with the Bose Corporation. Stew is still in Florida, and Glenn and Danny are in Los Angeles.

Thank you Danny and Jesse!