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Jimmer Podrasky: Back on the scene

Rave-Ups frontman Jimmer Podrasky returns as a solo act.

February 28, 2014|By Craig Rosen
  • Former Rave-Up Jimmer Podrasky is performing a twice-a-month residency at Lucy's 51 in Toluca Lake. His album-release performance is Wednesday, March 5, 2014.
Former Rave-Up Jimmer Podrasky is performing a twice-a-month… (Courtesy 0f Jimmer…)

Back in the mid-to-late '80s it appeared that singer/songwriter Jimmer Podrasky and his band, the Rave-Ups, were on the verge of bigger things. "Town & Country," the band's 1985 full-length debut indie album, generated critical acclaim. They appeared in the film "Pretty in Pink," graduated to a major label, released two albums and had a guest spot on "Beverly Hills 90210," but then it all went south.

Epic Records couldn't figure out how market the band and Podrasky was dealing with the added pressure of becoming a single dad, so he put his musical career on hold to concentrate on raising his son.

More than two decades later, his son Chance is now a full-grown man and Podrasky, 56, is back making music. Late last year, he released "The Would-Be Plans," his solo debut under his first name, Jimmer. "It was what you'd call a soft release," Podrasky quips. "It was so soft, it was almost liquid."

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With little money to promote the album, Podrasky tested the waters by sending copies of the CD to a select group of tastemakers that liked his earlier work with the Rave-Ups, a band that tread the line between rock 'n' roll, folk and country before that sound was branded Americana. After receiving positive feedback, Podrasky is jumping headfirst back into the game.

On Wednesday night at Lucy's 51 in Toluca Lake, he'll celebrate the digital release of the album through iTunes, Amazon and other digital retailers. Then, he'll set up shop at the nightspot on a biweekly basis, playing his own set and playing host to like-minded singer-songwriters and other bands, possibly even the Rave-Ups, who still play a few gigs every year. For Podrasky, the return to recording and performing live on a regular basis is a long time in coming.

Originally inspired to make music after catching a Ramones gig at a pizza joint while he was attending Carnegie Mellon University in the late '70s, the first version of the Rave-Ups was a punk band. But gradually, Podrasky learned to balance that punk energy with more literate influences such as Bob Dylan and John Prine.

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