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80s & 90s Inverness band Raining Stairs' music re-released for a new generation

By Philip Murray

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Raining Stairs came close to securing a record deal, but fell narrowly short.
Raining Stairs came close to securing a record deal, but fell narrowly short.

A musical blast from the past looks set to herald a surprising new chapter for a city band – more than three decades after they split.

Raining Stairs entertained music fans in the Highlands in the late 80s and early 90s, playing gigs across the region and beyond as they looked to build a following.

But while the band worked tirelessly to secure a record deal that they hoped would help them crack the big time, that dream fell agonisingly short.

After several years pushing full-time to land their big break the band – whose full-time members were David Ross on vocals, Ewan Scott on drums and Kenny MacLennan on guitar – narrowly missed out on a record deal, being pipped at the post on one occasion by Soul2Soul of Back to Life fame.

However now, more than 30 years later, David Ross has been inspired to revisit the band's old music and tapes, and he's in the process of re-releasing it online for existing and new generations of fans to enjoy.

He explained how he'd been inspired to revisit the band's back catalogue following his retirement. After the band folded in 1991 he'd moved into the tech sector but when he hit 60 and retired he found himself with "time on my hands".

"I started listening to [the music] for the first time in many years and thought 'I'm quite proud of that'. I listened to it a couple of times and wondered if I could revisit it to make it [the master] sound better.

"We've got a high-end recording studio a mile from where I live and thought I'd go and ask them. I went in with a copy of the CD and asked if they could do something with it."

Raining Stairs.
Raining Stairs.

He added: "I got it back in a lossless format and it sounds so much better. I was really pleased with it and got to thinking I should probably do something with this."

And with that in mind he decided to put the newly-remastered music on a streaming platform for people to download for free.

David explained that the decision to put the hi-resolution music online for free was an easy one, as revisiting the band's catalogue was "not about money".

He continued: "Now I've got a little more time on my hands, it got me wondering how can I leave a better legacy for the band. And I thought of all the things I could do. Time will tell, but I've always wanted to do a vinyl copy. There's also lots of other material that was never issued and we could maybe put some of that out."

Their six-track mini album from 1990 is now available to download free at https://soundcloud.com/user-942308726-119768452/albums

And their first release since 1990, the Sweet Satan EP, will be available to download in March.

David is also eager to explore some of the demos and other music that he and the band never finished, adding that while the masters of various tapes are "long gone", the same AI advances that helped the Beatles revisit and finally release the single Now and Then, will offer opportunities for him to clean up and isolate various tracks and remix them – once that technology becomes more commercially available in the near future.

He is also eager to explore some of the music he wrote in the years since the band folded, having continued to write lyrics while travelling the world through his work.

"There's quite a lot of things on the wish list," he said.

"I've got a lot of stuff I've done over the years. Because work took me all over the world I've got a backdrop of songs [from staying in hotels].

A tour poster from the band's heyday in the late 80s and early 90s.
A tour poster from the band's heyday in the late 80s and early 90s.

"There's a few that have really good potential."

Touching upon the new EP he added: "It's named after a painting I own by an American artist."

He's hoping it will prove popular, adding that if demand is there, "I've certainly enough [material] to do a couple of releases each year."

One of his focuses right now is seeing if he can get "the right pressing" for his possible vinyl version of the album.

"There's quite a way to go on that, but we're doing some initial analysis of the situation".

"I also want to build things up and see if there's interest out there".

The artwork on which the EP in March is based.
The artwork on which the EP in March is based.

He added that the level of interest will ultimately decide if any live performances are eventually on the table, although he stressed that any such shows are not on the horizon just yet – in part because he now lives in Woodbridge in Suffolk, a town with a strong musical heritage of its own as it was the home of legendary producer Brian Eno.

Whatever happens, this latter day renaissance for Raining Stairs and David's other material looks set to prove exciting for fans of the band.

Visit the band's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/theRainingStairs/ for more details.

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