The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world



Heaven's Rain is a Christian Melodic Metal band out of Oklahoma City. They opened the first Rock N America Festival in 2010 that included acts such as The Scorpions, Ratt and Twisted Sister and have supported some of the great names of 80's rock including George Lynch, LA Guns and more...

If you like the classic sound of Dokken and music with a message you should check them out. Did I mention that they are also a great bunch of guys?


Heaven's Rain by Mark Rockpit 2010


M: Heaven’s Rain had the honour of opening this years Rock N America festival in the US. Tell us a little about the feelings you had warming up the crowd for the likes of Twisted Sister, The Scorpions and Ratt on that main stage!


Michael: It was an honor to be able to play on the same stage that I have watched some of my favorite bands, such as Firehouse, Cinderella, etc, play. It was a bit overwhelming at first, but I’ll never forget it.

Brad: It was very exciting to play on the main stage through a large P.A. System and to be able to play very loud.

Steven: It was a dream come true. As a kid growing up listening to the bands that played there, getting to play on the same stage was a dream come true.

Bender: Once we got the sound worked out, it was thrilling. The main stage was great.

Styles: Anticipation, but excited at the same time. It was a bit surreal to think it was where the bigger bands were gonna be playing.



M: How did you feel that first big performance went? What was the feedback like?


Michael: It was a little shaky, but overall a positive experience. Very fun. The feedback I got was very positive. One guy I talked to the day after said he really liked us, and that he could actually understand the words to the songs.

Brad: I was stopped several times during the weekend and complimented on our old school 80’s sound.

Bender: We warmed everyone up. We love to play, and got some great feedback.

Styles: I think overall it went well but went really quick.


Heaven's Rain 2010


M: You also got to play the side stage in front of a more intimate crowd and friends, how did that feel?


Michael: That was great. I still feel that was our best performance. The crowd was really into it, and that really fed into the energy on stage.

Brad: The side stage show was very good. It was nice to be in a more intimate setting playing for family, friends and people who have never seen us.

Bender: Smaller, more intimate shows always go better for me as a singer. Getting a better chance to connect with an audience makes the emotional level of the shows incredible.

Styles: I think by far this was our best overall performance. Really enjoyed this one.



M: What was the most memorable part of the Festival for you all? Did you get to hang out with anyone cool? Get any good advice?


Michael: Definitely playing the Garden Of Evil after party with Rising Wind. That was so much fun, and those kids are really good. It was a good fit for us. Add to that George Lynch showing up to jam on our gear along with Bobby Blotzer, what can I say, it was a very memorable experience. Knowing that members from Trixter, Slaughter and Warrant were there watching us play, that’s just too hard to get my head around. As for advice, we learned something very valuable, LEARN COVERS!

Brad: The entire festival was memorable to me. I enjoyed seeing great bands such as Lizzy Borden, Michael Schenker Group, Sweet, Scorpions rock the zoo amphitheater. I also enjoyed when my wife Brenda and I were able to hang out with Lizzy Borden.

Bender: The Lynch experience was incredible.

Styles: George Lynch! And Bobby Blotzer playing my drums.

Was supporting and actually lending George Lynch your gear at the Garden of Evil after-party on that last night the ultimate? I know Steven is a huge fan, as am I, and we both got to hold George’s guitar before he went on! I’ll always remember the look on his face and how heavy that tiger-stripe was!

Steven: Uh, YES!

Bender: Those guys are always out touring, yet they take the time to be cool, talk with us, and share the memories made during the event.

Brad at the Garden of Evil after party Rock N America 2010


M: Tell us a little about the history of the band. I know that Heaven’s Rain formed originally quite some time ago. What happened to that first incarnation and when did you and Brad decide to strap on the guitars again?


Michael: I’ll let Brad take this one.

Brad: The first version of Heaven’s Rain started in 1996 and lasted until 2001. The line-up was Mike, myself and three brothers: Craven, Matt & Will Harris. In 2007 at the first Rocklahoma, Mike and I began to talk about the “good old days” and the more we talked and prayed, we felt that God was wanting us to put the band back together. We started using myspace, craigslist, bandmix and other internet sites to find new members. We had known Dave Styles from being in many other local bands as the lead singer. Dave can also play drums, as you know, and we asked him to join us. Bender was next; he contacted us through a craigslist ad. The four of us began to write and rehearse. In 2009 at our second show, Steven was there and heard us play and introduced himself to me after the set. We talked about loving the same music, then he told me he also played guitar and the following week, he was at practice and we have been a complete band since.



M: Since RNA you have opened for LA Guns locally and played a few other dates what’s the feeling in the band after a show like that does it make you dream or do you have sleepless nights wondering about what your next move is?


Michael: Actually, a little bit of both. We want to dream big, but we are all grounded in reality. We are open for whatever God has in store for us. Would I like to do this full time, of course. Do I think it’s going to happen, well, let’s just say I’ll do what I need to, to try to make that a reality.

Brad: I always dream big. I look at each show as another opportunity to become a better musician and performer.

Bender: Having opportunities is what’s next for us. As long as we do our part to heed the voice of God, we will get where we need to be.

Styles: I’m a dreamer!!



M: How do you feel you have all progressed as a band in the few short months since RNA?


Michael: We’ve definitely become tighter as a band. I would also say a little more confident. I think we’ve proven we can hold our own in any situation.

Brad: We are becoming a true band. We are always getting to know each other as people and musicians. I know this will make us grow as a band.

Bender: We all have experience playing; just gelling together comes with time on stage and in rehearsal.

