Introducing ... Radkey

The brothers Radke. Not, you might guess, a lost Dostoyevsky manuscript; instead, three young gentlemen from St. Joseph, Missouri (pop. 77,176) intent on turning it up, pushing forward and generally kicking out the jams. It's an aspiration befitting such tender years. The brand says Radkey, which serves the double purpose of helpful pronunciation and mission: they're both rad and they're determined to unlock the cynical heart that says their punk rock juggernaut is yesterday's news. Stumbling on a wide-eyed deconstruction of 80s DC hardcore and Misfits-ish drama, it's not necessarily new, but it's a lot of fun. When asked which acts offer the most inspiration there's no hesitation: "Nirvana and The Ramones - they did it right," two bands who, on their night, could strip away all the bullshit and deliver skeleton deep blasts to the soul.

A support slot with flabour of the month Drenge (I see what you did there, and I don't like it - Asst. Ed.) brings them to the UK and was most folks' chance to check out them out. We caught up with them the day after their appearance on Later ... ("It was amazing! It was like a really cool vibe. Everyone was really nice!") alongside the likes of Goldfraap and Franz Ferdinand. As with any power trio worth its salt, Radkey have roles. Isaiah (bass, 18 years old) does most of the talking. His older brother Dee (20, guitar and vocals) is, you suspect, the thinker. Solomon (16, drums) barely says a word, but listens intently and just concentrates on breaking hearts. It's a classic rock 'n roll combination.


A lot of the stuff you seem to like has a British flavour: CS Lewis, Tolkien, Edgar Wright. Is there something about that work that particularly chimes?

I: Guy Ritchie does really cool gangster movies! While the Lord of the Rings and the Narnia books, they've got all the fantasy stuff that we're really into.

Did you have an idea of what the UK would be like before you came?

I: A little bit. It's kind of what I imagined it would be like. I always wanted to come here - it was like my #1 country to come to. Y'know, I speak the language! People are surprised but I even enjoy the food a lot! We'd hardly been outside of our state of Missouri before we started the band.

You're also really into Japanese culture and movies ...

I: It's really dramatic and crazy ...

D. The quality of the animation and the stories are just great.

'Cos you guys were home schooled, right? Do you think that made you open to trying different things?

D: Definitely. If I'm told to learn something, I can't. It has to be something I'm interested in - like learning Japanese. I wanted to know what the characters were saying, so wanted to learn.

Did that freedom extend to your father's music collection?

I: Yeah. I was listening to Foo Fighters' 'Monkey Wrench' since I was about three. Our Dad would just play stuff and we liked it.


Did you have a favourite album when you were 12? I normally ask this of bands who are a little older than you.

I: I think mine was Van Halen 1!

D: Probably Nevermind.

S: Weezer!

Do those choices still influence what you do now?

I: Definitely Nirvana and Weezer. Van Halen - not so much!

So no Eddie Van Halen guitar fireworks tonight?

All: (laughs) No!

Tell me about St. Joseph. What was like to grow up there?

I: It was OK. There wasn't much to do. All the clubs were like 21+ so you couldn't go and do shows. It took a while for them to take us in. Kansas City took us in before they did. We knew we'd have to go to other towns. There are a few haters back home but people have mostly been cool about what we've been doing.

What do you want your first LP to say about you?

I: I want it to say we're really loud and that we rock!

That's a fine ambition! Whole careers have been based around that!

All: (laughs) Yeah!

For more about Radkey, visit their website. They play The Macbeth in London on 31st October.

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