Friday, September 17, 2010

Sacred Ground: Patti Keating Remembers Rainer

Memories of My Life With Rainer
by Patti Keating

Rainer & Patti, circa 1980
The first time I saw Rainer play was sometime in 1978 when Howe Gelb took me to a little dive bar on Stone called "Bogeys" and he was playing for about 4 people that were shooting pool. He blew me away right then and there. The next time I saw him play was at a bar called "The Night Train" where he was opening for Rick Danko and Paul Butterfield. He blew the roof off the place.

Then, he and Howe formed the Giant Sandworms with Billy Sedlmayr and Dave Seger. They all got to play their own songs ,or cover the ones they wanted. Rainer chose songs like "Wayfaring Stranger" and "Your gonna Need Somebody" by Richard Thompson.
The guys wanted to try to break out in NYC but Rainer wanted to stay in Tucson. He played with lots of different musicians until he met Nick Augustine and Ralph Gilmore. They were (are) the best rhythm section since Sly and Robbie.

They were playing in a place called “Nino's” one night (on First Ave. and Grant Rd) and Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top showed up in a white limo. He and his girlfriend were all decked out in white and strutted in like they were in Hollywood, sat down and got his socks blown off by the band.  He sent his bodyguard over to Rainer and asked him to have a drink with Billy and they became fast friends. Billy invited him to Texas to record what later became "The Texas Tapes".

Rainer learned how to play the violin as a child and like so many people back then, after seeing the Beatles on TV he switched to guitar and was self taught.
Rainer as a young rocker

Rainer once wrote "Music has always been one of the great mysteries to still draws me in. I can remember back in Berlin when I was four years old playing concertina in the building courtyard for any neighbor who'd listen and they would toss coins and cookies. I heard the Dobro once in my dreams when I was young, took note of that sound and went looking for it." He found it alright.
Rainer in London, in a record store selling his "Barefoot Rock" album (see it??)

The way he met Robert Plant was when Rainer did a radio spot in London to promote a show that night, Robert was listening and later came down to the gig. He invited him to come back a few weeks later to record some songs with him which became B-sides of singles that were on "Fate of Nations". I remember Rainer saying that hearing Robert singing "Whole Lotta Love" on his headphones was right out of a dream. They stayed friends up until the end. He called Rainer to say good bye to him right before he died. So did Billy.

While he was in remission (for cancer) he got to go to Nashville and record with Emmylou Harris doing one of his songs called "The Good Book" that was on the Inner Flame CD (soon to be re-released) and that was a high point for him as well.

Other high points for him was playing at Project More for the kids in the "Rock school" class. He loved kids and in my mind he was the best Father a child could ask for. All three of his children are musicians and have a deep love of music that Rainer had.
I don't play an instrument but grew up in the 60's and 70's weened on Blind Faith, Traffic, Hendrix and the Doors, so rock and roll is in my DNA. My Mom "Vicha" is 79 years old and to this day Creedence Clearwater is her favorite band and she can’t hear them without doing a little dance!

He died in Vicha's house in the same room that both my Grandfather and Grandmother died in. Sacred ground.

(c) 2010 by Patti Keating

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