Pretty in Pink’s The Rave Ups to reunite at the Moorpark-Tujunga Village Open House this Saturday

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alisonfreebairnsmith90BY ALISON FREEBAIRN-SMITH

Back in the mid 1980’s, my little sister introduced me to a local L.A. band called The Rave-Ups, who were starting to get the attention of the major music critics of the day as they played to crowds of adoring hipsters at legendary clubs like The Palomino.  With songs that sounded as though they could have been penned by Bob Dylan, they were a much needed fix for those of us whose appetites exceeded that of the average Madonna fan and were desperate for something that not only reached us on a musical level, but gave us something to think about along with a healthy dose of irony on the side.

The Rave-Ups.

The Rave-Ups.

Jimmer Podrasky, lead singer and songwriter, formed the band back in Pittsburgh while attending Carnegie Mellon University.  After graduating, he headed for Los Angeles where he eventually reformed the band with local musicians Terry Wilson (guitar), Tommy Blatnik (bass) and Tim Jimenez (drums).  They stole our hearts with their dreamy looks and Jimmer’s refreshingly witty perspectives on things like love, life and Gremlins?  Yes, one of their best-loved songs was a Beach Boys-like ode to Jimmer’s AMC Gremlin.

The Rave-Ups were an oasis of smart, roots rock at a time when even people like The Eagles seemed like they’d lost their original sound.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked a lot of the pop music that was on the radio at the time, but couldn’t help but feel I’d taken a huge step up when I listened to bands like The Rave-Ups, World Party, and Dire Straits.  They were not only making great music, but talking to us as though we had brains and could understand clever phrases and complex emotions as well as thoughtful contemplations.

The Rave-Ups performing at L.A.'s legendary Palomino Club.

The Rave-Ups performing at L.A.'s legendary Palomino Club — mid 1980s.

John Hughes, a Rave-Ups fan, cast the band in his iconic movie, Pretty in Pink, featuring relative new-comer, Molly Ringwald.  Their first record, Town and Country had already sold 40,000 copies and after the movie became such a huge hit, The Rave Ups were off an running.

In 1987, they were signed by Epic and released two phenomenal records — The Book of Your Regrets, and Chance (named after Jimmer’s young son whose mother is Molly Ringwald’s sister), both of which were well-received by their fans as well as the toughest music critics like Robert Christgau (Rolling Stone) and Robert Hilburn (L.A. Times), who became champions of the band.  But, the label was restructuring and didn’t promote the records and eventually they were dropped from the roster.

Town and Country, the band's first album.

Town and Country, the band's first album.

The band appeared in an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 before going their separate ways in 1992, and has remained a favorite of indie rock stations all over the world, including KUSF in San Francisco, where my daughter, DJ Emily Rose, spins their discs, regularly, on her show airing Tuesdays from 3 to 6 pm streaming worldwide at www.kusf.org.

This Saturday, December 5th, The Rave-Ups will reunite for a much-anticipated performance at the Moorpark-Tujunga Village Holiday Open House on Tujunga Avenue, south of Moorpark, where they will play out in front of Hoity Toity, a designer-owned boutique located at 4381 Tujunga Avenue, across the street from Aroma Café.   Fans will be treated to all of their old favorites including Class Tramp and Positively Lost Me from the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, as well as new gems from Jimmer, who has continued to write songs since the band’s breakup and still sounds great.  Terry Wilson’s guitar work is always so tasty and you may even see him bust out a little accordion.

The Rave-Ups appeared in the John Hughes film, Pretty in Pink.

The Rave-Ups appeared in the John Hughes film, Pretty in Pink.

Whether you’re a fan from the old days, like me, or just someone who appreciates superior songwriting and/or great music, you will love The Rave-Ups.  Come down for this historic reunion and enjoy all of the other festivities at the annual Moorpark-Tujunga Village Open House, including big sales, great food, jugglers, carolers, Santa Claus, popcorn, cotton candy, and lots more fun all happening on the hippest block in the valley.

See you there!  In the meantime, you can hear The Rave-Ups at www.myspace.com/theraveups1 and see some of their music videos at http://www.vimeo.com/4070293 and http://www.vimeo.com/4078660 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfdcbZxzKWc

Alison Freebairn-Smith is a freelance writer/songwriter and second generation native Los Angelean who grew up in Sherman Oaks where she once owned her own boutique and currently resides in Valley Village.

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