From the hinterlands of Pennsylvania, commonly known as Doylestown, home to both Pink and American Idol’s Justin Guarini, comes Rausch, a musical entity that combines pop sensibilities with progressive rock musical prowess. With Jersey shore powerhouse drummer Joe Nevolo bringing his heavy beat to the compositions of Doug Rausch, along with the guitar stylings of acclaimed fret man Gary Wehrkemp, the group has created an innovative sound that they hope will bring a breath of fresh air into a less than exhilarating pop musical landscape.
“I am responsible for the majority of what you hear,” Doug explains. “All vocals, all pianos, keyboards, synths, and any other miscellaneous ‘blips and bleeps’ you hear. Hope you’ve got headphones!”
Doug’s musical vision became complete, however, with the addition of Joe and Gary. “Fortunately, when the other two musicians came on board, I knew we were going to have a real ‘magnum opus’ on our hands,” he says. “With each passing day, I am more and more of a believer that things happen for a reason. Gary and Joe not only found my vision unique and interesting, but equally as important, they understood it and could execute it to perfection. Now I’m finding myself saying things like, ‘I don’t know what I’d do without them.’ Gary provides about 81 percent of the guitars, and all bass, and Joe is the drummer. They have both been in several bands, but they are currently best known as musicians in a band I was already a loyal fan of, Shadow Gallery. When I found out that Gary and Joe were actually not inaccessible people, I went on a mission and would not take no for an answer. Hearing the music now in its final form, the way they play their hearts out as if every note was their own and their very lives depended on it, I have to say, thank God they said yes.”
Is it possible to have what one might call “thinking man’s pop music”? Doug seems to think so, and time will tell if he’s correct in that assumption. “You see, I want to show people that it’s not just ‘either/or,’” he says. “You can have something profoundly affect you besides the same three chord go-around you’ve already heard a million times. Yes, at the end of the day, a good song is a good song, and I love a lot of the aforementioned three-chord masterpieces, but sooner or later, whether we realize it or not, music history is going to need a kick in the ass. Personally, I believe that time is now. Can I definitively say that out of the catalog of Rausch you are going to hear something you’ve absolutely never heard before? Maybe, maybe not. But I’d like to start a conversation. I would like more people to see that the interplay between intellectual and emotional can enhance and augment the experience. To me, music really is life.”
Thus far, the new CD has drawn a positive reaction from those who’ve been exposed to it. “Fan reaction to this album has completely blown me away,” says Doug. “When you are just starting out nowadays, assuming you opt not to get processed and molded into someone else’s plan, there’s no label support, no grand scale promotion, nothing. As I say in my liner notes, you’ve got to do it all yourself. Even without having played a note live yet, people are responding. Often you’ve got to be a well established platinum artist to hear things like, ‘Your music saved my life,’ but even if the quantity of fans has yet to reach that next level, the quality of the reactions is right on the mark. It’s encouraging. I recall a quote about King’s X: ‘There’s two types of people in this world—those who love the band, and those who never heard of the band.’ Those who know about my music truly get it and I am grateful for that.”
We may be hearing more of Doug’s vision soon, as the CD has just been picked up by a major independent radio promoter, Gary Leftkowith, and Gary has some great things going on for the band. We will also soon be seeing Doug bring that sense of musical revelation to the live stage, and he expects to be hitting New Jersey venues during 2010. “Just like with the recording process, the obsessive perfectionistic nature of this takes time, but within those parameters, I’m moving as quickly as I can,” he says.