The lead singer from the Menus opens up about life and music

Tim Goldrainer, lead singer for the long-running band, The Menus based out of Cincinnati Ohio, is arguably one of the most well known musicians in the greater Cincinnati area. He is known for his crazy antics on stage and the personal attention he gives to everyone who sees him perform. Born in 1964 he is now 50 and could easily be confused for a 25 year old. He’s a guy who’s is easy to like and the hour he spent talking with me was surprising, insightful and inspiring.

Tim – I knew what I wanted to do when I was 11 years old. My Dad won tickets to see Elvis on WSAI radio station. He told my mom to be ready at 6PM when he got home, told me we were going somewhere, I thought I was going to see a Stingers game. He took me to see Elvis in a box seat, it was about two weeks before Elvis passed away in 1977. I was already in performing arts, ballet and vocal. I told my Dad on the way home “I know what I want to do, I know what I want to be” I felt it and I had already performed on stage I knew what I was going to be. My dad said “make them remember you, you gotta make them remember you”.
There was a band playing at the swim club I went to. I would pester them on their break. I’m like, “Hey guys, let me sit in!” I was in a Speedo rocking out, the band was Ooh La La and the Greasers. I pestered them enough to let me sit in, they were a hot wax group and I knew all the material and they did Elvis. They let me sit in for 3 songs. My mom and dad were like kinda strolling around having a cocktail and they peeked around the fence and saw me up with the band doing Elvis, but when the band let me sit in and I knew I had some kind of a niche. And then I trained myself to become something big, something big in my own city.

My mom is a seamstress, she taught me how to sew when I was a kid, I started out in shorts and a t-shirt and that turned into a Target bag and a Speedo. I get read the wrong way sometimes, but mostly after the initial wince and gut laugh at the same time, and that’s what it is! They eventually get it, they see that I have a wedding ring on and they realize I’m here just here to entertain and then they can see why they paid $10.00 to get in to this joint and they embrace it.  Then they come back with 10 more people and that builds and builds until eventually you have a full house. That’s all I’ve believed in. My dad said “Play good music, make people like ya, play good music first and make them remember you.” Thats what I’ve based my career on of 31 years, of just bringing people back and having them bring back their family members and friends. We don’t have fans in the Menus, we have have friends. People say oh I love my fans, I love my fans. We don’t have fans we have friends. I host a Menus Christmas Party every year and I don’t have fans coming I have friends. I think that’s very important to let people know you are not some pion fan, your a friend. A lot of people can say fan but not a lot can say friend. I think it’s real and It’s something I keep in my heart. The word fan just rubs me the wrong way.

I’m the epitome of my father. My father was not a singer he was of the lip synch era of the 80’s. He would do these lip synch shows and win all these contests. He sold produce for a living, that was his gig, but he had the charisma to walk in any room and people were just drawn to him. He looked like Jim Garner, he was a gorgeous man and people just had to talk to him. I guess I tried to emulate some of that. If I had half the cool my dad had I would’ve been an international star or something big. He just had that charisma and I tried to emulate some of the tricks I learned from him. He wasn’t an entertainer but then again he really was.

JLK- What do you remember about seeing Elvis in concert in 1977?
TG – Pilled-out, fat and bloated but it was the coolest thing ever. We were in a box seat and I was looking down from a box seat and I was looking at him with binoculars. The coolest thing was him handing out the scarves and controlling his band. It was mesmerizing. I had his records and he was the first guy I ever covered. I was very enamored by his his music and how he went to gospel and he would go back to rock and country and he could just do it all.

JLK- Whats your take on todays music scene abroad?
TG- I think the music is over produced. I think that everyone should get back to singing baritone instead of falsetto because singers can’t sing it live, they just can’t sing it live. One song that I like right now is “All About That Bass” its got this Amy Winehouse vibe and this Motown feel, its got horns and its got feel. My kids dig it! If it’s current and I dig it and they dig it then it’s a good song. I’m 50 and my little girl is 6 and if we both enjoy it then it’s a great song. Hearing a song 3 times and you know the lyric makes you think this is awesome! I really can appreciate Justin Timberlake. He can dance, he writes great material, he can sing and he can do it live. He’s a funny actor. Some of today acts are just trashy and I don’t correspond with that. I do some trashy things on stage but I keep it tasteful. I mean I wear a thong on stage to work every night, if I show my butt it’s tastefully done, and I work out and I got a nice can.

