Back in the late '80s, the Rave-Ups were a critically acclaimed Los Angeles-based band straddling the line between rock and country. Songs like "Positively Lost Me" led them to a major recording contract with Epic Records, while the connections landed them a role in seminal '80s teen flick "Pretty in Pink."
Frontman Jimmer Podrasky was dating Molly Ringwald's older sister, Beth, who eventually gave birth to Podrasky's child, Chance. After his son was born, Podrasky took time off from the music scene to raise Chance as a single dad. Now, he's back with his "The Would-Be Plans," his first new music in 23 years, released under the name of "Jimmer." Produced by former Smash Mouth drummer and current Dwight Yoakam sideman Mitch Marine, and featuring fellow Yoakam band player guitarist Brian Whelan, as well as multi-instrumentalist Ted Russell Kamp, it'll undoubtedly find a following with old Rave-Ups fans as well as new converts.
As impressed as we are with "The Would-Be Plans," we also had to ask about Podrasky about his experience with the Rave-Ups in "Pretty in Pink." He was more than happy to take a trip down memory lane and talk about the film that gave his band some major exposure back in the day. "I am inextricably linked to Molly [Ringwald] and 'Pretty in Pink,' not just because the band was in it, but she's my son's aunt and that's never going to change," he says.
Podrasky first met Molly Ringwald when she was just 14, following her critically acclaimed role in Paul Mazursky's "Tempest." With her star rising, Ringwald soon landed a role in John Hughes' "Sixteen Candles," followed by "The Breakfast Club" and then "Pretty in Pink." Since Ringwald was a fan of the band, she tried to get them a gig to do the title track for "16 Candles."
"We recorded it at some big-ass dubbing studio at Universal, but they did not use the Rave-Ups version," Podrasky says. "They used the Stray Cats, because they Stray Cats were famous."
Still, Ringwald managed to slip one of her favorite bands into the film, scrawling "The Rave-Ups" on the three-ring binder seen in the film.
When Hughes wrote "Pretty in Pink" with Ringwald in mind, the band got another shot, performing the songs "Rave-Up, Shut-Up" and "Positively Lost Me" in a nightclub scene that featured Jon Cryer and Annie Potts sitting at a table, soon joined by Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy. Both songs are on the band's critically acclaimed 1985 indie debut album "Town and Country."
To make the film shoot, the Rave-Ups -- which also included drummer Tim Jimenez, guitarist Terry Wilson, and bassist Tommy Blatnik -- had to take time off from their day jobs working in the mail room of A&M Records, and by strange coincidence, A&M had a deal to release the film's soundtrack, which was bad luck for the Rave-Ups.
"It was classic Hollywood irony that when the soundtrack came out, it happened to come out on A&M Records," he says. "Believe me, the powers that be at A&M Records did not see the Rave-Ups as a real band. We were the mail boys and what we were doing was just a hobby."
The album, which went on to become a top 5 hit, featured the Psychedelic Furs, reprising their own song as the film's title cut, as well as Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark's hit "If You Leave" and tracks by New Order and Echo & the Bunnymen. Notably absent was the Rave-Ups.
"I still remember that sinking feeling when I was unloading huge trucks, along with the guitar player, of the posters of 'Pretty in Pink' and there were all those bands listed, but not the Rave-Ups," Podrasky says. "As a songwriter, if one of those two songs that I sang and we played in the movie would have been on that soundtrack, it would have made a huge difference, not only financially but career-wise, but it didn't happen."