The Rakers do it for love. Day jobs and the other demands in their grown-up lives can’t stop the music.
Band members Alex V. Cook and Lance Porter, both 48, started their music careers late. In 2012, they were among the first students in music educator David Hinson’s Adult Music Club. Hinson founded the program for adults who wanted to learn to play and perform music.
In 2013, the first incarnation of the Rakers bloomed out of the Adult Music Club. “We decided to go on our own and pursue being a band," Cook said.
Two other early Adult Music Club students, guitarist Leon Lejeune and bassist Lewis Roussel, are charter members of the Rakers. Drummer Anna Byars joined in 2015.
The Rakers will play a release show on Saturday at Mid City Ballroom for their new recording — a power-pop EP featuring five original songs and a remake of Glyn Styler’s ballad “You Killed My Love.” The band will join The Junior League and open for Five-Eight, a nationally known rock band from Athens, Georgia.
Opening for Five-Eight is one of those music dreams come true for Cook and Porter.
“I count Five-Eight as heroes,” Porter said.
“I remember seeing Five-Eight at The Bayou,” Cook said. “Mike Mantione does such an energetic, dramatic, cathartic thing on stage.”
Thrilled as the Rakers are about opening for Five-Eight, the band enjoys sharing stages with everyone.
“We learn something every time,” Cook said. “We either steal from them or find some inspiration. Anytime you’re engaged in creative activity, it’s always perpetual learning.”
“We’re still sponges. We want to learn as much as we can,” Porter said. “We’re serious about this.”
The Rakers is the band that Cook and Porter might have formed in high school if they’d met then. Porter, however, grew up in Natchez, Mississippi, and Cook lived in Houma. When they were in their teens attending their respective high schools, neither of them knew anyone at school who shared their interest in new wave and punk rock music.
“If we’d known each other in the 1980s,” Cook said, “we would have had a really terrible new wave band that ran the Houma-Natchez circuit in trenchcoats.”
But there are advantages to not playing in a band until one’s 40s.
“When you’re in a rock band and you’re 20, you’re still figuring out who you are," Porter said. "Now we have more perspective on how to pace ourselves and how to really think about writing songs.”
“We don’t have a lot of drama,” Cook said. “And no one gave us a million dollars all of a sudden. That’s another thing working in our favor: We haven’t gotten any money from this.”
Cook and Porter are the Rakers’ principal songwriters, but Lejeune, Roussel and Byars all contribute.
“Anna Byars is an amazing musician,” Cook said. “She’s played music for years. She helps us shape songs. Everyone does that.”
“Anna,” Porter said, “usually prefaces her suggestions with, ‘I’m just the drummer, but ... ' ”
“I fix all of Lance’s terrible songs,” Cook joked. “No, not at all. Lance writes beautiful songs steeped in the people he knows and things that happen. And they’re fun to play.”
“Alex can breathe a song in five minutes,” Porter said. “He’s prolific and knows exactly what we like.”
Porter and Cook still talk about music as if they were teenagers excited about their latest discoveries.
“Often, I’ll come across something new and hit Lance on it,” Cook said. “And he’s like, 'I was just about to text you about that.’ We get excited about something new and want to tell our bros about it.”
FIVE-EIGHT/THE RAKERS/THE JUNIOR LEAGUE
WHEN: 8:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Mid City Ballroom, 136 S. Acadian Thruway, Baton Rouge
COST: $10 at the door and at fiveeight.brownpapertickets.com.