SACRED REICH frontman Phil Rind has reflected on the passing of the group's former guitarist Jason Rainey, saying he and his bandmates "saw it coming for a long time."
Rainey died in March 2020 of a heart attack. His death came more than a year after he was fired by SACRED REICH just as the band was beginning to record its comeback album, "Awakening".
Rind discussed Rainey's exit from SACRED REICH and the guitarist's eventual death during a brand new interview with the four members of SEPULTURA as part of their "SepulQuarta" livestream. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It was really tough. I'm probably closer to Jason than anybody else. We've known each other… I was 16; I'm 52 [now]. So we've known each other quite a long time. His health had just been deteriorating. He had lived with me on two different occasions. He wanted to drive trucks for a while when we weren't doing anything. I put him through driving school. He just… I don't know; he didn't wanna do it. And then when we were getting ready for the record, he was living here and I set him up with a guitar to record and to practice and to work on the songs. And he wasn't even really practicing what we were doing."
Phil continued: "I feel like in a lot of ways he was kind of emotionally checked out. But I think it's one thing to know these things for yourself, and it's another thing to admit them to other people. No one wants to admit it to themselves when you can't do things that you used to be able to do, and it's sad. And your life's changing, and it's scary. So, it was obvious that it wasn't gonna work out. We did everything we could up to the first day in the studio. It was the first day in the studio, and the other guys were, like, 'Dude…' And I'm, like, 'We've just gotta keep going. Don't worry. We've gotta go all the way, because we owe it to Jason to go all the way.' And if it wasn't gonna work out, I didn't wanna have any doubts in my mind, like, 'we didn't try this' or 'we didn't try that' — we had to do the whole thing. And then he was obviously really hurt about it. 'Cause, once again, it's hard to admit to yourself. So he just was really upset and lashed out and said a bunch of stuff that just really wasn't true. We don't care to respond, 'cause no one knows, and it's really no one's business what goes on. It was just sad. And then when he passed away, we saw it coming for a long time."
Rainey was replaced by Joey Radziwill, who made his recording debut with SACRED REICH on "Awakening". Released in August 2019 via Metal Blade Records, the band's first LP in 23 years marked SACRED REICH's first release since the return of drummer Dave McClain.
Rainey's wife, Renee Novak, told the Arizona Republic last year that says her husband was "a very gentle human being with a good soul who didn't like confrontation or any kind of conflict. He would go way out of his way for friends, and his friends would go way out of their way for him."
Novak said the split with SACRED REICH was hard on Rainey. "But honestly," she said, "he couldn't fulfill the requirements of a tour and all the things that go along with putting out a new album because of his health."
Formed in 1986, SACRED REICH was part of the second wave of thrash, along with TESTAMENT, DEATH ANGEL, DESTRUCTION and DARK ANGEL. Over the years, SACRED REICH had produced a catalog of politically charged aggressive songs that have stood the test of time.
SACRED REICH broke up in 2000 and remained inactive until 2006 when they received offers to play European festivals.