Styles: I think having more of a focus and knowing we can play with these other bands. It really let’s us grow.

Michael D'Avignon - licensed to carry a bass in a built up area


M: The Demo you put out shows a lot of promise and we understand you are looking at going back into the studio to record an EP. When is that scheduled to happen?


Michael: We are hoping to do it shortly after the first of the year. We are making some progress, and have some momentum, and I’d hate to let that pass us by.


M: How would you describe your sound to the uninitiated?


Michael: We’ve definitely got some Dokken comparisons. Both Steven and Brad are big George Lynch fans, and that shows in their playing. We really have our own sound, but I’d use Dokken as the best example.

Brad: I would describe us as a mix of all of our influences colliding with our own personal playing styles.

Bender: Melodic 80’s metal.

Styles: I think that all of our influences come out in one way or another but at the core its melodic rock.


M: What are your main influences?


Michael: Wildside, Tyketto, and Shakra.

Brad: Dokken, Alice Cooper, Wildside.

Steven: Dokken, Van Halen and Ozzy.

Styles: Queensryche, Dokken, Sevendust, and Alter Bridge.

Styles has the beat


M: What are you listening to at the moment?


Michael: The new Crazy Lixx CD, New Religion, hardly leaves my CD player. Definitely my top pick of the year. Others in regular rotation are, Bombay Black and the new Treat CD, Coup de Grace.

Steven: Any praise and worship music.

Brad: Crashdiet, Reckless Love, Crazy Lixx, Bombay Black, King Diamond & Wildside, too many to list, ha!

Bender: I am always listening to Zeppelin, Tesla and Kingdom Come.

Styles: The new Alter Bridge stuff, I love Miles Kennedy’s vocals, Mark is a monster on guitar, and Scott Phillips is a machine. I’m listening to a lot of different stuff from different genres PC 69, Bullet for my Valentine, stuff like that.



M: What is the next step for the band? Getting that CD ready and getting more exposure locally?


Michael: Learning some more covers, getting some merch, and continuing to play shows. I really hope we can get that CD done soon, as I believe that will really open up some more possibilities for us.


Steve and his tiger stripe



M: How hard are you finding it in today’s climate to get heard? Any advice for young bands out there?


Michael: It’s actually easier now days with the internet. We have had a few online stations already play our demo. Thanks to the internet, we have even done a radio interview for a Christian metal program called Beyond The Riff at It is an actual AM radio station out of Beaumont Texas. I recommend the program for anybody that likes Christian rock/metal. For young bands, my advice is this, play what you love to play. Don’t try to sound like someone else, and don’t compromise.

Brad: I would say, be yourself, play what you love and do not compromise your beliefs or music.


M: I hear you have another great support slot lined up in the New Year; did you ever imagine that you would get to play with so many great artists so quickly?


Michael: Honestly, no, but we are very thankful God has opened up these opportunities for us. I am really looking forward to this show. We will be playing with Down and Dirty and Bombay Black. I saw Bombay Black at Melodic Rockfest II this year, and those guys are great. If you’ve not heard them, look them up.

Brad: I’m excited about what God is doing for us. I’m really looking forward to opening for Bombay Black. They were great at Melodicrock Fest II!



M: How do you find the big names you’ve had to play with? Any great stories or cool memories?


Michael: So far, all the bands we’ve played with have been really cool. All positive experiences. I think doing a show with the Glitter Boys was really a cool time. Those guys are fun, and it was just a fun night.

Brad: I enjoyed hearing about the crazy show L.A. Guns had the night before we opened for them.

Styles: Bobby Blotzer playing my drums.



M: Anyone you would particularly like to mention who have helped you along the way?


Michael: First and foremost, God. Without Him, we wouldn’t be doing this. Rob Miller with Event Marketing Group has also been very helpful. He’s the reason we got to play the main stage at RNA, and he has helped us get a few other shows since then. I can’t begin to thank him enough. And what can I say about Aaron and Evil from the Garden Of Evil? I love them two like family. They have been very supportive, and it’s been a real honor to be able to play the Garden.

Brad: I want to thank God, my loving and supportive wife Brenda & my parents Don & Sharon Buell for always supporting this musical adventure, Aaron and Evil from the Garden of Evil & Rob Miller.

Styles: God of course. Rob Miller and Aaron and Evil.



M: Where can people check out your music and keep in touch with the band?


Michael-Check us out on Facebook at Also our website and


M: If you could have been involved in the making of any single piece of music at any point in time what would it have been?


Michael: Stryper’s To Hell With The Devil. This was the CD that pretty much opened the door for all the Christian rock to come later.

Brad: Alice Cooper’s “From The Inside”.

Bender: The recording of “When The Levee Breaks”.

Steven: The first Lynch Mob CD.

Styles: Queensryche’s Operation Mindcrime



M: What is the meaning of life?


Michael: To try to do the best I can from day to day to live the way God wants me to live. We all screw up, but as long as we are trying to do better, and treating other people right, that’s all that can be asked for. Take care of your family, take care of each other, and love unconditionally. Firm reliance in God will guide each of us in how to do all of these, no matter how tough times get.

Brad: Life is a gift from God, live it, enjoy it, spend time with those you love. Chase your dreams!

Steven: The meaning of life is a big question that I still don’t have an answer for, I have learned since becoming a Christ follower, that it’s not all about me. I try my best to live up to His standards, not always being successful either. But that’s why He is my salvation my Rock!

M: Thank you for talking with guys, and best of luck for the future. Oh and a Merry Christmas to you all.




Words by Mark Rockpit

Images by Mark Rockpit

December 2010