Writer Stephen King became a fan and even quoted Rainmakers’ lyrics in two of his novels.
The origins of The Rainmakers can be traced all the way back to 1983, when a trio from Kansas City, calling themselves Steve, Bob, and Rich, became quite popular throughout the Midwest. After releasing one album, which drew the attention of a few major labels, they soon became signed to Polygram, added a drummer to their lineup, and changed their name to the more professional-sounding The Rainmakers.
Fronted by singer/songwriter Bob Walkenhorst, the quartet quickly developed a reputation for writing about offbeat and unusual subject matter, the product of Walkenhorst’s unique, cynical, and often sarcastic view of life. Writer Stephen King became a fan and even quoted Rainmakers’ lyrics in two of his novels, The Tommyknockers and Gerald’s Game.
The band’s 1986 major-label debut received a great deal of critical praise throughout the country, helping it reach #87 on the Billboard album chart. It received its greatest success overseas, however, where the single “Let My People Go-Go,” which still remains the band’s biggest hit, peaked at a spot on the U.K.’s top 20 singles chart. Their European following continued to grow throughout the late ’80s and early ’90s, leading headlining status on festival bills, especially in Norway, where the Rainmakers still have a huge and very dedicated fan base.
In 1990, after releasing four albums that collectively sold over half a million copies worldwide, the Rainmakers pressed the “pause” button on their career and took a four-year break to focus on the member’s personal lives. They created two more albums, 1994’s Flirting with the Universe and ’97’s excellent Skin before deciding to break up again in 1998.
Fast forward 13 years to 2011: The Rainmakers reformed with three of its four original members intact. Their latest release 25 On (Bat Records), a title that aptly refers to both the years since the band’s inception as well as its current forward-thinking mindset, has received positive online reviews and is described as stylistically picking up right where they left off. One reviewer called it “real fun” and “worth waiting for,” words that undoubtedly will also be used by all of those in attendance of their upcoming St. Louis performance. | Michele Ulsohn
The Rainmakers play Off Broadway in St. Louis on Friday, March 9. Doors 7:30 p.m., show 8. Tickets are $15 over 21/$18 under. Be sure to arrive early, as there will be no opening act for this show.