Rain Joan of Arc Bottom
November 21, 1972
Crockett, Texas, U.S.
(m. 2003; div. 2008)
John Lee Phoenix
|Relatives||River Phoenix (brother)|
Joaquin Phoenix (brother)
Liberty Phoenix (sister)
Summer Phoenix (sister)
Phoenix was born Rain Joan of Arc Bottom in Crockett, Texas, the second child of John Lee Bottom and Arlyn Sharon (née Dunetz). Her mother was born in The Bronx, New York to Jewish parents from Hungary and Russia. Her father was a lapsed Catholic from Fontana, California. Before Phoenix was born, her mother left home in 1968 and moved to California, meeting Phoenix's father while hitch-hiking. They married in 1969 and joined Children of God and worked as missionaries in South America. It was there, at the age of three, that Phoenix (accompanied by elder brother River on guitar) first began to sing. They would perform on the streets of Caracas, Venezuela, while handing out Christian flyers to passers by. The family set out for California in order for the children to enter the entertainment industry. In West Los Angeles, Phoenix and her siblings would perform on the streets for crowds of people. Arlyn took a job at NBC and eventually secured all five Phoenix children with an agent.
Phoenix sang with brother River as an audience warm up act on the show Real Kids (1982). Various bit parts followed in TV shows, including Amazing Stories in 1986 (billed as she sometimes was as Rainbow Phoenix) and Family Ties in 1987. Also in 1987, Phoenix landed a part in the feature film Maid to Order alongside Ally Sheedy.
At 15, Phoenix returned to her roots in music and formed the band Aleka's Attic with her then 17-year-old brother River. River, along with bass player Josh McKay, wrote music and lyrics and Rain sang backup. The band secured gigs in and around their home town of Gainesville, Florida By this time, River's career had taken off and so the band was often put on hold for River's demanding schedule. In 1988, Aleka's Attic were signed to a development deal with Island Records and in 1989 released the track "Across The Way" on a benefit album for the animal rights group PETA. In 1991, they made a tour of east coast clubs and colleges. At this time, Phoenix joined her brother River on the set of his tenth movie, My Own Private Idaho. She met director Gus Van Sant to whom River suggested she would be perfect for a role in his upcoming project, a film adaptation of Tom Robbins's cult novel, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. She was cast as head cowgirl Bonanza Jellybean, alongside Uma Thurman.
River Phoenix's death
A few months after the film's completion, Phoenix flew to Los Angeles with her brother Joaquin to meet River during a break from Dark Blood. On the evening of October 30, 1993, they set out, joined by River's girlfriend Samantha Mathis, for a night at the Los Angeles club The Viper Room, which was in part owned by Johnny Depp. It would be the last evening Phoenix would spend with her brother; he died later that night from, according to the coroner's report, "acute multiple drug intoxication," namely an overdose of heroin and cocaine, a concoction called a "speedball".
Phoenix dealt simultaneously with the loss of her older brother and the media circus that followed. Aleka's Attic, by that time consisting of a different line-up, had been working on an album that River had been funding himself. The album was near completion so Phoenix began the long task of mixing and producing the scraps of recordings. The album has never been released.
In 1994, Phoenix joined R.E.M. in the studio to record backup vocals on the song "Bang and Blame", to be released on the 1994 album Monster, an album dedicated to River. In 1995 Phoenix joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers as a backup singer on their One Hot Minute tour. Chili Peppers bassist Flea, who appeared in My Own Private Idaho, was close friends with River, and was there the night he died. The band wrote their song "Transcending" as a tribute to River. She also features in the video for R.E.M.'s "At My Most Beautiful."
Phoenix formed the band papercranes in 2003 as lead singer and lyricist. Their self-titled EP was released in 2004 and their first album, Vidalia, in 2006. In 2010 papercranes signed with Manimal Vinyl and in 2011 they released their second album Let's Make Babies in the Woods. In 2012 came their 3rd and final release- a concept record THREE followed by a multi-platform artist residency entitled I.You.We.THREE. Guest musicians include Phoenix's younger sisters Summer and Liberty, as well as actor Dermot Mulroney, Libby Lavella, Norm Block, Jenny O, Kirk Hellie and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who also was a guest musician on tracks for Aleka's Attic in the '90s.
Gift Horse Project
In 2010 Rain created the non-profit Gift Horse Project which brought together well-known and emerging artists in the service of charity. In 2011 Gift Horse Project released a compilation record to benefit the Lunchbox Fund with artists like Bright Eyes, Albert Hammond JR, Cobra Starship, Joseph Arthur, Jenny O, Jonathan Wilson and many more.
LaunchLeft evolved out of the non profit Gift Horse Project taking the ethos of artists helping artists and social responsibility to the for-profit sector. LaunchLeft has produced large events for various organizations namely, The Art of Elysium (Genesis 2014) and the Bernie Sanders Campaign (Feel the Bern -The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Berniechella 2016). In 2018 LaunchLeft Podcast and LaunchLeft Live hosted by Rain Phoenix and Moon Zappa was created.
Solo Music Release
A double A side release entitled Time Gone hit in February 2019 marking Phoenix's first music single as a solo artist; on side A "Time is the Killer", features R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, and two previously unreleased tracks by Aleka's Attic, "Where I'd Gone"/ "Scales & Fishnails", on side AA. It released on producer/musician Lawrence Rothman, Justin Raisen and Yves Rothman's label Kro Records in collaboration with Rain's own LaunchLeft imprint.
Venus and the Moon
In 2013 Phoenix along with Frally Hynes formed the 'galactic country' band Venus and the Moon which included Chris Stills.They release a self titled 7inch double A side vinyl in 2014 and in 2015 a record entitled Brother, Son recorded on her late brother River's 4 track, mixed by Dave Way and produced by Phoenix.
Phoenix, together with her brother Joaquin Phoenix, is on the board of directors for The Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit organization which provides a daily meal to students of township schools in Soweto, South Africa. Phoenix also serves on the board of River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding founded by her mother and stepfather. Phoenix also works closely with the artists charity The Art of Elysium.
|Maid to Order||1987|
|Even Cowgirls Get the Blues||1993|
|To Die For||1995|
|Harry and Max||2004|
|Kids in America||2005|
Time Gone 2019
- Corner, Lena (July 9, 2011). "Rain Phoenix's unusual childhood". The Guardian. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
- Pfefferman, Naomi (April 11, 2002). "The Days of Summer". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Archived from the original on March 30, 2016.
- Summer Phoenix : articles (part 1) Archived July 15, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
- Friedman, Roger (October 24, 2005). "'Walk the Line' Star Won't Campaign for Oscar". Fox News. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- Ten American showbiz celebrities of Russian descent – Pravda.Ru Archived May 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- Turner, Adrian (November 1, 1993). "Obituary: River Phoenix". The Independent. Retrieved June 18, 2018.