With a name like Bleeding Rainbow, it’s hard to believe the band drew inspiration from a children’s show.
The Philly psychedelic punk quartet, formerly known as Reading Rainbow, just released its third full-length album “Yeah Right,” celebrating with a show at Johnny Brenda’s on Feb. 14.
The original Reading Rainbow members, Sarah Everton and Rob Garcia, met in Virginia and moved to Philadelphia in 2008, bought a house in Fishtown and started their punk band.
Reading Rainbow began as solely Garcia and Everton’s project; Everton taught herself how to play the drums, followed by guitar and bass – with some help from Garcia – and they were able to develop their punk-psych sound. After various comments and confusion, the band chose to change its name to Bleeding Rainbow after its second album “Prism Eyes” was released. It also eventually chose to add additional members in order to play bigger live shows.
Everton, Garcia and guitarist Al Creedon sat down before their show at Johnny Brenda’s to talk about some of their favorite bands, their musical aesthetic and the meaning behind the new album title, “Yeah Right.”
The Temple News: Why did you change your name from Reading Rainbow to Bleeding Rainbow?
Rob Garcia: Reading Rainbow started as a children’s show on PBS. Our original idea was to take Reading Rainbow from our childhood and redefine it in a different context. If you don’t know about the TV Show, you think about the name, and it’s super trippy.
Sarah Everton: No one really understood that, though. It was just years of stupid comments from different people, and we didn’t really want to have to keep dealing with that. I think if anybody had been cool with us using their trademark name it would’ve been PBS.
TTN: And how did that develop into the band you are now?
SE: When you’re a really tiny band, and more people discover you, you’re still a small band for a long time. It takes forever before you’re not considered a small band. It was like, “Oh, they’re named after a TV Show.”
TTN: What do you think is the biggest difference between your most recent album, “Yeah Right,” and your previous albums, “Mystical Participation” and “Prism Eyes”?
RG: Our first album came from so deep within, and it was just me and [Everton]. We both had just recently finished other projects and just wanted to write a batch of songs and run with it. It was mostly to focus on the aesthetic with huge drony guitars, minimal loud drums and weird vocals. We wrote most of the songs in the span of a few weeks. [Creedon] helped us mix and record and released our first LP, then that was kind of how he became involved. Since then we’ve really been able to develop our skills as musicians.
TTN: Why did you title it “Yeah Right”?
SE: We figured people who had followed us didn’t expect us to be able to do this. Rob has been playing piano since he was 8 and has mostly been playing music his whole life. Now we’re actually focusing on songwriting, this would totally go over some people’s heads. This is regarded as our sophomore album because some people don’t know about Mystical Participation. We’re still the same people. There are always lots of hooks and harmonies, and pop elements, and drone and punk beats. I feel like all the fundamental things have been there forever.
TTN: What are some bands that have influenced you musically?
SE: Half Japanese, Nirvana and The Urinals. There’s a ton of other ones but those are the three I’ve been thinking of a lot lately. Also I feel like I’ve been channeling Stereolab a lot also. But Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine have always been just general favorites.
TTN: What genre do you consider yourself?
SE: I think we all like psychedelic punk the best – we’ve all talked about that a lot. I’m more comfortable with genres the more open-ended they are, because when they get too specific it gets too complicated.
TTN: Al Creedon, how did you become part of the group?
Al Creedon: I became friends with [Garcia] and [Everton] after helping them record their first album and saw them play a few house shows back in the day.
SE: The first house show was at Castle Gay in South Philly, which is no longer there. We used to play Danger Danger Gallery and a few other random ones, including the Elbow Room, the Terradome at Drexel. Houses always turn over, and now I feel old, because I don’t know about as many now.
TTN: Sarah, did you play any instruments when you were younger?
SE: No, when I was 13 I really wanted to play guitar, but my parents acted like it was a phase. So I just felt shot down from the get-go, but when [Garcia] and I had the band Forensic Teens I just played noise on this Casio keyboard, and it just looped lots of weird noises. I really wanted to play drums, so I started with just two then went to play a full kit.
TTN: Did you always know you wanted to start a band, even before you got married?
SE: We always knew we wanted to do a project that was just [Garcia] and I, so after our drummer from Forensic Teens couldn’t play a few shows, we used that as an opportunity to start Reading Rainbow.
TTN: What happens next?
RG: We’re already in the planning stages of recording another album this summer and hopefully release it in the fall. Before we had a year between albums from just touring and we had tons of down time, so now we have tons of songs.
TTN: Do you think you’ll always live in Philly?
SE: I feel like if we ever left, everyone would be so mad at us. I can’t see us living anywhere else.
Rachel Barrish can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.