Ladies and Gentlemen: A White Album

Though I love The Clash and I can listen all day to Joe Strummer shout about the Sandinistas, in general the records that most affect me are personal. Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, Ani DiFranco’s Dilate and Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions all tell larger stories: about American economic bleakness in the 80s, or the arc of a doomed relationship, or the struggle to live and love while navigating systemic inequality.

But they do it by getting very personal, either in confessional lyrics or through the use of characters, which humanizes larger issues and makes them relatable. I’m nowhere near as moved by a set of statistics about employment losses in the rust belt caused by outsourcing as I am by a Springsteen song about one dude spiraling into alcoholism and crime after his job disappears.  

“Well they closed down the auto plant in Mahwah late last month
Ralph went out lookin' for a job, but he couldn't find none
He came home too drunk from mixin' Tanqueray and wine
He got a gun, shot a night clerk, now they call him Johnny 99”

On top of being emotionally compelling, these albums are all just freaking awesome records. They are catchy and sad and triumphant and musically wonderful.

That’s the bar I’m striving for with my new album. It’s a high bar.


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I Am A Rock and Roll Doula

This journal/blog I'm keeping right now is mostly about my upcoming album and the performance that goes with it. But today I want to talk about an album by someone else -- my friend Tara Jeffery. Helping bring her first record into the world is a joyous parallel track.

Tara and I really bonded in the mid-80s when she rented a room from my dad in a house on Meadowbrook Drive he was paying for with Ecstasy money. She had style: long black hair, colorful jewelry, good taste in music. She sang at Charlie’s By The Sea. We went to the same high school, but she was a few years ahead of me. She was a massage therapist and, to my eyes, a fully functional grown up. I was eighteen with no idea what I was doing with myself except that it somehow involved writing songs. She and I would smoke my dad’s Benson & Hedges Menthols in the living room and whine together. It was so satisfying.

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Make Use of It

I started this long ago. Well, it seems like so long ago, last early Spring, thinking I needed to write something - a record or something. That was my first thought when the pandemic started. Make use of it.

But I was stuck - stuck in a way I'd never felt stuck before.

I thought, "I'll write that horror movie." So I bought a bunch of books related to the subject but it fairly quickly began to look like a dead end, or not my story to tell.

Then I thought, "I need a metaphor. I'm writing a musical."

So I found a great metaphor, and went down that path. It was about the fire. Thinking back, I guess I started the musical before the shutdown, but as the pandemic raged on I realized a local brush fire, no matter how devastating, was being eclipsed.

So I did what works best for me. I carved out a few days and drove away.


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Week 1: The Rules

The Rules

  • You have to be young.
  • You have to already be famous.
  • You have to be in New York.
  • You have to be in the Theatre.
  • You have to be in the Academy.
  • You have to be connected.
  • You have to have a band.
  • You have to know Stephen Colbert.
  • You have to have a budget.
  • You have to be someone else.
  • You have to have played at Largo.

The rule I most want to break is the one that says I have to do it by myself. Some people surround themselves with collaborators, and I do that, but at the core it's just me, I'll do it, I got it, don't worry about me, I'm fine.


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Tobias the Cat and the Thomas Fire, a 2020 Election Parable

When the Thomas Fire hit Southern California, we were in Chile, in a remote valley eight hours from the nearest airport, with no cell service and wifi that disappeared when the generators turned off at midnight. I’ve written elsewhere about the flood of frantic texts and voicemails, the panicked calls to our kids and to the friend who was pet-sitting, and the long trek home to the devastation.

But I want to tell you about the cat. The cat is a parable, as we are weeks away from the Presidential Election of 2020, and days after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. So please bear with me as I explain.

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Music for Shut-Ins


Hello! I've been teaching songwriting for quite a few years now, and I love doing it. Right now I need to be doing something that makes me feel I'm contributing to the world.

I've gone through my notes and rethought how my classes could work online. I've got a bunch of new ideas that I can't wait to try because it's fun to teach, it's heartening to connect with other humans, and I cannot watch Law & Order SVU all day every day.