JLK- Whats your take on the Cincinnati music scene?
TG- Nowhere to play and nobody wants to spend any money. There is only a handful of clubs and this is why I go north like Toledo, Columbus or Cleveland. It’s a better scene. Nothing against my own city I love Cincinnati, I had a great run in Cinci with clubs and outdoor events. But it just seems like nobody wants to give you what your worth. I’ve spent a lot of time, a lot of years and a lot of hard work doing what I do. I want to be able to cover the guys in the band, our sound company and to cover everyone for what they’re worth and to do that it’s expensive. The cats in Cincinnati don’t want to pay musicians what they’re worth and that’s sad.

JLK- Who would you like to meet living or dead?
TG- I want to see my dad again, he’s my biggest star. I would kill to have a conversation with him. I would love to talk to him right now (long pause as Tim tears up thinking about his dad). Sorry tearing up. He passed right before I got married in 2001. I got married in 2003, we’d sing together and we would goof a lot. A lot of comedy, he was funny, witty, off the cuff, nothing ever planned and that’s who I am. I see more of me in my dad every day. Every time I get on stage I see more of my dad in me.

JLK- if you didn’t have music where would you be?
TG-Gutter, right in the gutter! I wasn’t college material, I make a living off of ADD. I have four thousand songs in my head but I can’t give you change for a dollar. Kinda guy I am. I read everyday but I don’t read fast. If I were doing something else it would probably be comedy or acting of sorts, I can be very dramatic. It would be in the realm of entertainment. I started out working at LaRosa’s pizza. Waiting on tables was a riot to me because every table was a different show. I didn’t look at them like customers or patrons, they were people to entertain and bring food to. God forbid someone have a birthday, it would turn into a show. I would dance, I would do tap dancing or something, I majored in ballet at the school or creative and performing arts so I have some moves. Something in entertainment though.

JLK- You’re going to planet Mars for three years, you can take one book, one album and one movie.
TG- Book -Slash; album – Frank Sinatra, The Sands; movie – Spinal Tap, I think that’s a given.

JLK- If you had enough money not to worry about money what would you be doing?
TG- I would still do music, I would make sure my family and closest friends were taken care of and I would donate to as many causes that I could, probably to the point I was broke. I would like to find a cure for strokes, that’s what my dad died of so I would like to find a cure for that.

JLK- What do you think it would take to make Cincinnati Ohio another great music city like Austin or Nashville?
TG-I think medium-sized venues, not huge, not small but 500-seaters where bands could work during the week and have earlier shows like happy hour to 11PM. Where people could still get to their jobs the next day and not be trashed. I think that’s what lacking for the music scene is places for bands to play and make decent money and for people to go and enjoy them. On weekends it would be nice to have two bands in the same night at the same place. A place where you could see maybe a country band and a rock band. You never know what will work till you try it and I think that could work. The right venues are what would make the music scene happen.

JLK – What inspires you?
TG – My kids and my wife inspire me very much, they make me know when I wake up I’m going to have a great day. My band mates inspire me, my family, brothers and sisters. My prayer every day before I get on stage is: Dear father thank you for my wife, my life, my beautiful boy my beautiful girl, let the crowd be strong let the band be tight, let me have a good voice tonight. That’s what I live every day. Stage for me is every day life. It’s hard for me to get off stage, my mind is constantly working.

You can see where the menus are playing at: www.themenus.org
by Jimmy King


16 replies »

  1. Outstanding interview with our dear friend Tim! Thank you for this. He is a gift to our souls to all that know him and to those of us who have the privilege to call him friend.


