The Simple Radicals talk to Loud-Stuff about Trump, the mesmerising and inspiring Eddie Vedder, and their new podcast Music & A Brew.
How would you describe your music?
We’re a retro-rock and roll band that combines sounds and styles from some of our favourite classic rock bands like Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Green Day and Cheap Trick.
We just released a song and video called Rich Man Wanna Be King which provides a candid and somewhat scathing lampoon at Trump. It was just released on YouTube and it’s already racked up 100,000 views and climbing.
Our album, New Revolution has been out for about a year.
For those Living Colour fans, you will definitely recognise the sounds of the guitar-God Vernon Reid who played lead on the track Medicate.
What are your influences/ musical heroes?
Eddie Vedder is my musical hero. I’m mesmerised with his writing and try to capture the messaging, passion and energy that he does in his songs. If I can even come within a million miles of that I’d consider it a success.
There are so many bands that have influenced us over the years including Zeppelin, Boston, AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Cheap Trick, Pink Floyd, and Pearl Jam.
When I heard Pink Floyd’s The Wall album I studied that day and night and still study it to this day. It truly had an influence on how I write and construct my music.
What inspires you?
Life as we see and know it.
When you distill it down to the basics and just take a look around, you’ll see that it’s so dynamic and malleable. Things develop and change right in front of your eyes every second.
The challenge and opportunity is to capture that energy and decide what you want to do with it. It’s literally an open book with so much to write about.
Do you write on the road? Or do you prefer to write in the studio?
I’m literally writing all the time in my head. When I get a kernel of a sound, riff or lyric I write it down and then start to build it from the ground up.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
I love playing our song Learn off our New Revolution album. It’s very Pink Floyd-ish and John does an amazing David Gilmour-type Comfortably Numb building guitar solo.
The title track New Revolution is also a blast to play and a kick-ass rocker. And, we love rocking out a couple covers from Neil Young or Bowie.
What would be your dream tour to be a part of?
Pearl Jam. Hands down. Probably the most talented, electrifying and inspiring bands in the last 30 years to ever play.
I’m absolutely mesmerised with the writing of Eddie Vedder and try to capture the messaging, passion and energy that he does in his songs. If I can even come within a million miles of that I’d consider it a success.
What are your current thoughts on the music industry?
The music industry today has incredible opportunities but also huge challenges.
From an opportunity standpoint, with such advanced technology and portability, you can create some amazing music in your bedroom and even collaborate with people without having to be in the same room. You really don’t even need a label anymore.
On the flip side, there’s thousands of songs being released on Spotify and other platforms every day so the ability to break out and get noticed is highly challenging. Unfortunately, the industry is not really looking to develop bands anymore.
I think the first thing they ask now is, ‘how big is their social media following?’ No one is really investing the time and resources to develop bands and musicians. You’re on your own to develop your sound, talent and audience and then you can try and make it. And, there’s no money in the business like there used to be. You only make your money off of touring and selling merch and to do that you need a big following.
Tough times no doubt and it’s only for the diligent and resilient bands that want to really invest in their music and build an audience. You constantly have to think and rethink what it takes to break out and get noticed.
What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour?
We were playing a festival in the Chicago area and the band that went on before us was dressed in a combination of Kiss meets The Cure meets…I’m not sure. The crowd just stood there in total shock at this sight. We had to follow that act and somehow turn it around. Thankfully we did. And without any makeup!
What are your future plans?
We’ve actually been quite busy during the apocalypse. Aside from releasing Rich Man Wanna Be King, we’re about to release a wicked cover version of Jefferson Starship’s White Rabbit where we collaborated with an incredible husband/wife team called Che-Val. It was such an amazing experience to work with them and we’re really excited about the song. It’s a very non-conventional and unique take on this iconic song.
We’ll be releasing a quarantine video to our song The Optimist. And, we’re about to release a podcast called Music & A Brew where we crack open a cold one with musical artists including Kenny Aronoff (drummer for John Mellencamp and tons of others), Todd Sucherman (Styx), Vernon Reid (Living Colour), Daxx Nielsen (Cheap Trick), and Jackie “the Joke Man” Martling from the Howard Stern Show.
If you’re interested in the podcast it will airing towards the end of November beginning December. Music & A Brew will be available through Spotify, YouTube, iTunes, Spreaker, iHeart, TuneIn and Backtracks.