Reading Rainbow: They have the technology!
Like many bands around these days, Reading Rainbow made use of the Internet in order to make connections. One day, a MySpace “friend-requesting rampage” led the two-person band, made up of Sarah Everton and Rob Garcia, to Mario Orduno, a pretty good guy to get in touch with about playing a show in San Diego. Orduno is, after all, a DJ, promoter and the owner of Art Fag Recordings.
Using the Internet to connect from the East to the West Coast and everywhere in between? That sounds pretty smart to me. The two do live all the way on in Philly, but thanks to the Internet they’ve made some pretty solid connections throughout the country. So many solid connections, in fact, that they’ve managed to put together a two-week tour where they’ll both stay and play shows with friends they’ve made online.
“Being in a band, the way the Internet is now, it makes it a lot more natural,” Everton explains. “It’s not like being on a dating site or anything like that. It’s not as awkward as I thought it would be.”
And they’re not about hating on the Internet either. While some bands would deny or not talk much about their use of Myspace to get their music into people’s ears, Everton praises the site for what it’s made possible.
“It’s kinda funny. For awhile, I remember where people would feel really embarrassed about talking about MySpace outside of MySpace,” she says. “I just got to the point where I was like, ‘You know what? It’s, like, the greatest thing to happen to music pretty much.’ We wouldn’t have anything without the Internet.”
So what has the Internet gotten them? Well, connections, for one thing. But it plays host to their music, too. As of right now, their music has not been physically released. But that’s only because of mess-ups on behalf of the pressing plants. Sadly, this means that the band won’t have any vinyl to sell on their tour. They did come up a solution though: make a really limited cassette tape right before they leave so they can have something to offer while on the road. And, as soon as the pressing plants get their shit together, they’ll have their first full-length record, Mystical Participation, ready to go. Mystical Participation contains songs like “Feral Kids,” full of muted shouts and fuzzy guitar and “Totem Pole,” with the same thick guitar laid over tribal sounding drums. All of the tracks have that of-the-moment lo-fi sound.
Tracing back to their beginnings, Reading Rainbow began when the drummer of a band they had been playing with couldn’t play a show. Without him, Everton and Garcia decided to play just the two of them. Everton taught herself enough about percussion to take his place, Garcia continued to play guitar and both of them sang. In the end, they decided to call themselves Reading Rainbow.
“My mom was an elementary school librarian and she taped all of the Reading Rainbow episodes off PBS,” Everton says, “I grew up off of it.
I liked the idea of taking a name like that out of context and then I liked the idea of the nostalgia behind it.”
But should they worry about getting sued by PBS? After all, Reading Rainbow is, first and foremost, the name of the children’s literary show.
“We thought about that before. But if PBS ever tried to sue us it would just be sweet publicity and we could just maybe give them a big pledge and they would leave us alone. I don’t know,” Everton says, laughing.
For now, they’re safe playing as Reading Rainbow. And hey, if it fails, Garcia’s got a degree in mechanical engineering and Everton is in graduate school at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Her art, which is splayed all over their Myspace and will be on their record covers and their merch (t-shirts and tote bags), is a lot like the name of their record. It’s mostly detailed drawings of wondrous wildlife with super bright colors thrown in for added mysticism. And that’s what they do: they participate and let the rest happen naturally.
“Don’t expect anything. I mean, Rob and I don’t expect shit from anyone. We’re about to go on tour for the first time ever and we’re not expecting anyone to be at any of the shows at all.”
Reading Rainbow play with very special guests at the Soda Bar on Thursday, Aug. 6.