  2. I have seen the Menues show, and absolutley love it. The band, and Tim have such a high degree of energy that you can,t help but respect them as entertainers. Great music, and showmanship for sure. I am 70 yrs old, and have played music for 58 years. I still have a band Hidden Assets, and have always believed that showmanship is 60% of the show. The thing about being on stage is the ball is always in your corner, and it’s up to you to get it rolling, very few rules on stage except get the crowds attention, and the Menues have hit the nail on the head when it comes to that. So in closing I tip my hat to a group of guys that no what to do when they are stage. Keep up the good work, and after seeing them perform I am not a Fan but a Friend as well. Dale Duke


  3. Thanks for a great article Jimmy. I have been a fan/friend of the menus since I was young enough to be sneaking into clubs on a fake ID to see them. Now at 42 I have so many fun memories of enjoying their music and Tim’s amazing stage show. They are truly entertaining in every way and I hope they never stop doing what they do.


  4. I have been following the Menus for probably 20 years now! Homegrown, straight from the halls of Oak Hills High School, Tim is the “Real Deal.” Wish I could get to more shows these days, but when I do get the chance, it just keeps getting better, and better!! Love ya, Tim!!!


  5. I was tim’s 6th grade teacher. His smile could light up a room. His antics…the same. When I get back to Cincy, I try to see the Menus if they are playing. He is a character, but also a kind, sweet boy….still 11, going on 50. Love you Tim!


  6. I met Tim and The Menu’s at Wallaby’s in Beavercreek, OH just after moving here from VA. I saw Tim and the band sitting at a table in the Wallaby’s restaurant and walked up to them and said that they look “Rock Stars”. Much to my surprise, I was right. The restaurant owner invited us to stay and watch them perform. All I can say, WHAT A SHOW! I never laughed so hard! They were real ENTERTAINERS and MUSICIANS! They are the best band in OHIO! Love them! I’ve been trying to get The Menu’s to join me on one of my Music Cruises at Sea with my travel agency Excellence in Travel.


  7. I was in the 4th grade with Tim, we called him “Goldie”, I moved away to another school district but met up with Tim years later in high school. My boyfriend was teaching me to drive a stick shift, and for some reason we stopped by to pick up Tim. Tim probably got the ride of him life, a lot of stalling…. A couple years after that, with the same boyfriend I went to a bar in Delhi (Destiny One?) On stage was my old friend Tim! That was around 30 years ago! I still see the Menus as often as I can. Just saw them at Put-in-Bay with my grown daughter this past October! I had just as much fun as I did 30 years ago.Tim is an amazing entertainer! I have had a great time every time I’ve heard him and the band. I hope the band stays together for a long time!


  8. Thank you Tim for being such an amazing musician, but a great person as well!! For 10+ years Tim & the band have helped us do our Cinco de Mayo themed fund raiser for the Children’s Miracle Network & Komen for the Cure. With their help we have raised over $250,000 for these charities. They deeply discount their fee becase it’s a fund raider and come all the way to Toledo and give us 110%. Tim and the band are giving, caring people and this recognition is LONG OVERDUE! Sincerely, John Mangas


  9. I’ve been a fan of The Menu’s for many years!! TIm and his band are the ultimate entertainers…love to take people who’ve never seen them and watch their expressions. Great article on a great band!


  10. Hi Tim, I was at a New Years Eve event at a downtown hotel and the Menus were playing! Well after the party, I happen to be on the elevator with you when the elevator got stuck between floors. I couldn’t believe it but you climbed out of the elevator while it was half way between floors. The best new years my husband and I can remember!


  11. It is hard to believe so much time has passed since high school and working at LaRosas. You were a genuine guy back then and remain a genuine guy today. I am glad to see you are doing so well and continuing to do what you enjoy. I wish you and your family the best and hope you have a great holiday season.


  12. Ive seen the Menus many times in Columbus. My old band, Mother Trucker, used to “compete” for audience in Put in Bay. We both did well. 🙂 talented, engaging, fun, energetic and surrounded by great musicians. Ive spent time talking the guitar player during breaks the last two times they played the country club ag airfield during tournament week herei n Dublin. Like me, they still love to play and it shows 🙂


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