Get your ears ringing to some modern classic rock sounds from sweet home, Chicago…
We’re based in the United States from the great rock and blues city of Chicago, Illinois.
How did you meet?
I developed the concept and wrote the songs for the “New Revolution” album and began laying down the construct of the songs in my home studio such as the rhythms, lead beds, drums, and vocals. I reached out to John Griffin, my fellow lead-guitarist bandmate from several years ago and asked if he would listen to the tracks and consider laying down the leads. He loved the tracks and laid down some absolute incredible shreds and The Simple Radicals were formed. We then brought in our drummer Griff Johnson and bass player James Page to lay down their tracks and complete the band lineup.
How long have you been playing as a band?
The Simple Radicals officially formed in 2019.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
The Simple Radicals more or less came out of the way John and I look at life and music. We’re both non-conformists and non-conventional. We like to look at things differently. Stay simple. But think radical. Hence The Simple Radicals.
What are your influences?
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, AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Cheap Trick, Pink Floyd, and Pearl Jam. When I heard Pearl Jam’s “Ten” 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.
Describe your music. What makes you uniofficialque?
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. If you like those bands then I think you will like our sound.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
I hate to sound so cliché, but I really explore the things and issues that are near and dear to my heart or affecting those that are close to me. “New Revolution” is my most personal and poignant project I’ve ever done. These are such deep-hearted issues in my life and for many others that the words and music came to me literally in the form of pictures and images. I just needed to figure out how to best express them and put them down on paper and then on an album.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
We’ve been fairly active up until the apocalypse came. We played a great music fest in Chicago, toured some dates with great band called Wayland, played the iconic Cutting Room in NYC. We had a kick-ass 2020 planned including two showcases at SXSW, playing festivals with Molly Hatchet, Jefferson Starship, Puddle of Mudd, and Blackfoot as well a tour starting in Chicago. But all got axed due to Covid. We love to perform live and our fans know that. We feed off their energy and passion and try to give it right back to them in the way we play our music. We also try to interact with the audience as much as we can since our songs are so personal to many. There is nothing more rewarding than watching people lose themselves in your music. It’s intoxicating.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
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. Nobody moved. We had to follow that act and somehow turn it around. Thankfully we did. And without any makeup!
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
I keep it simple with my favourite Fender Strat, Fender Deluxe amp and a series of MXR effects pedals.
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
We have a lot going on and coming up. We continue to push our album, “New Revolution” which has the guitar-God Vernon Reid from the band Living Colour playing lead on the track “Medicate”. We just released a song and video called “Rich Man Wanna Be King” which provides a scathing lampoon of Trump. It was just released on YouTube and it’s already racked up over 115,000 views and climbing. Our video “New Revolution” has already racked up over 60,000 views and climbing. We’re about to release a wicked cover version of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” where we collaborated with an incredible husband/wife team called Che-Val. 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. And of course we plan to play live again once the apocalypse is over.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
I would absolutely love to open for Pearl Jam. Probably the most talented, electrifying and inspiring bands in the last 30 years. And the band that opens up for us would be Rainbow James – a fantastic indie-rock band from Chicago.