Missouri brothers Radkey want to put rock back on top


Radkey - Credit: Archant

“It seems like a lot of people think it’s uncool to be successful,” says Isaiah Radke, “when it shouldn’t be out of the question. We want to do something big – we want to bring rock back.”

Radkey have got everyone in a feverish stir. It’s not so much their sound – which almost defiantly breaks no new ground – nor is it their penchant for a good quote.

No, it’s because of the way they’re willing to dive headfirst, a 100-miles-an-hour towards their rock and roll dream, both on and off the stage.

These three brothers from Missouri look like kids annoyed at missing the punk revolution and talk like the harbingers of its second coming.

“We read up a lot of the history of music and there always seems to be a few bands coming up together when a scene breaks.

“At the moment, there’s a certain sense of that with bands such as us, Drenge and the Orwells.

“I like to think it’s because deep down, everyone feels rock music. It’s pure, it’s something you can’t resist. Naturally you can’t help but love the simplicity of a few guitars.”

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Isaiah is the middle man of the three brothers and their de facto spokesman. He is two years older than Solomon, 16, and two younger than singer Dee.


Having grown up home-schooled on a diet of classic punk and grunge, it was a “no-brainer” to start a band and their loud-quiet-loud, quick fire brand of rock has seen comparisons made to the Misfits, Metallica and pretty much every major act their side of hardcore.

On Sunday, fans can make up their own mind when they come to Hackney’s Sebright Arms.

Where most bands try to hide their influences musically, Radkey’s strength lies in wearing them as badges of honour – often quite literally.

Their youthful enthusiasm makes for the sort of highly energetic, free flowing live show you’d expect, but a closer look at their fashion, the guitar tones, the way they move all suggests a studied dedication to their heroes that’s as hard to perfect as any sort of “new” sound.

“We’ll always play rock music,” Isaiah explains, with an assurance that makes progression sound almost pretentious. He laughs: “Maybe the songs will change from three-and- a-half minutes to four, but that’s about it.”

Last year they made their British debut at the Download Festival, but what’s most remarkable is that everyone, from metal magazines to the NME, seems to be falling for Radkey.

Perhaps it is because, as Isaiah says, everyone loves rock music – most likely it’s because of their lack of illusion.

What you see is what you get and that’s not to say it’s not meaty.

Whether it’s enough to get them to the top is unclear, but there’s no question that’s where Radkey want to be. They don’t fear the celebrity pitfalls it often brings.

“I think we’d be alright. I feel like if we did get huge…people like Metallica and Nirvana were kind of whiney about it, you know? Kind of ungrateful about the stage they had.

“Ideally I want to get to the point where we could help drag other rock bands up into the mainstream.

“If you’re young, you need a band to introduce you to that kind of music, because really, who else is going to do it?”

n Radkey play the Sebright Arms, Hackney, on Sunday and return to London to play the 100 Club on March 5. For more information, visit www.radkey.net.

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