Talk about dysfuctional relationships…
Syndicated shock jock Erich "Mancow" Muller is jetting in for this weekend’s Rainmakers reunion at Knuckleheads Saloon. Wouldn’t miss it for the world, says the Chicago-based radio and television personality.
In spite how things unfolded between the former Kansas Citian and a band once heralded as KC’s next big thing.
"Man, am I excited," Mancow says. "I’m a huge fan. The Rainmakers was the first music I picked to play on KOKO radio in Warrensburg when I was music director there. When I lived in Warrensburg I saw them in bars as ‘Steve Bob and Rich.’
"They had funny, quirky songs but their lead singer had no sense of humor. I hung posters for them. Added their songs to the radio. I got others to play their songs. I even booked them into my college (CMSU) for a sold out show with Big Country. And I actually physically pushed their vehicle out of the snow one time. Did the stage introductions. Interviewed them with a handheld Tandy microphone to reel-to-reel tape. I had to cut it by hand to edit in an edit bay at school. Can you imagine?"
The Rainmakers cast a big shadow back then.
"It’s the only concert where everybody knew every song and SANG along," Mancow says . "It was exciting. It was exactly like that ‘Darkside’ scene from ‘Eddie & the Cruisers.’ They were from our area and we were both just hitting the scene. I thought they’d be Bruce Springsteen big. Stephen King even quoted them in his books and was inspired by them. Then their record company went out of business and tastes changed. And they got jaded and bitter too soon it seemed."
But back to the future, Saturday’s sold-out show at Knuckleheads and a just-added Sunday show..
"This reunion is huge to me. Huge!" Mancow says. "There have been times when only Mancow and Norway seemed to care about these guys."
Which brings us to the dark side of Mancow’s Rainmakers romance…
"The other thing about it – and it’s bittersweet – is no matter how much I did for this band the lead singer was never anything but surly to me," Mancow says. "It’s almost like an abusive relationship w/ a battering spouse. You know the line, ‘Don’t meet your heroes?’ Never was it more true than with me and this band. I’d get em on Q104 (among other stations) and they’d do nothing to help. I hear KY102 (and KCFX) radio legend Skid Roadie feels the same way. The Moody Blues, Kid Rock and many others have been lovely to me.
"But I’m the puppy that keeps going to this band only to get kicked once more. Why am I flying in to see them?
I don’t need this at this point in my life. What am I thinking? Why am I doing this? Because their songs are filled with common sense, Christianity, and Missouri mule strength. They cut through to my very soul. Mercury Records at one point considered the awful name The Missouri Mules for them. It takes me back to a time when I couldn’t wait to leave the rich soil of middle- America. And now they bring me back.
"The Rainmakers are pure Missouri rock n’ roll. No other band captures my generation like them. They are Raytown circa 1986. From Sedalia to Lawrence Kansas we were rockin at the tea dance with them, chasing big fat blondes, getting drunk, and wondering what’s next for our lives and our souls. And for a Bible-belt rocker to claim God sang: "I did not put you here to worry; I did not put you here to fret; I put you here to love one another and to get out and have a good time" reset my thinking into believing in a God of love.
"They are playing a small venue with tickets impossible to obtain. They should have been playing stadiums. They really were that good."
Mancow’s bottom line:
"If Ray Davies of the Kinks and Bob Dylan had been raised in Kansas by the Reverend Billy Graham and had a genetically engineered baby boy it, would be Bob Walkenhorst leader of The Rainmakers," Mancow muses.
"Chuck Berry in a little row boat is going "Downstream" once more, and I can’t wait to behold the wonder one more time."