I mean it with complete sincerity and accompanying appreciation when I insist that the Rainmakers were the perfect band for the student-run radio station where I spent my collegiate years. While I and my cohorts were committed to the rebellion of carrying our playlists away from the straitlaced material found elsewhere on the dial, we weren’t really prepared to run that far.
The band from Kansas City, Missouri operated with a Midwestern earnestness that we could relate to in our little Wisconsin college town. The songs were earthy but polished, pointed but jaunty. They had a way with a hook and wrote lyrics that detailed the travails of modern existence with a plain spoken quality that easily stirred knowing nods.
The lack of fuss in their approach allowed the band to get away with the occasional sentiment that I think we may have otherwise found unbearably cheesy. While the Rainmakers exhibited a raucous sense of humor from time to time, irony wasn’t part of their arsenal. So when “Spend It on Love” was released as the lead single from their 1989 album, The Good News and the Bad News, we took it at face value.
I took to the message of “Spend It on Love,” contrary to my more typical instinct when I was hovering around the age of twenty. (It surely helped that the lyrics direct some ire at the U.S. government’s tendency to appropriate dollars to militaristic endeavors rather than the sort of programs that help the neediest member of the citizenry, so there was a little fight-the-power to the song.) As I get older — and we trudge through a new mini-era of weaponized bigotry — I find even greater value in what the Rainmakers are saying here. And I marvel that the assertion of offering love and support can be so radical as to be genuine protest rock.
Listen or download –> The Rainmakers, “Spend It on Love”
(Disclaimer: I believe most of the Rainmakers’ catalog to be out of print, at least as physical items that can be procured from your favorite local, independently-owned record store in a manner that compensates both the original artist and the proprietor of said shop, even if the band is one of many from that timeframe that have reunited to once again operate as a going concern. I submit this track with the belief that doing so should fall under the principle of fair use, but also as encouragement to explore the music of the Rainmakers and, for those who chose to, support the band fiscally in whatever way makes sense to you. Maybe pay band leader Bob Walkenhorst to come play in your living room. Regardless of the lack of malice in my intentions, I do know the rules. I will gladly and promptly remove this track from my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with authority to make such a request.)