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City Rain: Topless. In a Vacant Lot.

June 2, 2011
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Text and image by G.W. Miller III.

Jarrett Zerrer (left) and Ben Runyan grew up together. Sort of.

They went to the same middle school and then the same high school. But they never spoke.

They both wound up at Temple University and they barely talked there, despite living on the same floor of a dorm during their freshman year.

“I don’t think we talked once,” Zerrer says.

“We were friends,” Runyan offers. “But we weren’t butt buddies like we are now.”

College came and went and both found themselves jobless. Ironically, they both broke up with girlfriends around that same time.

And that’s when they found each other. Because of mutual friends, Zerrer and Runyan started hanging out, playing guitar together. In March 2010, they formed City Rain, a neo-New Wave, electro-pop band.

At their first show, at the Velvet Lounge in Washington DC, they got kicked out of the club.

“The bartender girl was being rude to me all night,” recalls Runyan, still with contempt in his voice. “So I called her out on it.”

Turned out her boyfriend was the bouncer – a huge bouncer, and he grabbed Runyan, wrapped him in a headlock and threw him out of the bar.

“We had already played,” Runyan adds. “So it was OK.”

The duo released a full-length album last fall, Running Man LP, and they have created numerous remixes.

They are constantly making new music – a new album is in the works and will probably be ready
this summer. In the meantime, you’ll find the guys playing around the region, usually topless, like they are above, in the vacant lot behind the North Star Bar.

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