Through her work as a performer and her willingness to help others, Janet Rains, aka Jane Train, touched a lot of lives in her community, and, in the wake of her untimely passing, her colleagues and friends are making sure her spirit continues to reach those in need.
Jane Jam will take place from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Oct. 12 at The Woodlands in Plains Township and will feature 21 acts on two stages. Proceeds will be used to set up a memorial fund in Rains’ name that will go toward music scholarships and camps for children.
Rains, who was best known locally as the lead vocalist of ‘80s cover group M80, was accomplished, having toured with Liz Phair as a backup vocalist on the Lilith Fair tour.
A Pittston resident, Rains was acting as tour manager for New York-based hard rock outfit Adrenaline Mob on July 14 when a devastating incident between the band’s RV and a tractor-trailer occurred outside of Gainsville, Fla., claiming one life, injuring several others and causing the injuries to which Rains would eventually succumb.
Rob Dressler, of Plains Township, and Jason McCloe, of Wilkes-Barre, were also hurt in the crash. A percentage of proceeds will go toward helping McCloe with his medical bills.
Respected local music journalist and radio personality Alan K. Stout remembers Rains throughout years of covering the arts in Northeastern Pennsylvania, being present in the music scene and organizing charitable events that brought together media and creative circles.
“She was a great vocalist and entertainer,” Stout said. “She had so much charisma that she was, in our local scene, a star.”
Since her passing, Stout said, he’s realized that one of her stellar qualities was her lack of pretentiousness.
“So many people had pictures with her,” he said. “She mingled with everybody. She knew everybody. She was part of the community, not just the music scene.”
Stout, who began Concert for Karen in 1999, which eventually became Concert for a Cause and found a permanent home at The Woodlands, said Rains was always willing to participate in those benefits.
“When it came to Concert for a Cause, we did that show for 12 years, and for five or so, M80 was one of the biggest bands on the bill. They were a big part of the growth of that. (Janet) always came with bells and whistles on.”
Dawn Randazzo, who was promotions manager at the Woodlands at the time, was instrumental in organizing the events once they moved to the venue.
“When I think of her,” Randazzo said of Rains, “she had this really loud laugh. I hear her laugh in my head. It could be across the room or right in front of me.”
Randazzo also remembers Rains as someone who cared a lot about people, especially the “underdog in a situation.”
“It seemed she would find that person, and she would always focus on making them feel special,” Randazzo said.
For Jane Jam, Stout and Randazzo, with the help of Woodlands food and beverage director Mitch Cornfeld, and an army of local musicians, have pulled their talents and resources to pay tribute to Rains and continue her legacy.
“We’re going to honor her life with music,” Stout said.
Brain McDonald, of Plains Township, said he and Rains were the closest of friends. Like Randazzo, the first thing McDonald remembered was Rains’ penchant for humor.
“She was hysterical,” he said. “We laughed about everything. She was easy to talk to about any of your problems and she always gave her best advice.”
McDonald, who manages Plains Township establishment Ole Tyme Charley’s, said Rains moved to Northeastern Pennsylvania from New Jersey to be closer to him and others in their circle of friends.
McDonald had a front row seat for the formation and development of M80, but as revered as Rains was as a musician, McDonald looks back on her other attributes as her most noteworthy.
“She started a gathering, a ministry at Heat (Bar & Nightclub in Wilkes-Barre) for a while for the gay community,” he said. “She’d meet on Sundays right before they opened. If people had issues, she’d talk to them. She’d share stories about little miracles that happened to her throughout her life. She wasn’t telling them about her problems; she was helping others all the time, even if she was going through stuff herself.”
Stout, Randazzo and McDonald each noted that the members of the musical community who will participate in Jane Jam are not only happy to help but also are looking forward to being together to remember one of their own.
“I always knew she was well loved,” McDonald said, “but this just proved it. Just everyone wanting to help and all the bands getting together — I think it’s amazing.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.
JANE JAM SCHEDULE
6 to 6:30 p.m. — Lissa and Jackson Vee
6:45 to 7:15 p.m. — K8
7:30 to 8 p.m. — Ed Randazzo, Bret Alexander, Ed Appnel & The Husty Brothers
8:15 to 8:45 p.m. — Proud Monkey
9 to 9:30 p.m. — MiZ
9:45 to 10:15 p.m. — Charles Havira Band
10:30 to 11 p.m. — Neil Nicastro Band
11:15 to 11:45 p.m. — The Jerks
6 to 6:30 p.m. — Iron Cowboy
6:30 to 7 p.m. — Plus 3
7 to 7:30 p.m. — Subnotics
7:30 to 8 p.m. — Strawberry Jam
8 to 8:30 p.m. — Underground Saints
8:30 to 9 p.m. — Flaxy Morgan
9 to 9:30 p.m. — 40 Lb. Head
9:30 to 10 p.m. — Gentlemen East
10 to 10:30 p.m. — M80
10:30 to 11 p.m. — Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen
11 to 11:30 p.m. — Tommy Guns Band
11:30 to midnight — Three Imaginary Boys
Midnight to 12:30 a.m. — Tribes
12:30 to 1 a.m. — Dodge City