So I've tried this out with some friendly volunteers to hash out the quirks of teaching online, and it's gone great! Here are the three classes I've come up with:

How Songs Work -- For non-musicians or songwriters who'd like a refresher of the basics. Join in a small online group once a week with singer-songwriter Rain Perry to listen to great music, learn about rhyme and rhythm and get a crash course in the history of rock and roll.

Start The Damn Song -- Making yourself sit down and write is half the battle. Don't do it alone! Join Rain and friends online for clever and fun songwriting prompts to kick your songs into gear.

Finish The Damn Song -- for songwriters at any level who need focused and supportive feedback to finish their songs-in-progress. Each session, we'll hash through whatever each student is working on and see if we can get those songs completed once and for all. We will also have a surprise special guest from time to time!

Each class runs for one hour and they are all free as long as we're quarantined, with a catch. To join the class, you have to make a donation (of any size your budget allows) to a worthy organization of your choice that is helping people in your community affected by COVID19 or suffering economic fallout from the quarantine. Show me the receipt and the class is yours.

Click the title of the class you like to sign up. Space is limited so it doesn't get unworkable in an online format. Questions? Email me! rain at rain perry dot com.



I don't tour.

It's been awhile since I posted an essay!

In the midst of the CD release extravaganza that's going on at my house, I'd like to take a moment to explain about a quirk of my musical career; the reason that I probably won't be coming to a live venue near you.

But first: check it out! It takes a village to release an album, and here's a bunch of wonderful people at a package-stuffing-pizza-party the other night.

Mailing Party!

All the rewards are going in the mail this week to the fine people who pledged to make this record Let's Be Brave happen. All the promo packages are heading out to 100 folk & community radio stations across the country. Borne from the Thomas Fire and the metaphorical fires we're all facing, with a full-on commitment to resilience, I'm so proud of this album and excited to share it with the world.

Meanwhile, I am gearing up for the big CD release party I'm doing in Ojai. I've got a killer band - eight of us - and I'm so excited to get to perform the album with its full orchestration. (Tickets here.)

So, here's the deal.


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In and of Itself is Dead. Long live In and of Itself.


A singer-songwriter’s elegy for a “magic show.”

Derek Delgaudio’s one man play/magic show/indefinable theatrical experience In and of Itself closes on August 19, and I am really bummed out about that. I don’t know him, I don’t have any connection to the play, but I’m sitting across the country with a weird sense of mourning. At the same time, I also feel an expanding feeling of possibility and even duty to make what I’ve learned from it live on.

I’ve seen In and of Itself four times — more than I’ve seen most bands, let alone most plays — and I’d go again if I could make it work. I would really love to be there for the last night to see how he ends it. And I’m hardly alone. Many people have spoken glowingly about this play, and some of its most vocal fans are fellow artists, including Ru Paul, Mark Hamill, Judd Apatow, Laurence O”Donnell, John Mulaney, Mike Bribiglia, Larry Wilmore, Bebe Neuwirth, Amanda Palmer & Neil Gaiman. Stephen Colbert described sitting in the theater with “a still layer of air around me that I didn’t want to disturb.”


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Springsteen, Bowie & DelGaudio are Tricking You


I talk about myself all the time: “Rain Perry is a Southern California folk rock singer-songwriter who wrote the theme song to blah blah blah…” I’m good at it. I’ve thought long and hard about the right way to describe – and promote – myself as a concept. And as the record industry has imploded, I’ve also wrestled with painful questions about who I am now. Is one’s value as an artist contingent on how many people experience one’s art?


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Keanuville Video



Between now and June 19, I'm going to post a series of behind-the-scenes stories about my music. I thought I'd start with the project for which I did my very first Kickstarter, back in 2010: the video for my song "Keanuville."

Also: Bill & Ted 3 is in production! Did you know June 9 is Bill & Ted day?

#1: Keanuville video

"Keanuville" is about an obsessed fan I met at a Dogstar concert. (Yes, I went to see the grunge band Dogstar, featuring Keanu Reeves on bass. But the song is not about me, I swear.)

"Keanuville" is the true-life tale of a middle aged woman who's seen Dogstar over a dozen times. Here's the amazing Sasha Heslip as The Fan.




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